Florida State assistant coach Odell Haggins has a special relationship with coach Bobby Bowden that dates to 1985, when he was recruited by the Seminoles. On Sunday morning, he reflected on Bowden and when the coach came to visit him in Bartow, Fla.
Haggins and assistant coach Ron Dugans visited Bowden, and Haggins recalled their conversation.
“Got to see him last week,” Haggins said. “Came in, ‘Hey, buddy, how are you doing? Hey, reach down here, buddy.’ I reached down. He gave me a kiss on the jaw. ‘I love you.’ Kissed me on the jaw. Coach is going to be alright. That’s what he told me. We started talking about the old times. It was amazing. He still remembered 1985, December. Came to my house. I reminded him, ‘Coach, remember mom made that tea?’ He said, ‘Yeah, buddy, it was good old sweet tea. We had some collard greens, corn bread. We had some pork chops and rice.’ That’s 1985. This happened a week ago, two weeks ago. It tells you a lot about him. And, hey, people say he is a legend. Yeah, he is a legend. But he is a father to many.”
Dugans said he spoke with Bowden about his future in football after his retirement from the NFL, encouraging him to become a coach.
“I’ve never seen anybody treat me and show me the ways, when he’s talking about faith, you know we talk about eternity, outside of what my grandmother used to teach at home, what my aunt talked, just seeing a man of faith like that,” Dugans said. “Biggest thing and he didn’t force anything on anybody, you know, he just, he just told you how he felt, what he believed in, and he gave you a decision. You know you can choose one thing or you can choose eternal life. Just seeing how he interacted with the coaching staff, seeing how he interacted with players, myself. It was just the inspiration. When I got a chance, when my playing days were done in the NFL, he influenced me to be a coach, and what type of coach.
Haggins reflected on what Bowden meant to him and teammates as well as what it was like to coach alongside him from 1994-2009 in the video below and the video with Dugans is also below: