Bowden Says He Left AU 'Honorably'

Terry Bowden says Auburn athletic director David Housel told him there was "virtually no way" he could save his job as head football coach, prompting his resignation.

Bowden, in a story today in The Birmingham News had no choice but to quit, even though Housel urged him to stay on through the end of the season.

"I was going to wait as long as I could to see if maybe my athletic director or president could work something out," Bowden said.

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  • "They knew we were in dire straits, they knew saying, `We want you to stay' is not the same thing as `We think there is a way you can stay after the season.' And that is what I was facing."

    Housel has denied that Bowden was forced out.

    The coach's resignation was announced Friday, on the eve of the Louisiana Tech game, and Bowden informed his players in an emotional address that night.

    "I felt like I left honorably," Bowden said.

    Bowden came under increasing criticism this season as the Tigers slipped to 1-5 record. He said media reports about his future caused the dam to break last week.

    "OMonday, there was an article (in The Huntsville Times) discussing that I didn't have the full support of our trustees and I definitely had to win both non-conference games and two out of the three conference games or I would be fired," Bowden said. "I was not reading articles, but I began to hear about it."

    Housel called the next day to arrange a meeting on Wednesday morning.

    "He felt I should know something, based on his understanding, that it was much more serious than what the article said, and there was virtually no way I could save my job at the end of the year," Bowden said.

    Bowden said he asked Housel what he should do.

    "`Terry, you can fight this. You can fight this,'" Bowden said Housel told him. "`Do the best you can.'"

    Bowden said he phoned university president William Muse, who, like Housel, encouraged him not to quit. Later, Bowden said, he telephoned influential trustee Bobby Lowder to tell him he planned to resign.

    Bowden, with a 47-17-1 record at Auburn, said he had little choice but to step down.

    "It was to the paper first," he said. "Therefore, the staff morale and the morale of the team was affected before I was aware of it.

    "I really felt I wanted so bad to go out a winner, but if the very first there was a mention of it was in Huntsville this week, it would be in Birmingham next week. This public debate would be so cruel that the young men would have no chance to focus on the game."

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