This is in response to Cory Giger's column about Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.
We live in Florida and have a son who is a senior at Florida State. We feel that Bobby Bowden needs defended from a very shallow reporter.
Bowden has not only been the face of Florida State, he built the program from nothing, and now he's being pressured to step down by some. Maybe his best coaching days are behind him, but he deserves to go out with respect and dignity. This man was faithful to the Florida State football program, never leaving for other opportunities (ie: Rich Rodriguez) and deserves that same treatment.
Bowden will turn 80 in November, has a current record of 384-127-4 as a Division I head coach (14 of those wins may be taken away due to a cheating scandal by FSU athletes. The NCAA is still debating).
In Bowden's career, the Seminoles have had only one losing season. They've won 13 division championships, and two national championships.
Giger only focused on the negativity that has occurred since FSU has lost four games this season. Giger also failed to mention that Florida State President T.K. Wetherell made a public vote of confidence for Bowden last week.
Having lived in Pennsylvania, we remember how coach Joe Paterno was treated, mostly unfairly, during his losing seasons. Now look at Penn State. Programs unfortunately go through rough times. FSU might not recover this season; it's too early to tell. Penn State football recovered eventually, despite the nasty comments some people made about Paterno. He is admired and loved as well. And no one pushed JoePa out when they were losing.
There was a crowd around the Bobby Bowden statue in front of Doak Campbell Stadium two hours before kickoff Saturday night. Nobody smacked the statue. Nobody tried to put the statue to sleep. Nobody shouted, "Enough is enough."
No, people snapped pictures and got a closer look! Seminoles fans. Georgia Tech fans. College football fans. There were many signs all over the stadium in support of Bowden. The non-supporters were few. Our son was at that game, in support of Bowden and the FSU football team.
Florida State defensive player Dekoda Watson wanted the world to know that no matter what anyone said about his coach's future, the team is behind Bobby Bowden 100 percent. As the week went on after Trustee Jim Smith's comment, urging Bowden to step down, the support for the coach grew. Watson approached the team Friday night with his idea for his unity march. Bowden initially declined, but finally agreed when he realized how much the players wanted to do it.
In one of the greatest college football scenes in recent history, Bowden walked out arm in arm with his team before Saturday night's game against Georgia Tech.
Giger does not know the support and admiration the students at FSU have for coach Bowden. If there could be a comparison, it would be to Joe Paterno.
In regard to the cheating scandal at Florida State University that Giger mentioned, first of all, it is completely wrong that cheating occurred, and the students should and have been punished. To put the blame only on Bowden is completely unfair. Here are the facts: The NCAA report says 61 Florida State athletes cheated on an online test from the fall of 2006 through summer 2007 or received improper help from staffers who provided them with answers to the exam and typed papers for them. Two athletic department academic assistance employees resigned.
The cheating occurred mainly through online testing for a single music history course in the fall of 2006 and the spring and summer semesters of 2007. It included staffers helping students on the test and, in one case, asking one athlete to take it for another.
The athletes represented 10 sports, and 17 of the students were or had been on scholarship. The cheating took place in football, baseball, softball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's track and field and men's golf.
If the NCAA decides to take away wins from Florida State's football program because of the cheating, that is their decision. How unfortunate it will be to the players that did not cheat. How unfortunate it will be to Bobby Bowden as well.
And in response to Giger's comment that Bowden made a sexist comment, we watched that interview on our local news. The woman reporter to whom Bowden spoke actually giggled when he made the comment to her, which was a joking response of "just like a woman" to ask if the rumor was true that he was stepping down at the end of the season.
Coach Bowden deserves the dignity to step down if and when he is ready. He may not be having a winning season at the present time, but his record for his 55 years of coaching deserves more respect than a small-town reporter gave him.
The Strannigan family
Merritt Island, Fla.
PSU should be embarrassed
I watched the Penn State game today, and I can no longer stand it.
Penn State fans are being duped. Penn State has no interest in playing competitive football. They are only interested in filling stadium seats and the money it brings in.
Joe Paterno's real goal is getting wins and he doesn't care how many poor quality, sub-Division I teams he has to play to get his wins.
All "true" Penn Staters who were at the game or watched the game on Saturday should be embarrassed at the quality of teams they are playing. It's time for Penn State to step up to the plate and start to play competitive football and not let the "bean counters" run the sport.
Lee R. Crist, Duncansville