PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Legendary Florida State University head football coach, Bobby Bowden, has died at 91-years-old.
While people will remember Bowden for his coaching legacy, others will also remember him as an active member in the Bay County community.
Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, said Coach Bowden was not only a Florida treasure, but a national treasure with a kind soul and warrior’s heart.
Patronis said he remembers the first Florida State game he ever went to which was FSU vs. Navy.
He said Bowden’s efforts and leadership have been transformational for FSU. Patronis said Bowden was very generous to Northwest Florida and specifically Bay County. He adds Bowden had a gift of making everyone feel appreciated.
“I mean he was just incredibly generous and giving to make sure that the resources Florida State needed to succeed were being provided and if that meant him putting himself out there, he would do it.,” Patronis said. “I mean he would come out to the restaurant and people would be lined up you know 30 deep to get autographs and he would treat every single person like he knew them. He had a gift of not making you feel uncomfortable approaching him. You know he would call everyone son or boy or what not and especially little guys and he would make little guys feel like big guys and you know he was just a very charming, warm, down to earth person.”
Patronis said there’s not many people from the Panhandle who haven’t driven to Tallahassee in the fall to go see Florida State play in a high profile game with Coach Bowden.
He said Bowden has been a larger than life influence on so many in sports, college football and the Seminole nation.