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Former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden honored with Florida Medal of Freedom

Gov. Ron DeSantis held a ceremony at the governor's mansion.
Credit: AP
Retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The 88-year-old Bowden was in Omaha to accept the Tom Osborne Legacy Award as part of the Outland Trophy banquet. Bowden coached Florida State from 1976-2009 and won national championships in 1993 and 1999. His Seminoles beat Osborne's Nebraska team 18-16 in the Orange Bowl after the 1993 season for the first of his two national championships. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — "What took you so long?" Legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden joked as he was honored Wednesday with the inaugural Florida Medal of Freedom. 

The former FSU football coach received the medal during a ceremony at the governor's mansion in Tallahassee. 

In addition to the awarded medal, Gov. Ron DeSantis also declared April 7 as Bobby Bowden Day in Florida.

"In 1976, football in the state of Florida changed forever when Coach Bowden showed up in Tallahassee," DeSantis said. 

Bowden coached Florida State University from 1976-2009 and is second on the major college victories list, according to ESPN

"Coach, although your accomplishments on the field are unmatched...your legacy, as the governor said, goes far beyond football," FSU President John Thrasher said.

During his time coaching the Seminoles, he led the team to two national championships, 12 ACC championships, and 14 consecutive seasons listed in the Associated Press' Top Five, according to FSU. The university says he also coached two Heisman Trophy winners and a Rhodes Scholar. 

The 91-year-old was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

In October, Bowden tested positive for COVID-19. He has reportedly made a complete recovery since, according to DeSantis. 

You can watch the full award ceremony here.

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