Sanctions at PSU make Bowden leader in wins

Sanctions at PSU make Bowden leader in wins

Published Jul. 23, 2012 10:56 a.m. ET

As a result of the NCAA's sanctions on Penn State announced Monday, Bobby Bowden is now recognized as the Football Bowl Subdivision's all-time wins leader with 377.

For decades, Florida State’s Bowden and Penn State’s Joe Paterno competed neck-and-neck for the title of major college football’s all-time victories leader. When Bowden was forced into retirement after the 2009 season with 377 wins, the race ended and Paterno continued to extend his lead, accumulating 409 wins before he was fired in November.

But 11 days after the Freeh Report documented the child-abuse scandal in State College, Pa., NCAA president Mark Emmert on Monday ordered that Paterno’s 111 wins from 1998 to 2011 will be vacated.

“There is no rejoicing in the Bowden household,” Bowden said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Nobody would want to have a title given to him this way, you know it?  No sanctions, no amount of money and no penalties could ever repay or repair the damage done to those young boys. I just hate the way all of this has happened.”

Bowden long had plans to retire as major college football’s wins leader. He had sought the mark in part because one of his coaching idol’s, former Alabama coach Bear Bryant, had the record.

But Bowden and Paterno soon were battling throughout the early part of the 2000s for the record, two 70-somethings who cherished a record while guiding programs they had led for decades.

Paterno’s career record has been adjusted to 298 victories.

Twelve of Bowden's victories from the 2006 and ’07 seasons were vacated as part of an academic cheating scandal. He was forced into retirement by Florida State in 2009.

His 377 wins now stand as the most by a college football coach at the NCAA’s highest level.

“Nothing that has transpired today has changed what our teams accomplished over the years one bit,” Bowden said. “All of this attention and focus should be on the innocent victims of this tragedy.”

Former Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson holds the record for Division I-AA (Football Championship Series) wins with 408, and John Gagliardi of Division III Saint John’s (Minn.) University has the most wins of any coach in college football history with 484.