Bobby Bowden Hid His Cancer So Opponents Wouldn’t Use It Against Him

  • Glenn Davis

Today, legendary former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden shared some previously-unheard news on ABC’s Good Morning America: he’s a prostate cancer survivor. Bowden hid the story well over the years: he was first diagnosed in 2007, when he was still at Florida State. Why’d he keep it to himself? The answer will either leave you a bit more disenchanted with college football, or sadly resigned to how the world works.

Bowden’s reasoning: he didn’t want his health to become a competitive disadvantage for Florida State that other coaches would use against him in, say, recruiting. He even imagined what their potential sales pitch would be – in a rather remarkable bit of black comedy, Bowden, the folksiest man in the world, was able to use his charm to somehow make that line funny. Sadly, though, there’s probably some truth to the idea that rival coaches would have tried to use Bowden’s condition against him. College football is a cutthroat business, one where just about any and every competitive advantage is sitting there waiting to be exploited – if not by you, then by someone else.

Bowden went on to say to Robin Roberts (a cancer survivor herself, of course) that it never really occurred to him to say anything to raise awareness until now – and hey, every high-profile voice urging people to see their doctors and to get themselves checked out if they think something’s wrong (and seriously, everyone, please do that) helps. Good on Bowden for doing this – video of his appearance below, via ABC. Yes, he drops a “dadgum.”