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Sharing faith, football
FSU legend visits with local FCA
Bobby Bowden poses for a photo with Kimbie and 2-month-old Alyssa Grovijohn. Kimbie Grovijohn used to spend time with Bowden as a child, while her mother, a sports reporter, would cover the Seminoles. - photo by Jennifer Sami
Bobby Bowden is known for his work on the field, but he said it’s what he does off it that matters most.

The recently retired Florida State University football coach and College Football Hall of Famer has been coaching for nearly 60 years.

But Bowden also is known for his work with youth, helping them find strength in their faith through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or FCA. 

The international organization, which uses athletics to promote the Christian faith, is “the greatest thing we’ve got going right now,” Bowden said.

The legendary coach was the keynote speaker Tuesday during the Forsyth/Dawson FCA spring banquet at First Baptist Church of Cumming.

“Put your faith in the Lord, and try to do the best you can for him, and he will lead you,” Bowden told the crowd of more than 400. “He will lead you and guide you because that’s what happened to me.

“People say, ‘Bobby, you did this,’ ‘Boy, you did that.’ I didn’t do nothing. I just made myself available to God and he did the rest. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”

Bowden reflected on his 34 years at Florida State, his decade at West Virginia University and other coaching stints at South Georgia College and Samford University.

During his time at Florida State, he led the Seminoles to two national championships, 21 college bowl game victories and 33 winning seasons.

But for alumnus Kimbie Grovijohn, who grew up in a family of FSU graduates, Bowden’s greatest impact was personal.

Before speaking to the crowd, Bowden was excited to see Grovijohn, the daughter of a former sports reporter.

When Grovijohn was a child, she used to spend hours at a time with Bowden while her mother covered sporting events.

Bowden referred to Grovijohn as family as he reached to hold her 2-month-old daughter, Alyssa.

“He wasn’t kidding when he said he practically raised me,” she said. “I had to give him my report cards when I was in middle school ... I have known him since I was 3 years old.

“He is very special to us.”