Bobby Bowden and Donald Trump visited for a few minutes backstage prior to Trump’s rally in Tampa Monday night.
They shook hands, talked golf and even discussed football, according to a report in the Tallahassee Democrat.
“He was very congratulatory, like he knew me,” Bowden said Tuesday morning from his Tallahassee home.
“I felt like he’s more impressive personally than he is on television. It was an interesting thing.”
The former Florida State football coach introduced Trump at the Republican presidential nominee’s rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
Bowden, 86, said he was asked by a Republican party representative in Tampa to be among the speakers. He added he was not paid for his six-minute speech.
He drew a thunderous applause by telling the large, raucous crowd, “I was invited down to come down and introduce our new president.”
Bowden told the crowd that he and his wife, Ann, had voted Monday in Tallahassee with the start of early in-person voting.
Bowden returned home late Monday night.
While Trump is scheduled to make a two-hour stop today in the capital city, Bowden is scheduled to speak in Dothan, Alabama, tonight to a group of educators.
Bowden said he enjoyed the opportunity to speak and introduce Trump at the Tampa rally. He called the experience “different.”
Bowden said he’s not concerned by Trump’s comments that have gotten him in trouble in the past.
“He’s been under fire and in his position you are going to be under fire,” Bowden said.
“That’s the way that business is. He’s tough and he will handle it.”
Bowden stressed that he backed Trump’s comments about making America great again.
“We’ve lost so much of our prestige, nobody is concerned about us anymore,” Bowden said.
“It’s like we are a second-class nation, which we are not. He’s trying to regain that, and that’s what I want."
Bowden said his conversation with Trump prior to the rally was casual.
Bowden mentioned to Trump he had played golf at one of Trump's golf course in West Palm Beach. Trump invited him back.
While Trump was aware of Bowden's coaching success, the coach quipped Trump did not bring up "Wide Right," in regard to FSU's last-second missed field goals against rival Miami during Bowden's tenure.
"We didn't get into that," Bowden said and laughed.
Politics aside, Bowden, of course, is versed on college football with a pair of national championships while at FSU.
He’s hoping the Seminoles are able to put a complete game together in Saturday’s home showdown against undefeated Clemson.
“Clemson at times has played down,” Bowden said.
“I think they are going to have to play a super game to come down here and beat Florida State in Tallahassee. I really believe if Florida State can put it together, they can play with anybody. It will be a toughie.”