Terry Bowden won 47 games with Auburn from 1993-98, including an undefeated debut campaign and a Peach Bowl victory in his last full season as coach.
But he couldn’t have done it without bending some NCAA rules. In fact, that’s how a good majority of college football coaches operate — it’s nearly impossible to win consistently without some degree of cheating. Not at the beginning of a transition, at least.
Once a program is deemed successful, the success can by and large sustain itself. But by definition, “most programs that turn over their coaching staffs have not been successful. Most are a mess.”
To get a sense of the landscape that programs and their potential coaches are facing, Bleacher Report investigated this culture with more than 30 current and former FBS head coaches, Bowden being one of them.
Here’s a portion of the excerpt from Bowden’s part of the fascinating story:
When Terry Bowden was hired in 1993 to coach Auburn, he was a bright and audacious young (mid-30s) coach eager to make his legendary father proud and make a name for himself.
Everything changed within his first week. An assistant coach from the previous staff, whom Bowden was told he had to retain, walked into his office and placed a black ledger on his desk. It was a list of players who were being paid.
This is how we do it around here, Bowden was told.
Bowden told the assistant coach, “Pay off the players that were promised and never do it again.”
Be sure to finish reading the report, which includes compelling, detailed information on coaches who dealt with similar situations at other various programs.