Alabama football coach Nick Saban reacts to Bobby Bowden's death: 'A wonderful friend'

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football coach Nick Saban called Bobby Bowden a "wonderful friend" on Sunday, after hearing the former Florida State football coach had died

Bowden was 91. 

"His passing is a loss for everyone but should be seen as a chance to celebrate a life remarkably well lived," Saban said in a statement. "Sometimes it's not what you do but who you are that is truly important, and no one embodies that more than Bobby Bowden." 

Saban, while speaking to reporters later Sunday, said Bowden was one of the great ambassadors of all time for the sport. 

"He had success coaching but he was also one of the greatest people and set an outstanding example for everyone in our profession in terms of you don’t have to dislike somebody, you don’t have to discredit somebody that you’re competing against," Saban said. "That your example of being a good person is something that can help us all professionally. He wasn’t always just about him; he was always about helping other people." 

Saban mentioned the impact Bowden has had on many young men over 60 years in coaching as well as Bowden's achievements. 

"But when I think about coach, it's about the man he was and the impact he had on everyone he encountered," Saban said. "I probably understood that impact even earlier than the rest of college football." 

Saban then told the story about how Bowden once offered him a job on the West Virginia coaching staff. During that time, Saban's dad had died, and Bowden knew him. He also heard that "maybe my mom was struggling a bit back home in West Virginia." 

One day, Bowden called Saban and said if Saban needs to be closer to home, Bowden would make a place for him on the coaching staff. 

"How many coaches would do that?" Saban said. "How many people would do that?

"For me, that story is the personification of the true character of Bobby Bowden. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann and children Terry, Tommy, Jeff, Ginger, Steve and Robyn."