Tag Archives: Terry Bowden

Graveyard for Offensive Dreams?

By J.M. Comer

Pinehill Cemetery in Auburn.
Pinehill Cemetery in Auburn.

While it seems that since the days of Coach Pat Day, Auburn University has been a great springboard for defensive-minded coaches to further their career, the exact opposite can be said for the coaches with experience on the offensive side of the ball.

And after what happened yesterday (Tiger Jack on Auburn.nu called the scene of Tony Franklin loading up his SUV after this dismissal in front of the cameras “Spread Man Walking,” which is brilliant) I don’t see the decline of offensive brain trust at Auburn changing soon. Who in their right mind would accept the job, knowing that a band of jackals (or worse yet, complete dumbasses) possibly lay in wait, ready to sabotage their best efforts to change things, rattle the ol’ cage a bit and bring in some fresh air to the offensive side of the ball? A fool would accept this job under the current terms.

Al Borges, God bless him, could have probably grabbed a good job elsewhere after the 2004 season if he struck while the iron was hot. But the guy probably thought that the money was right, Auburn was a great place to live and raise a family, the future was bright and there was unfinished business on the Plains.

But just take a look at the list of offensive-minded coaches and what happened after they were let go at Auburn University. Some escape with their careers intact. Some are not so lucky, seeing their coaching stock drop considerably:

Head Coach Terry Bowden — Fired at Auburn 10 years ago after 6 games into the 1998 season and is no longer coaching. According to Wikipedia: “Bowden is the expert analyst for Westwood One Radio’s College Football National Game of Week, co-hosts “The Coaches Show” on Sirius Satellite Radio with Jack Arute, is the exclusive college football columnist for Yahoo! Sports, and works several times a month as a motivational speaker.”

Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone — Head Coach Tommy Tuberville cuts Mazzone loose in 2001 and replaces him with Bobby Petrino. Mazzone came over with Tuberville from Ole Miss in 1999. Mazzone grabs a job in 2002 with Oregon State. According to Wikipedia again: “In 2006, Mazzone finally moved to the NFL, becoming receivers coach for New York Jets.”

Offensive Coordinator Bobby Petrino — The exception to the rule. Leaves Auburn in 2002 on his own terms for head coaching job at University of Louisville. Almost takes over Auburn’s program in 2003 with Jetgate coup. Currently head coach of Arkansas University.

Al Borges — Currently unemployed after “resignation” in 2007. Lives in Auburn.

Tony Franklin — As of yesterday, unemployed. You know the story.

Next up for the chopping block?

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Quote Of The Day: 12.19.07 – WBGV and the Terry Bowden Mystique

By J. Henderson

“HE WEARS A TIE!”

– Fellow WordPress blog’s West By God Virginia’s “nuff-said” endorsement of former Auburn coach Terry Bowden’s candidacy for WVU head coach. An overnight cyber-sensation, WBGV is the apparent source of Monday’s net-melting rumor of Nick Saban’s interest in the West Virginia job; on Monday, that particular item received 68, 530 hits and was the most viewed post of any WordPress blog.

bowden-tie.jpgAcknowledging his apparently very West Virginian background (and of course his early, but now altered, wiki-status as prime contender, which I linked to last week honestly thinking it was a joke) I’m still rather surprised at how taken the national sports media seem with the prospect of Bowden at the helm in Morgantown – 9 years rusty, a solid, proven, but by no means dynamite record at Auburn, despite his spectacular first 20-games winning streak… and Dennis Dodd, who says there is “no downside” to Bowden-WVU marriage, is essentially ridiculing WVU’s athletic director for even considering someone else (“[Hiring Bowden] is such a slam dunk that even Spud Webb could hang on the rim.”)

It’s just that, what with the current trending of the coaching carousel, I suppose I was expecting the Mountaineers, in order to sustain their millennial éclat, to limit their search exclusively to rising hot shots, not someone looking to return to coaching, regardless of how famously-fathered or alumni’d they are.

Not that anyone ever said Terry couldn’t coach (to this day the standard Auburn gripe revolves around the poor perception of Bowden’s recruiting abilities, not his play calling), and with seniors Pat White and Steve Slayton to ride from game to game, it’s easy to imagine a repeat first-year performance similar to his God-delivered precocious start at Auburn, were he to get the job. And he has, apparently, been interviewed, getting his foot in the door, according to Kevin Scarbinsky, by making and presenting WVU with a “professional video resume to help answer the biggest questions about him.”

In this “video resume,” which I’m still fuzzy on, Bowden, again according to Scarbinsky, receives glowing recommendations from former Auburn president Dr. William Muse, to whom I once offered a free sandwich while a Sandwich Artist (he was recently out of a job – actually, I same thing happened with Bowden, too, and Jim Fyffe!), and former Auburn AD Mike Lude (didn’t know him).

In fact, so intent does Bowden seem on the West Virginia gig, it is hard for me to wish it away from him. But, still, selfishly, I do.

I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that we haven’t played against a team (head) coached by a former Auburn head coach, nor perhaps even been faced with that possibility, since Mike Donahue’s LSU Tigers beat us in 1927 (and 1926), and John Heisman’s days at Georgia Tech. I often wonder how fans of teams like LSU (Saban), Florida (Spurrier), Ole Miss (Tuberville), Alabama (Curry’s Kentucky’s years, and Francione’s Aggies – again, just the potential) and now Arkansas (Nutt) deal with it and I don’t care to find out, not at all. Just seems like bad mojo, anyway you stir it.

So here’s to the Saban rumor again… go for it Nick! I mean, seriously… why not?

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Bowdenpedia

According to his entry in Wikipedia, former Auburn coach Terry Bowden is the leading candidate to replace Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia.

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Australian Butter, Reid McMilion, and other emotional miscellany surrounding the Arkansas game of ’93.

By J. Henderson

Here is a strange story appropriate for the week of the Arkansas game.

The year? 1993. The new restaurant that had Birmingham hoppin’? Outback Steakhouse. It was late October on Hwy 31. A Friday Night dream!

It was also my great grandfather’s last birthday, last he would celebrate rather. I was in high school, a freshman. I ordered a steak and a baked potato and ate free food with family under lights so very dim and goofed off with my cousin. When it came time for the potato, I made a face because something didn’t taste right. I asked the waiter, “is there some sort of Australian butter on here?” He said it was sour cream. It was my first taste of the stuff.

The next day was Reid McMilion’s first taste of Australian butter, too, if by Australian butter you mean hard-core glory. And I do. I mean, he’d always been there, always been ready, but we called on him in a close one, 31-21, and he answered with a stoic roar. He was a senior and going freaking bald. He’s one of my all-time faves and that game is the reason why. Just 12 carries, by my heart was riding piggy back the whole time, if you know I mean.

I was by myself in the house, alone, no one with me but the Lord. It was cold outside. It was gray. There would be no warmth from the glow of the TV because the TV wasn’t going to be on because the Tigers were kept from television that year by the efforts of the traitor Ramsey. No matter, we ruled via radio. (“We weren’t seen, but we were heard!” read the bumper stickers.) I yanked my mom’s doggie bag out of the fridge, threw cold steak and potato into the microwave, took it back out and headed downstairs. And then I turned on the radio and I listened to the immortal Jim Fyffe diagram every step of 6’0, 220 lb Reid’s 91 yards of workhorse grandeur. Head down, legs up, smash them in the face until you see blood in the snow. Make cherry ice-cream out of it, eat it up. Spit it out. Win the game, let the angels quiver in the waves of your power! Yes, it was snowing up in Fayetteville the day before Halloween and thanks to Jim, I might as well have been there to see it fall. It is one of the more vivid memories of my life, listening to that game.

But Reid’s heroics apparently were peripheral to the real secret behind that particular Auburn victory, a crucial road win that shot the Tigers even further down the fated 11-0 path of undefeatedness, at least according to former Auburn defensive end Ace Atkins. And no, it has nothing to do with a half-time inspiration from young Coach Bowden.

Atkins is a writer, and actually a teacher at Ole Miss these days. He’s a prominent and skilled purveyor of that wonderful genre known as ‘southern noir.’ His dad, Billy Atkins, was a senior star on the 1957 Auburn team that won the national title, which makes them the only Auburn father and son pair to both play on undefeated teams. I imagine they could easily be the only such duo in the entire history of the game.

Here is a picture of Atkins 4th tackle in 1993.

 

ace-atkins.jpg

 

A “Sports Illustrated” piece on the game credits a pep-talk from Bowden about somebody stepping up to make a big play as the fire that got into the team’s blood, as well as some talk about Eskimos having to work all day at the Alaskan pipeline from secondary coach Jack Hines, who had a master’s degree in psychology. otis-mounds.jpgBut no! says Atkins, that wasn’t it at all. Atkins lays it all at the mouth of Otis Mounds, the Auburn safety with the troubled past who made national headlines while a redshirt freshman in 1990 for being paged to the playing field from the stands during the opening game of the season against Fullerton State. 8 years later, he would get the job as LL Cool J’s stunt-double on the set of the movie Any Given Sunday.

“It’s funny how the truth vs. the myth is always confused in football stories,” Atkins said.

“Someone told me… that it’s a famous story of how Terry Bowden came to the locker room at the Arkansas game and said you guys can be 8-1 or 9-0. Or something like that. Anyway, it’s told as that being the turning point of that game.”

“Not true.”

“The turning point came when we had been berated the entire first half by the Arkansas homecoming queen — yep, we were so bad in ’92, we were picked as homecoming — and finally defensive back Otis Mounds had had enough,” Atkins said.

And get this – the girl’s name? The Homecoming Queen’s name? Kym Polite. Kym Polite. She was a varsity cheerleader. And she blew it for her team because Otis Mounds had had enough.

“He turned around to the young lady – decked out in a fur coat and tiara – and yelled at her in the third quarter ‘Shut up, bitch.’”

“Now, that is what made the whole sideline pickup and we won the game. The girl was trying to get down to the field to slap Otis but she was held back by her court, her tiara falling off her head.”

“True tale,” Atkins said.

War Eagle! Let’s channel the spirit of McMilion and give’em hell! No Rules! Just Right! Shut up, Arkansas!

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