Summer 2024

Bobby Bowden defends coach fired for praying: 'I'm proud of him'

It’s been years since former high school football coach Joe Kennedy was first put on administrative leave after he declined to stop praying with players at midfield after games.

But Kennedy, who was later fired from the Bremerton, Washington, school, is now drawing support from one of college football’s biggest names — Bobby Bowden.

The two-time national champion and longtime Florida State legendary head coach said this week that Kennedy deserves praise for sticking to his beliefs, even if appeals courts have since sided with the school district. That’s because, as Bowden put it, he was only exercising a practice of prayer that had already been found in the game for decades.

“I’m proud of him for standing up for what he believes,” Bowden said, as reported by FOX News. “I’m proud of him for putting God first … I don’t know how I didn’t get fired, because I prayed all the time at Florida State.”

Kennedy has called Bowden a “blessing” because of his support, per FOX. As documented on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum, the former Seminoles leader thinks Kennedy’s commitment to prayer was only a good thing:

Bowden stressed the importance of a coach instilling values in his players through prayer, adding that during the last decade of his coaching career, many of his players came from broken homes.

“Who’s going to teach these kids if teachers and coaches and politicians don’t use the opportunity they have to help these people [and] pray for these people?” he asked.

“I did what you did all the time,” Bowden, 88, said to Kennedy.

Bowden has gone on record to highlight his Christian faith before. The 12-time ACC title winner has attributed much of the success of his prestigious coaching career, which included more than 375 wins, to God.

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