Florida's Medal Of Freedom Goes To Fsu Great Bobby Bowden

Former Florida State University NCAA college football coach Bobby Bowden speaks before being presented with the Governor's Medal of Freedom from Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
Former Florida State University NCAA college football coach Bobby Bowden speaks before being presented with the Governor's Medal of Freedom from Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Bobby Bowden, the former Florida State football coach who led the Seminoles to two national titles, received the inaugural Florida Medal of Freedom at a ceremony Wednesday hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Bowden, 91, is one of college football’s winningest coaches. He coached Florida State from 1976 to 2009, winning national titles in 1993 and 1999.

“I appreciate you giving me this honor. I will cherish it the rest of my life,” Bowden said after the governor and other speakers hailed him for his work not only as a coach but as a mentor to the hundreds of young men he assembled for his teams.

The state’s medal of freedom recognizes “any person who has made and especially meritorious contribution to the interest in citizens of the state and culture public and private endeavor.”

Bowden left Florida State under a cloud because of an academic cheating scandal that prompted the NCAA to strip the team of several victories.