Bowden event raises $27,000-plus for FCA
By Stephanie Johns
Legendary Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden had attendees to the Lake Oconee Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Home Team Banquet laughing Monday night at Madison First United Methodist Church.
The event, which included the now-retired coach – known for having the most career wins in Division I – as well as a panel of FCA coaches and a silent auction, raised money for local FCA ministries.
FCA Area Director Bo Fowler said all money raised – over $27,000 – would stay in this area.
More than 260 people attended the dinner and had an opportunity to bid on approximately 30 different items: from football themed paintings and pictures to fishing and hunting trips.
Presenting sponsor Madison ChopHouse Grille prepared the food and served it with the assistance of FCA students from both Morgan and Jasper County middle schools.
Fowler noted athletes and coaches have influence because they are athletes and coaches.
He then introduced three local high school coaches: Robert Edwards of Greene County, Eddie Roberts of Jasper County, and Bill Malone of Morgan County.
The coaches talked about their role as father figures and shared how FCA has impacted them and their students.
University of Georgia Coach Mark Richt introduced Bowden via video. He said Bowden led Richt to the Lord in 1986 after first giving him an opportunity to coach.
“I really owe so much to Coach Bowden,” he shared.
Bowden then made his way to the podium where he proceeded to talk about his family, himself, his coaching career, and the FCA.
He said athletes need male figures and someone to discipline them.
“Thank God for mamas,” he said, adding female figures tend to be too sweet: some of his athletes had never been told “no.”
Another thing they need: religion.
“A free democracy cannot be maintained without religion,” he said. “Preferably the Christian religion.”
Bowden said he has heard a variety of excuses when it comes to getting a 15-year-old boy to church and he has the answer: “Make him!”
“You make him go to school, don’t you?” he said. “His soul is more important than his mind.”
He said when he hears from players of his from years ago not a one of them mentions football.
“They appreciate what they were taught,” he said. “That’s what FCA tries to do – get coaches and players to be role models for your kids.”
According to Bowden, FCA can positively impact not only individual athletes but an entire country.
“I see FCA playing a big role in saving our nation,” he said.
In the end, after many more humorous stories, Bowden received a standing ovation.
Printed in the March 7, 2013 edition