Bobby Bowden coached Florida State Seminoles football from 1976 to 2009. He led FSU to prominence with an Associated Press and Coaches Poll National Title in 1993 and a BCS National Championship in 1999, as well as twelve Atlantic Coast Conference championships since joining the ACC in 1991. His final coaching appearance was the Gator Bowl on January 1, 2010, with a 33-21 victory over his former program, West Virginia. During Bowden's first year as head coach at WVU, the football team of the state's other top-division school, Marshall University, fell victim to a tragic plane crash. Bowden asked NCAA permission to wear Marshall jerseys and play Marshall's final game of the 1970 season against Ohio, but was denied. In memory of the victims of the crash, Mountaineers players put green crosses and the initials "MU" on their helmets. Bowden allowed Marshall's new head coach Jack Lengyel and his assistants access to game film and playbooks to acquaint themselves with the veer offense, a variation of the option offense which aids teams with weak offensive lines. Lengyel credits Bowden with helping the young Thundering Herd recover. Bowden reportedly became emotional while viewing the movie We Are Marshall, and has said that he was the original candidate for the Marshall head coaching job ultimately filled by crash victim Rick Tolley. Bowden became the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles because the climate was warmer than in Morgantown, and because Tallahassee was closer to Birmingham, Alabama, where his mother and mother-in-law both lived. The team had a 4–29 record over the previous three seasons, and he planned to stay only briefly before taking a better job. After 34 years as Florida State's head coach, Bowden finished his career second in all-time wins by a Division I coach with a final career record of 377-129-4. Ad from January 2011.
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