Trustee: Bowden Wasn't Forced Out

Terry Bowden wasn't told to resign and wasn't forced out as Auburn's football coach, university trustee Bobby Lowder said.

Lowder, the man many people feel was responsible for Bowden's sudden departure last Friday, said he's surprised at the suggestion.

"Bowden's decision is hard to understand," Lowder said. "Auburn people everywhere are trying to understand it and they are looking for reasons for his resigning and some of them are blaming me."

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  • But Lowder said Monday he had nothing to do with it.

    "I did not ask coach Bowden to resign, I did not tell him to resign and I did not advise him to resign," Lowder told the Mobile Register.

    Lowder was on the search committee that brought Bowden to Auburn from Division I-AA Samford in 1992. Lowder's daughter, Catherine, was an administrative assistant under Bowden at Samford and went with the coach to Auburn.

    On Tuesday, Bowden and his wife, Shryl, issued a statement to dispel widespread rumors that claimed the coach had been fired by Lowder for having an affair with his daughter.

    The Associated Press had not immediately received the statement, but Bowden told WJOX in Birmingham that the rumor was "just a statement of the times."

    "This is a sad day, it is absolutely not true," Bowden told the radio station. "This is ot fair to the Lowder family and not fair to the Bowden family."

    Shyrl Bowden said she was particularly disturbed by the rumor because her relationship with Cartherine Lowder was closer than her husband's.

    "We are finally out of this rat race and all we want to do is live as Mr. and Mrs. Bowden," Shyrl Bowden said. "If people are happy we are gone, then leave us alone. This is so ludicrous."

    Bobby Lowder said he first learned of Bowden's plans last Wednesday when the coach called him and told him he had met with athletic director David Housel.

    During that conversation, Lowder said Bowden told him he had talked with his father, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, and had thought about resigning. "The one person in the world that he listens to is his daddy," Lowder said.

    Lowder said Terry Bowden does not like to lose and he thinks the coach put even more pressure on himself after a 1-5 start this season, the worst at Auburn since 1952.

    "I've known Terry for over 10 years and I considered him a friend," Lowder told the Montgomery Advertiser. "This was certainly nothing personal."

    Lowder's denial of involvement in Bowden's resignation comes on the heels of similar denials by Housel that Lowder was involved.

    Bowden has said he decided to resign after Housel told him there was "virtually no way" he could save his job and that he had no choice but to quit.

    Lowder said that isn't true.

    "Even if someone had told him he had to win three or four games to keep his job, I would like to think he would have taken up the challenge and really tried harder, not just quit," Lowder told the Advertiser. "It's a good thing we never gave him that challenge, looking back on it."

    Former Auburn coach Pat Dye said what really happened will always by a mystery.

    "I don't think the whole truth will ever come out because it would hurt both sides," Dye said. He also said Bowden was not forced out and that any criticism of Lowder is unfair.

    "I can assure you that Bobby Lowder only has one vote on the board of trustees," Dye said.

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