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Bobby Bowden receives first-ever Florida Medal of Freedom

Retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden has received the first-ever Florida Medal of Freedom.

Governor Ron DeSantis bestowed the honor Wednesday for achieving great things on behalf of Florida.

Bowden led the Seminoles for 34 seasons, winning two national championships, and DeSantis praised him as a patriot and man of faith.

Retired FSU football coach Bobby Bowden received the first-ever Florida Medal of Freedom. Image: Florida Channel

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Charlie Ward spoke on behalf of fellow players.

He said Bowden taught him to be fair and honest and as coach. He trusted his coaches and players, Ward said, and found success through his willingness to make changes. 

“Thank you for the opportunity to give us a chance to earn a degree from college and also go on and do great things and also be a Seminole,” Ward said. “And so thanks for being who you are and the example that you set for us.”

Bowden told the governor he would treasure the award for the rest of his life.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.