Bowden’s father, the late Bobby Bowden, was coaching West Virginia at the time and extended an offer to the young quarterback, but Saban chose Kent State. Terry Bowden said the reunion comes 24 years in the making as Alabama (2-0) hosts ULM (1-1) on Sept. 17 ( 3 p.m., SEC Network).
Bowden, 66, played at West Virginia and shared a sideline with Saban, 70, when he was defensive backs coach at West Virginia from 1978-79.
“I do know where he comes from, how hard he’s worked to get it,” Bowden said.
When Saban first took over as coach at Alabama in 2007, he lost to Louisiana-Monroe, 21-14. When Bowden was coach at Auburn from 1993-98, he took on the Crimson Tide five times for a 3-2 record.
“I’ll always be the ex-Auburn coach but the biggest thing is that this game is not about me,” Bowden said.
Bowden said that the time he spent at Auburn provided him with a great deal of experience in playing against the SEC, but he has never coached a game in Tuscaloosa.
“It’s a great atmosphere as far as college atmosphere goes,” Bowden said. “Our players will be in for an atmosphere they’ll have to get through and past as well.”
The pair have shared a handful of overlapping relations in football, including Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher and Rick Trickett, among others. On recalling his relationship with the Alabama skipper, Bowden said that his father had more of a relationship with Saban than he does, including frequent trips to watch the Crimson Tide play.
“(Saban) was always gracious and very kind to him,” Bowden said.
Bowden said the trip to Tuscaloosa is another homecoming trip with roots in Alabama for him and some players. The Crimson Tide comes off a 20-19 win over Texas. The Warhawks opened the season with a 52-10 loss at Texas.
“We’re excited to play,” Bowden said. “And we’ll play our hearts out.”