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Bobby Bowden First To Receive Florida Medal Of Freedom

Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden is all smiles as he visits with people in the locker room after their 33-21 win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden is all smiles as he visits with people in the locker room after their 33-21 win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded the medal during a ceremony Wednesday at the governor's mansion in Tallahassee.

Legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden is the first recipient of the Florida Medal of Freedom. Gov. Ron DeSantis also designated April 7th as "Bobby Bowden Day.”

During a ceremony at the governor’s mansion, DeSantis acknowledged Bowden’s faith-based approach to coaching and his contributions to Florida State University. Bowden’s football program helped boost the school’s profile. Bowden gave credit to his players and coaches and thanked DeSantis for the award.

"I will treasure it the rest of my life, which I don’t know how long that’ll be," the hall-of-fame football coach said to laughter. "Once you get to 90, you don’t worry about the future too much. You worry about that same day.”

Bowden also coached schools in Alabama, West Virginia and Georgia. He retired from coaching at FSU in 2009. During his more than 30 years at the school, he led the football team to two national championships, a dozen ACC championships and is among the winningest coaches of all time.

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