Bobby Bowden has been hinting for months that he'd like to be back for his 35th season as Florida State's head coach in 2010 (along with his son, and his wife), and Sunday he reiterated that position:
"Right now I would like to come back," Bowden said in his Sunday teleconference with the media. "The only thing I can say is right now, sitting right here — and I guess it could change in a day or two, it could — but right now, I would like to come back.
"Still, I've got bosses. I've got people that would have to approve it."
After meeting with those bosses this morning, they seem to be fine with another year of Bowden, based on the 80-year-old's contention at his weekly media luncheon that his return is up to him:
"I make the decision, I make the decision," insisted Bowden.
So if Bowden wants to be back as head coach, and it's his own call whether or not he's back as head coach, why did he also insist today on leaving the door open to retirement when he officially announces his decision on Tuesday? And why did the local Tallahassee Democrat report tonight that, when the moment of truth arrives in the morning, it fully expects Bowden to announce his retirement? According to both the Democrat and the Worldwide Leader's Mark Schlabach, it's because Bowden's return would almost certainly mean he can't really be the head coach as he's known the job for the last three decades (emphasis added):
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bobby Bowden says he was given two options during a meeting with Florida State's president and athletic director and that there would be an announcement on his future at the school Tuesday.
One option, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com, involved returning to the sideline in 2010 but with reduced responsibilities that would give offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher more authority over coaching staff hirings and changes.
The Democrat flatly described the role as a "non-coaching position." The other word being tossed around is "ambassador" -- a figurehead, a coach emeritus who lends his lifetime of wisdom, schmoozes with boosters, works his fundraising magic and leaves the actual coaching to the kids. In other words, it sounds like the kind of role most people assume Bowden has been playing at Florida State for years, certainly since the beginning of the 'Noles' nosedive this decade since playing in each of the first three BCS championship games from 1998-2000.
It's also a role, though, that he specifically swore off on Sunday, at least in an official capacity. As the boss -- the official head coach -- he "delegated authority" and "let his coaches coach" of his own volition, as a decision of a wizened old coach for the good of the team. To be assigned the role, though, may be too much to bear when the post has been under your watch for so long. What is a "non-coaching position," anyway -- does he still get to count the wins toward his career total? Does he still get to oversee practices and interact with the players? Does he still get to take credit and take the stage and feel a genuine share if the team turns around its recent malaise and wins a championship?
If not, then the "decision" isn't really his at all. It's not really even a decision: If the "ambassador" rumors are accurate, the old man is finally being put out to pasture.
[UPDATE, 10:25 p.m. ET] Someone in one of these stories is a little confused:
Bowden told The Associated Press at his home Monday evening that he is still sifting through "options" presented to him when he met with Florida State President T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman for an hour earlier in the day.
"Yes, there are options," said a relaxed Bowden, who was eating a light dinner while seated in an easy chair in his home office surrounded by memorabilia from his long career. "One of them is to be the head coach."
Bowden's wife, Ann -- who said "they'll have to fire him, if they've got the guts" earlier this month -- also insisted nothing had been finalized: "That's why they're meeting [Tuesday]." At this time of night, that translates to "stay tuned, folks."