With Florida State taking on Oklahoma this weekend in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season we should have known that it would be a matter of time before our old friend Bobby Bowden made an appearance on television this week. What we did not quite expect to see was the iconic coach going on Good Morning America to talk about prostate cancer.
Bowden confirmed on ABC's morning news program with Robin Roberts that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 by a former player, Joe Camps. Bowden is speaking out about the battle now as a new spokesperson for prostate awareness month (September). Expect more appearances by everybody's favorite southern minded coach throughout the month.
Bowden kept his illness a secret between he and his wife, not telling anyone at Florida State or his family. The reason? He wanted to ensure that his opponents didn't have an edge in recruiting.
Before we dive too far in to this, let's discuss a couple points.
First, and most importantly, Bowden confirmed that he is cancer free, and his fight took about six months. This is fantastic news. As Bowden said on air, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and it really is important to get checked out if you are over the age of 40. Do it. Don't wait. Treatment and survival is much higher when diagnosed early on. Avoiding it will not help. Follow in Bowden's foot steps and schedule a check-up.
Second, some will go back in history and wonder if Bowden made the right decision in 2007. Bowden was effectively pushed out the door following the 2009 season with a replacement in place. Jimbo Fisher was officially named the head coach in waiting in December of 2007. Was this a coincidence or was this a result of Bowden's health? We were all told that naming Fisher a coach in waiting was a strategic move to ensure recruiting would not be affected as Bowden's career was nearing the end of the road. This may still be true, because Bowden said he did not tell many people about his health issue. If his own children weren't told by Bowden, then why would anyone at Florida State know?
The fact is we don't know for sure what happened at this time, but it might be something worth looking in to.
Another question some might be wondering is if this decision-making means Bowden was being selfish. We'll lave that debate for a later time but here is my quick take.
Bowden, like Joe Paterno, has a deep appreciation and love for the game of college football. He was built to coach and all he wanted to do was coach. I have never fought cancer and I feel fortunate to know only a handful of those who have. What I take from my limited first-hand experience is that one of the best ways to continue a fight against cancer is to have something to look forward to. Perhaps the desire to continue coaching was what fueled Bowden's fight against cancer. Was he right not to tell his employer about the situation? I'm not really sure. If the fight was not progressing at the rate he would have liked (six months seems pretty good to me), then maybe things would have changed. Who knows.
If being selfish helped Bowden beat cancer, then so be it. He is a selfish coach, but he's cancer free. Who has the last laugh?
Follow Kevin McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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