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Called to Coach: Reflections on Life, Faith, and Football Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 24, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"We all know about Coach Bowden's accomplishments on the field and we probably won’t see that again in college football in this day and age. What people might not know about Bobby Bowden is the man that he is, the person that he is, and the number of people he impacted, influenced, and inspired. He did it with such class and dignity in every way. As coaches, you wish maybe someday to be thought of as well as he is, not only in terms of what he accomplished, but the way he did it."

— Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama

“When I was a young coach, Bobby Bowden was a hero to me. As I got older, he became an example. For all of us, he has been a benchmark. He did things the right way and reached out to help so many of us through the years. He left anyone who was fortunate enough to be around him with a true understanding of what it means to be a coach.”

— Mack Brown, Head Coach, University of Texas

“When Bobby speaks, I listen. When he writes, I read. You will be grateful you read this book. Then you will know why I, and millions of people, love and respect Bobby Bowden.”

— Lou Holtz, Former Coach, College Football Analyst, ESPN

“Bobby Bowden was coach and mentor to thousands of young men throughout his remarkable 55-year career, and he took that responsibility very seriously. He provided a living example of character and integrity; nurturing not only great football players, but also fine husbands, fathers and role models for future generations. Called to Coach is a story about one of our true national treasures.”

— President Jimmy Carter

“Coach Bowden has had an enduring impact on an untold number lives for such a long period of time. Aside from my father, Coach Bowden is the most influential man in my life. I’m certain there are countless others who could say the same thing. Any success I have in the coaching business I owe mostly to Coach Bowden.”

— Mark Richt, Head Coach, University of Georgia

“Coach Bowden transcends football. He is a man who leveraged his position as a winning football coach into a living example of the Christian values he believed in. Then he shared them with his players. He personifies the ultimate father in that he inspired us to be the best that we could be, helping us build our mind, body, and spirit through the game he loved. This book will deliver his message to others who will benefit—just like I have, from the life, the wisdom, and the grace, that is, Coach Bobby Bowden.”

— Warrick Dunn

"We all know Bobby has been incredibly successful on the football field, but I believe his real success lies in how many lives he has touched as a mentor, teacher, and friend! I know he has touched my life and I am better for it."

— Kenny Chesney

“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Bobby Bowden for more than thirty years. During my years of coaching at Nebraska, between 1980 and my last year of coaching in 1997, we played Florida State eight times. We won only twice and lost six times. Many of the games were very close and the winner would win the National Championship. Through all of those years of competition, I always respected and admired Bobby Bowden greatly. He stands for the right things, is a man of principle, was always honest in recruiting and exemplifies all that a Christian person should be. Called to Coach is a very interesting narrative of life in the coaching profession spanning nearly fifty years. I recommend the book highly.”

— Tom Osborne, Athletic Director, University of Nebraska

"Where would college football be without men like Bobby Bowden? I have long been a fan of his tireless dedication to athletic excellence, but it is his work off the field that makes me admire him even more. It is impossible to count the number of lives that have been influenced for the better by this great man. His leadership of young men made them champions both on and off the field."

— S. Truett Cathy, CEO, Founder, Chick-fil-A, Inc.

About the Author

Bobby Bowden is known as much for his affable charm as he is for his championship teams. Having coached young men in seven decades, he is the second-winningest coach in major college football history. Bowden guided Florida State University to more than three hundred victories, two national championships, twelve Atlantic Coast Conference titles, finishing in the top five in the country in fourteen straight seasons, and he also led the Seminoles to Bowl Games in twenty-eight consecutive seasons during his thirty-four-year tenure. The patriarch of college football’s most famous coaching family, Bowden remains heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, annually awarding The National Bobby Bowden Award to a student-athlete for achievement on and off the field, including his conduct as a faith model in the community. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He and his wife of sixty-one years, Ann, live in Tallahassee, Florida.

Mark Schlabach is a national college football columnist for ESPN.com and is a regular guest on television programs on the ESPN platform. A former staff writer for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Washington Post, Schlabach has covered college football for nearly two decades. A 1996 graduate of the University of Georgia, Schlabach and his wife, Heather, live with their three children in Madison, Georgia.

Tony Dungy and his wife Lauren Dungy are active members of a number of family, faith, and community-based organizations including All Pro Dad, iMom, Fellowship of Chrstian Athletes, Mentors for Life, Family First, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Boys and Girls Club of America. Tony is a former NFL player and retired head coach of the 2006 Superbowl Champions, the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; 1St Edition edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439195978
  • ASIN: B004HHO4AO
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book and should do very well.

As former President Jimmy Carter so eloquently wrote on the back of Called to Coach, Bobby Bowden is a true American treasure. Whether your a Florida State fan, college football fan, parent, coach, mentor or Christian, you will find a plethora of inspirational stories from the life story of Bobby Bowden. Coach Bowden was not only one of college football's greatest coaches, but he also was one of our countries greatest leaders. The most inspiring part of this book was reading the stories, testimonials and parables from the pregame speeches Bowden delivered to his teams.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about faith, values, and teaching our children to live their lives the right way.
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By Sam_A on September 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being a Miami fan, I can't help to envy FSU for having one of the Greatest coaches in college football. Great book. Very inspirational.
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Format: Hardcover
Not being a Florida State fan, I was surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did. It's a moving story of not just an excellent football coach but an inspirational man. Bowden's story - well told by Schlabach - is a real Horatio Alger tale of a man who worked his way up the old fashioned way, through hard work, perseverance and his enduring faith.

This book is filled with behind-the-scenes stories from from Bowden's long and illustrious coaching career, including his time at West Virginia and coaching against his sons as well as Bowden's early life in Birmingham and as a fledgling coach and husband.

This is not just a book for football fans, but for anyone interested in truly inspirational leaders of our time.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a birthday present from a friend at church last week. My first thought when receiving it was: Why in the world would I want to read a book about a football coach? I'm a grandmother and have never even watched a college football game. But my good friend heard Bobby Bowden speak recently at a Christian business leaders group near our hometown and was amazed by his wonderful stories. I read this book over the weekend and she was exactly right. Even if you're not a football fan, this book teaches us some very important lessons about morals, faith and living your life to help others. Bobby Bowden is such an inspiration. His lessons about allowing God to lead each our of lives were very inspirational. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
As a diehard Florida Gators fan I grew up pulling against Bobby Bowden and the Florida State Seminoles. To me, the perfect weekend included a Florida win and a Florida State loss. I used to hear that Coach Bowden was a Christian. But to be quite honest, in my mind it was hard to accept that someone could be both a Christian and a Seminole. It seemed that the latter meant he was living in sin.

In all seriousness, it was always hard not to like Bobby Bowden. He was the epitome of class on the sidelines, and he graciously handled his termination from FSU (he has more wins than any other major college football coach, and he coached on a field that was named after him; how can you fire a living legend?).

A few years ago Georgia coach Mark Richt told me about his salvation; he confirmed the rumor that I had heard. A football player at FSU was murdered during a bye week, and Bowden took the opportunity to tell his players that they needed to be right with God because their moment could come any minute. Richt, who was an assistant at FSU at the time, went into Bowden's office and gave his heart to Christ.

Coach Bowden will be preaching for us here in January, so I read his book Called to Coach to see what he is really about. I have to say, even as a Gator, I am very impressed. Throughout his coaching career Bowden would have devotions with his team on the night before each game. Here is how he described them:

"I would talk to them about how to become a Christian and how you become saved. Some may say I didn't have the right to do it, but I would much rather be spiritually correct than politically correct."

He went on to say that if he were told to stop talking about Christ in front of his players then he would have gone "underground" and done it anyway.
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Format: Hardcover
Bobby Bowden is a great roll model for old and young alike. In his book he tells of the high and low points of his life. Both should be viewed as examples of how one should approach life through faith.

His story will be of great help to children and grandchildren as they approach the adulthood of their lives. His account of the death of his grandson and son-in-law will give the reader help in dealing with life's tragic moments. He show us how to come Out of the Night.

Out Of The Night: The Spiritual Journey of Vietnam Vets
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely a fantastic read. I recommend it for anybody that loves a great story. It doesn't matter if you like or know who bobby Bowden is because all-in-all, it is just a fascinating look into the life and career of a great person and leader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Over the years Bobby Bowden has written or contributed to quite a few books about himself and as an avid FSU fan I have read most of them. This by far isn't the best but it was fun to read because Bobby takes you on a journey of his career that was enjoyable to experience again. I particularly liked the chapters that spoke of the glory days and re-played the games of their winning seasons in the 90s. I remember watching all of the games Bobby talked about and reading his take on them brought back a lot of good memories.

Bobby was quite frank about his faith in the book - making no apologies for the fact that he is a Christian and that he believes his career was a calling to lead young men to Christ through coaching. That was refreshing to read and good to know that no matter when the chips were up or down he wasn't willing to back away from professing his faith.

Bobby also talks about a lot of the flack he got over the years for giving a lot of his players second chances after they got into trouble but if you read the book you will get a good perspective as to why he did this. He makes the point that though they were football players playing on a national stage they were still kids - in a part of life where they were still developing character and trying to find out what was right and what was wrong - a stage of life where we all are prone to make mistakes - and also a part of life where most of us get a second a chance.

Not being alumni at FSU - it was bittersweet reading this book because for me - so much of being an FSU fan was being a Bobby Bowden fan. I grew up watching him on the sidelines. Like everyone else I was frustrated by how poorly his teams performed toward the end of his career but seeing him go was still tough.
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