The Bowdens are the First Family of college football. Bobby, the father, built the winningest program of the decade at Florida State. Son Terry took over an Auburn team on probation and led it back into the top tier of the sport. Son Tommy is Auburn's offensive coordinator and will likely get his own program in the next few seasons. Son Jeff, now coaching Florida State receivers, will earn his own head coaching opportunity one day. So will the boys' brother-in-law Jack Hines - who played for Bobby, married his oldest daughter, Robyn, and now coaches with Terry at Auburn. Reading this book is like accepting an exclusive invitation to a Bowden family gathering, where discussions range from informal debates about the best winning strategy to disarmingly candid appraisals of the racial undercurrents of college athletics. Listen to inside stories of key moments in Games of the Century, of the recruiting and coaching of famous athletes such as Deion Sanders and Charlie Ward. Hear how it feels to be trapped inside a locker room with angry fans pounding on the door, to be the son of a coach hanged in effigy, to have to choose between the interests of a troubled young athlete and the image of a football program. Learn, with the Bowdens, the lessons of careers measured in clock ticks and place-kicks.
The Bowdens are indeed a gridiron dynasty: father Bobby, head coach at Florida State for 20 years, has built a powerhouse team; son Terry is the head coach at Auburn University; son Jeff is an assistant to Bobby; son Tommy and son-in-law Jack Hines are assistants to Terry. Writing with USA Today reporter Brown, they here engage in an ongoing conversation also involving mother, Ann; son Steve, a philosophy Ph.D.; and daughter Ginger, a lawyer. Most of their talk about football is cliched: winning is fun and losing is hard; football teaches discipline and teamwork and trust; if an offensive plan doesn't work, change it; aggression is good but must be channeled on the field. The only disagreement occurs when religious fundamentalist Bobby encounters Steve's view of the Bible as metaphor, but it is a genteel clash. The book should sell like sunblock in Florida, where Bobby is almost deified, but it's all rather hackneyed stuff.