Bowden Honors Sept. 11 Heroes With Team's 2002 Slogan
Posted August 5, 2002 6:32 a.m. EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Bobby Bowden didn't give his players a chance to vote on the team slogan for the 2002 season. This year, the veteran Florida State coach already had a motto in mind: "Let's Roll!"
Bowden said his players embraced the catchphrase after he explained how Todd Beamer and other passengers aboard United Flight 93 prevented terrorists from flying the plane into their target last September.
The flight crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside on Sept. 11. It was the only one of four hijacked planes that didn't kill anyone on the ground.
"You know you're going to die and instead of panicking they go in there and try to keep them from blowing up the White House or whatever they were trying to blow up," Bowden said Sunday. "I consider those guys heroes. Let's honor them."
Beamer, a 32-year-old account manager for Oracle Corp., cried "Let's Roll!" on an in-flight phone as passengers apparently prepared to confront the hijackers.
"He had three or four others guys and they were fixing to take that thing over," Bowden said. "I can just see those guys around 'em and he says, 'Lets Roll."'
President Bush has often repeated the phrase to rally Americans in the war on terrorism.
The Seminoles, who slumped to an 8-4 record last season after 14 years of 10 wins or more, choose a new slogan every year. Bowden has usually let his players make the decision.
During the school's annual media day activities, Bowden also said he believes the Seminoles are in group of about 10 schools with the talent to win a national title.
With 17 starters back this season, Bowden begins his 27th years at Florida State with something he didn't have last year - experience.
"These guys walked in like they know what they're doing," Bowden said. "You can't coach experience."
In addition, the Seminoles regain the services of wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Robert Morgan, who were both lost to the team all of last year.
Bowden's 323 victories ties him with the late Alabama coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant, for second place on the NCAA's all-time list of career coaching wins for Division I.A. - four less than Penn State's Joe Paterno.
A Florida State win Aug. 24 in Kansas City against Iowa State would move Bowden past Bryant into second place by himself.
"I don't think about that at all," Bowden said Sunday. "I would think when I retire, if I ever retire, then you'd look back and say 'oh boy look at here' but right now the biggest thing is to win a national championship."
Bowden, who turns 73 during the season, said he isn't thinking about retirement.
"I like coaching too much," he said.
Bowden, who has lost more than 20 pounds over the last year, was in his usual upbeat form, displaying the same energy, enthusiasm and wit that has been the hallmark of his remarkable 26-year run at Florida State. He's racked up a 250-59-4 record and national titles in 1993 and 1999 with the Seminoles.
"Getting old is good if you've got your health," Bowden said. "The good Lord has blessed me with good health. Now I've got to keep from dropping dead when I walk out of the building."