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Past and present: Bowden takes in Taggart’s FSU debut

September 4, 2018
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FILE - In this July 19, 2018, file photo, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart answers a question during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference NCAA college football media day in Charlotte, N.C. Taggart grew up a Florida State fan and now that the 42-year old has his dream job of coaching the Seminoles. He is only the third Florida State coach since 1976, joining Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher, who both won national titles. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has an open invitation from new coach Willie Taggart to attend practices and games.

Bowden was at Monday night’s game as the 19th-ranked Seminoles opened the Taggart Era against No. 20 Virginia Tech. Just don’t expect him to make frequent trips to campus.

“Let me put it like this — it is 10 miles from my house to here. I can go out my back door and that’s where the golf course is. Where do you think I’m going to be?” Bowden said. “At my age I prefer the living room, my chair and the icebox is about 5 yards away. It is good to be here every now and then.”

For the first time since retiring at the end of the 2009 season, Bowden has made some appearances to support Taggart. During Jimbo Fisher’s eight-year tenure, Bowden was hardly mentioned by Fisher and former players from the 1980s and 1990s mostly stayed away.

Taggart visited Bowden shortly after being named coach last December and said he wanted Bowden to feel welcome again. Taggart even volunteered to give Bowden his own parking space and golf cart.

Former players have also been welcomed back. More than 200 former players were at the spring game and many were back on Monday night, including Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks.

There were also some players from the 1999 national championship team in attendance as Peter Warrick had his number retired.

Taggart has said he wants as much advice as possible from Bowden, but the 88-year old Hall of Fame coach looks at it the other way.

“I don’t give advice to guys like him. They give me advice,” Bowden said. “At my age, I’m too old to be around the program. I keep up with everything they do.”

Former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer also served as an honorary captain and said it was good to be sharing a field with Bowden again.

Bowden won eight of the 11 games he faced Beamer but they split the last six games.

“I think it’s the most non nervous I’ve been in this stadium,” said Beamer, who was the Hokies coach from 1987 to 2015. “I am usually pins and needles in here. It’s special to be here with Bobby. It took a long time to beat him but I got him a couple times at the end.”

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