Terry Bowden has made the same dramatic entrance into the broadcasting industry as he did as a head coach in college football. He has quickly become one of the top studio analysts in college football, as the analyst for television's most distinguished studio show on ABC Sports. Whether in the booth on Christmas Day analyzing the Blue-Gray Classic or sitting beside John Saunders at ABC's New York City studio, his energy and insight are captivating viewers all over the country.
Although Terry Bowden's bright future is firmly planted in network television, it all began walking the sidelines as a head football coach. Looking back to those years tells you two things about Terry -- number one, he's a winner; and number two, don't ever underestimate him.
As a college football coach, Bowden was enormously successful, compiling a 15 year record of 111-53-2 and an impressive winning percentage of 68 percent. As head coach of the Auburn Tigers, he won 73 percent of his games and posted the best opening five-year run of any head football coach in school history.
Prior to becoming head football coach at Auburn, Bowden built two programs from the ground up as head coach at Salem College and Samford University. As the nation's youngest head coach at age 26, it didn't take long for winning to become Terry Bowden's trademark.
At Salem, he inherited a football program which had gone 0-9-1 the year before, but he won. Salem won the WVIA Conference Championship, its second in 80 years, in Bowden's second season. It was the first of two straight championships for Bowden and Salem. He won 19 of his last 25 games, led the nation in offense both years and played in the NAIA national playoffs both years.
He was an assistant coach at Akron for former Notre Dame head coach Gerry Faust in 1986 before taking the helm at Samford in 1987.
Inheriting a Samford program which had won just six games in three years prior to his arrival, Samford was 9-1 his first year, tying the record for the best season in school history. The Bulldogs led the nation in total offense (523 ypg) and scoring offense (51.7 ppg), both national Division III records. The team's 40 touchdown passes were also a national season record, but that was only the beginning for Samford and for Terry Bowden.
Bowden engineered and directed Samford's move from Division III non-scholarship football to Division I-AA scholarship football. With only one freshman class on scholarship, the Bulldogs went to a full Division I-AA schedule in 1989. By 1991, Samford was competing for the national championship.
The 1991 Samford team had the best record in school history, 12-2, and made the Division I-AA national semifinals. The Bowden magic was working again.
Playing in the shadow of Auburn, Alabama and the Southeastern Conference, Bowden had developed the Samford program into one of the nation's strongest, most competitive Division I-AA programs. In five years, Samford had successfully made the difficult transition from non-scholarship football to scholarship football, and was competing for titles.
For Terry Bowden, the next step was inevitable. It came on Dec. 17, 1992 when he was named head coach at Auburn. Auburn president Dr. William V. Muse called Bowden the perfect choice to lead Auburn Football into the 21st Century. Terry Bowden's first bio as head football coach at Auburn began: "At 36, Terry Bowden, one of the youngest coaches in Division I-A football, is poised on the threshold of greatness?"
No one knew how close greatness was. Yet, five months after that first bio was written, Terry Bowden had accomplished a feat that no other Division I-A coach had ever accomplished. He had gone undefeated and untied in his first year as a Division I-A head coach, a perfect 11-0.
Bowden swept virtually every national coach of the year award in his rookie season including Walter Camp, Scripps Howard, Football News, Toyota and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award presented by the Football Writers Association. He was again a finalist following his second season at Auburn. By the end of his second season on the Plains, the Tigers had reeled off 20 straight wins, an Auburn record. Also during his helm at Auburn, Bowden became the first college coach in 50 years to win his 100th career game by his 40th birthday.
As a student-athlete at West Virginia University, he lettered two years as a running back (1977-78), held a 3.65 GPA in accounting, the highest GPA on the football team, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
He did post graduate work at Oxford University in England, and earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the Florida State University School of Law in 1982 while a graduate assistant coach at FSU.
He was born into the most famous and successful college football family. His father, Bobby Bowden, turned Florida State into a national champion, his brother Tommy is head coach at Clemson, brother Jeff is the offensive coordinator at Florida State and brother-in-law Jack Hines is an assistant coach at Clemson. Terry Bowden certainly did his part to add luster and glory to the first family of college football.
In 1998, Bowden left his stellar coaching career behind and made the exciting move into broadcasting with ABC Sports.
Terry Bowden has been ultra-successful as a student, an athlete, and a college football coach. He is a much sought after motivational speaker. The qualities that have made him successful throughout his life -- enthusiasm, contagious optimism, confidence and work ethic -- are the same qualities that he now relies on as a network television studio analyst for college football.
Bowden, married to the former Shyrl Lambert, has five daughters and a son, Tera, Jordan, Erin, Cori, Jamie Taylor and Terry, Jr. They reside in the Orlando area.