Bobby Bowden. It’s crazy how much weight one simple name can carry. The former college football coach is a legend of the game, having won 377 games over his entire 44-year career. Only Joe Paterno has more in Division-I football.
The 90-year-old man who won two national championships and 12 ACC championships on the sidelines for the Florida State Seminoles doesn’t really need an introduction. Bowden, the patriarch of a well-known college football family, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, before going on to play quarterback for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
After one season, Bowden transferred to Howard College (known as Samford University now). He graduated and began his illustrious coaching career there, first serving as an assistant coach before receiving opportunities at South Georgia State College, Florida State and West Virginia. West Virginia hired him as its head coach in 1970. He left for Tallahassee in 1976 and never looked back.
It turns out Bobby and his wife, Ann, grew a family tree even larger.
Bobby Bowden’s Wife Ann Bowden
Bobby Bowden has been married to his wife, Ann Bowden, for more than 70 years.
The young Bobby, a 19-year-old football player at the time, popped the question to Ann Estock when she was just 16. They officially tied the knot on April 1, 1949, after driving from Birmingham to Rising Fawn, Georgia, and kept the news a secret from a family initially.
More than 70 years of love, laughter and football, their relationship is no joke.
According to a 2019 article in the Tallahassee Democrat, Bobby and Ann have lived in the same Tallahassee home they moved into in 1976. They’ve also had six children, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren in a family web that now includes more than 40 members.
“When we were as young as we were when we married, there was jawing back and forth as you expect. I told Bobby as you’ve gotten older, he’s really gotten sweeter,” Ann told the Tallahassee Democrat. “We’ve been fortunate. It’s really a good time of life and we are blessed. We have a large family and enjoy being around each other. We have our health. We don’t have to worry about our next paycheck or whether we win our next game or not.”
NCAA and Florida State University fans likely know Terry and Tommy Bowden, but the rest of Bobby and Ann’s children and family have quite the stories themselves.
Bobby Bowden’s Children & Family
The Bowdens have six children, four sons and two daughters. The easiest way to illustrate this family tree is to group them in bullet points:
- Terry married his wife, Shyrl, and had six children: Tera, Jordan, Erin, Cori, Jamie Taylor and T.J.
- Served as head coach of the Auburn Tigers from 1993-98 before resigning amid a flurry of wild rumors and affair allegations.
- Went on to coach North Alabama, Akron and began as a graduate assistant at Clemson in 2019.
- Married to Linda Bowden and had two children: Ryan and Lauren. Lauren has two kids of her own.
- Tommy was notably the head coach of Clemson from 1999-2008, where he won two ACC Coach of the Year awards and coached against his father in numerous football games.
- He then became a college football TV analyst.
- He and wife Cindi had five children: Haley, Hunter, T.J., Robert, and Julia Elizabeth. They have two grandsons: Owen and Henry.
- Jeff was also a football coach whose career included stops as an assistant at Salem, Florida State, Southern Miss, Florida State, Samford, North Alabama and Akron.
- Jeff’s son (and Bobby’s grandson) T.J. died in a car accident at 23. He was studying criminal justice at FSU at the time.
Ginger Bowden Madden
- Ginger married former Florida Gators center John Madden and had three sons: John Madden Jr., Bowden Madden and Mike Madden. She also has a grandson named Trey.
- Her husband of 22 years and their son Bowden died in a car crash in 2004. Bowden was just 15 and played offensive line for the Choctawhatchee High School football team. John was 45.
- Ginger later married Chuck Barrett, who was the voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
- Ginger is a lawyer set to become the state attorney for Florida’s First Judicial Circuit in 2020.
- Steve is also an attorney based out of Birmingham, Alabama.
- In 2003, he pleaded guilty after admitting to conspiring with former Alabama quarterback Brian Burgdorf and others in a scheme that allegedly defrauded investors of $10 million, per ESPN. He was sentenced to six months in home detention and one year of probation.
Robyn Bowden Hines
- Robyn Bowden married Jack Hines and had two children: Robert and Jacquelyn.
- Jack played football for the West Virginia University Mountaineers under Bobby Bowden then helped coach Deion Sanders at FSU. He also coached at Auburn under Terry Bowden in 1993 and Clemson in 1999.
- He coached high school football as recently as 2014.
Every year, the Bowden squad gets together for a family reunion. As time goes on, they’re likely going to need more and more seats at the tables.
Bowden may not be coaching FSU football to national titles anymore, but I’m sure he stays plenty busy keeping up with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.