UNION — One of the most well known coaches in the history of college football is scheduled to speak in Union County.
Coach Bobby Bowden will be the featured guest speaker at this year’s annual Philippi Baptist Church Sportsman’s Dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 in the church’s Family Life Center.
Bowden coached the Florida State Seminoles from 1976-2009, guiding the team to more than 300 wins, two national championships, 12 ACC titles, and finishing among the top five in the country for 14 consecutive seasons. Bowden also led the Seminoles to bowl games in 28 consecutive seasons, and during his 34-year tenure as FSU head coach, he only had one losing season — his first. Before he became head coach at Florida State, Bowden coached the West Virginia Mountaineers from 1970-1975 and the Howard Bulldogs (former Howard College in Birmingham, Ala.) from 1959-1962.
Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, and he coached his final game on Jan. 1, 2010, leading the Seminoles to a 33-21 victory over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.
Although he is retired, Bowden remains heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Since 2004, FCA has presented annually the National Bobby Bowden Award to a student athlete for achievement on and off the field, including conduct as a faith model in the community.
Philippi Baptist Church has hosted its sportsman’s dinner on an annual basis for more than 20 years. A new tradition began with last year’s sold-out event — with guest speaker Michael Roth — which became a fundraiser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), specifically the Union County FCA chapter led by Charlie Childers. All proceeds from this year’s event will also benefit Union County FCA.
“We are very excited and honored to have Bobby Bowden coming to Union,” said Philippi Baptist Associate Pastor Tommy Mann.
Mann mentioned that Bowden will be in Union, even though he is currently going through a rough time following the death of his grandson on Dec. 26.
“He is a big supporter of the FCA, so he wanted to come be a part of it,” Mann said.
Tickets for the event are $10, and a meal (a smoked chicken half, sides and dessert) is included. Several door prizes will be given away, including a shotgun for adults and a fishing rod for kids.
Mann said more than half of the 500 available tickets have been sold, and he expects the event to sell out as it did last year.
The church is also looking for local businesses to become sponsors of the event, which will include four tickets, an autographed football and a chance to meet Bowden before the event.
For more information about becoming an event sponsor or to purchase tickets for the event, call the church office at (864) 427-8726.