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Andrews: ‘Coach Bowden taught me how to care’

Mickey Andrews delivered some thoughtful and emotional perspective about his time working for coach Bobby Bowden from 1984-2009 during the service on Saturday morning. Below are some of Andrews’ thoughts:

“I was really blessed in my life, in my coaching profession and in other parts of my life. I didn’t get to finish it with (wife) Diane, and I’m going to tell you when coach walked in that pearly gate, Diane was right there giving him the chop.

“As a player, I got to go to the University of Alabama and learn from one of the greatest of all time. And as a coach, I had the opportunity to coach with Coach Bryant. I only stayed  four and a half years with Coach Bryant, but I was 26 years here with coach (Bowden). I always thought the way to learn how to coach is take the good things and build on them, find the bad things and eliminate them. And I got to eliminate a lot of things with coach Bowden. Coach Bryant taught me how to win. Coach Bowden taught me how to care. And I needed that.

“I found out you could still coach tough, you could demand great effort, if the players trusted you and you cared about them. And coach helped me do that. And I really believe that that was one of the things that separated coach Bowden from the other coaches. He cared. But he shared too. There was not a single player on the team that he didn’t care about. I don’t care if it was a star, I don’t if it was a backup, I don’t care if it was a walk-on. And the important thing was that he made it important. He made you know that you were important. He didn’t limit it to just football. It was everything.

“I’ve thought so many times how important time is, most of you that know him, coach was an early riser. That light would be on early in the morning. He didn’t hang around much after practice was over. He got home. And I think he probably went to bed, Ann, maybe 8 o’clock or whatever. And I wondered what he did during that time that he was home. And I think one of the things about coaching, and it’s not unique, it’s true in other professions, too. It’s not about how much time you got. It’s about how important the quality of that time is. And coach knew how to do that too.

“He always had a reason and he had a purpose. You know coach is our leader. He is our buddy. And now he’s our saint. Oh, he’ll be missed. We won’t forget him. But try remembering the great things that he stood for and laid the groundwork for this program. And one other thing: He didn’t have his biggest win on a Saturday. You think about all of those wins that he had. It wasn’t in ’93, it wasn’t in ‘99. It wasn’t in those other days, trying to get to that point to compete. But it was on Sunday morning when he walked in and said, ‘Great job, buddy.’ Thank you, coach.”