Mon May 18 03:04pm EDT
Hard to blame any struggling paper for going for the hilarious lead -- "Bobby Bowden says the NCAA is targeting Florida State for academic cheating because it doesn't like FSU's mascot " -- but the real news in the Miami Herald's weekend story on Bowden is that the old coach came stunningly close to announcing a date to officially hand the reins to coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fishe (emphasis added)r:
Before addressing Miami Seminole Club boosters recently, Bowden, 79, said he expects to coach the 2010 season. But retirement appears likely after that. ''This won't be the last one, good Lord willing, if He doesn't take me out,'' Bowden said of his offseason tour.
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher gets a $5 million payout if he isn't FSU's head coach by Jan. 11, 2011. Doesn't that factor into Bowden's retirement decision? ''I don't want to answer that,'' Bowden said. ''But if you put two and two together, you'll be right.'' Bowden conceded, "My days are limited, but I still enjoy what I do. I would rather walk off quietly. That's the reason I won't say when I'm going to get out because people start counting the days and saying that's the last time he's going to play here.''
2 + 2 + Owing Jimbo Fisher $5 million in 2011 = Bowden plans to retire at the end of 2010.
I understand Bowden's reticence to name a date from the perspective of avoiding a media hullaballoo, but personally, I don't know why anyone would eschew a good retirement tour or the potential booty -- recliners, jackets, watches, paintings -- that might accompany it. The media's going to be on your case, anyway, coach; we'll make crazy assumptions and write "This could be the last time Bowden visits ..." and insist on asking the big question at every press conference, no matter what. Might as well embrace the loot.