Tommy Bowden
Tommy Bowden 2010.jpg
Tommy Bowden as head football coach at Clemson
Biographical details
Born (1954-07-10) July 10, 1954 (age 67)
Birmingham, Alabama
Playing career
1973–1976West Virginia
Position(s)Wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977West Virginia (GA)
1978–1979Florida State (DB)
1980Auburn (RB)
1981–1982Florida State (TE)
1983–1984Duke (QB)
1985–1986Duke (OC)
1987–1989Alabama (WR)
1990Kentucky (OC)
1991–1996Auburn (OC)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
C-USA Champion (1998)
C-USA Coach of the Year (1998)
ACC Coach of the Year (1999, 2003)
1× FCA Football Coach of the Year (2006)

Tommy Pearce Bowden (/ˈbdən/; born July 10, 1954) is a former American football coach. He served as the head coach at Clemson University from 1999 until October 13, 2008. He is a son of Bobby Bowden, former head football coach of Florida State University, against whom he has coached in games nicknamed the "Bowden Bowl." He is also a brother of Terry Bowden, who served as the head coach of Auburn.

Coaching career

Before coming to Clemson, Bowden was the head coach at Tulane University, and an assistant at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Duke University, the University of Kentucky, East Carolina University and, with his father, at Florida State. His 1998 Tulane squad went 12–0 and achieved a top-10 final ranking in both polls. Despite being one of only two undefeated teams in the regular season, Tulane was not even considered for a bid in a Bowl Championship Series game because it was believed they had not played a difficult schedule.

Bowden in 2006 as Clemson's head coach.
Bowden in 2006 as Clemson's head coach.

Bowden was hired as Clemson's head coach before the 1999 season. Bowden's Clemson teams went to a bowl game every year he coached there, except in 2004, when, after a brawl with rival South Carolina, both teams withdrew from bowl consideration for that season. He resigned on October 13, 2008, after leading the team to a disappointing 3–3 record (1–2 ACC) at the midpoint of a season in which the Tigers had been an almost unanimous preseason pick to win their first ACC title under Bowden and were ranked #9 in the preseason polls. Assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney was named as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.


Bowden, an evangelical Christian, addresses airmen at Pope Field in celebration of the National Prayer Luncheon in 2008.
Bowden, an evangelical Christian, addresses airmen at Pope Field in celebration of the National Prayer Luncheon in 2008.

Bowden attended and played football for West Virginia University from 1972 through 1976. He is married to Linda White and has two children, Ryan and Lauren. He is a son of former Florida State Seminoles head coach, the late Bobby Bowden and has two sisters and three brothers, including Terry, former head coach at Auburn University , and Jeff, who served as an assistant coach on his brother Terry's staff. Bowden is an evangelical Christian.[1][2] He has openly used his religion as a recruiting tool, saying that his faith “was a tremendous recruiting advantage.”[3][4]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Tulane Green Wave (Conference USA) (1997–1998)
1997 Tulane 7–4 5–1 2nd
1998 Tulane 11–0 6–0 1st Liberty 7 7
Tulane: 18–4 11–1
Clemson Tigers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1999–2008)
1999 Clemson 6–6 5–3 2nd L Peach
2000 Clemson 9–3 6–2 2nd L Gator 14 16
2001 Clemson 7–5 4–4 T–4th W Humanitarian
2002 Clemson 7–6 4–4 T–5th L Tangerine
2003 Clemson 9–4 5–3 3rd W Peach 22 22
2004 Clemson 6–5 4–4 T–6th Declined*
2005 Clemson 8–4 4–4 3rd (Atlantic) W Champs Sports 21 21
2006 Clemson 8–5 5–3 T–2nd (Atlantic) L Music City
2007 Clemson 9–4 5–3 2nd (Atlantic) L Chick-fil-A 22 21
2008 Clemson 3–3 1–2 T–2nd (Atlantic)
Clemson: 72–45 43–32
Total: 90–49
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

*Self-imposed punishment for team fight with South Carolina
Bowden resigned on October 13, 2008.


  1. ^ "Tommy Bowden".
  2. ^ "FCA: Ex-Clemson coach helps put faith in play at schools".
  3. ^ Atheist, Friendly. "New Report Highlights Troubling Blend of Christianity and College Football at Public Universities".
  4. ^ "News for Pawleys Island, Litchfield and Murrells Inlet".