Bobby Bowden, Dylan Gibbons, Ron Simmons awarded the Hula Bowl
Three Florida State representatives were honored at the Hula Bowl on Thursday night as legendary head coach Bobby Bowden and nose guard Ron Simmons were inducted into the Hula Bowl Hall of Fame and offensive lineman Dylan Gibbons was honored with the organization’s Joe Roth Award.
The Hula Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 2019 to recognize the greatest collegiate players and coaches who participated in the Hula Bowl All-Star Game. The Joe Roth Award was established in 2020 to honor Roth’s legacy and his passion for faith, humility and courage. Diagnosed with melanoma before his senior year, Roth sat out the entire 1976 season, including the Hula Bowl, battling the disease privately. He died in February 1977 a few weeks after playing in the Hula Bowl. His number 12 is the only number retired by the California football program.
Bowden, who in 2006 became the first sitting head coach inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, spent 34 years at the helm of the Florida State program, which he rebuilt in 1976. He compiled a 389-129-4 (.749) record during his Hall of Fame career and led Florida State to two national championships, including his first season as the No. 1 ranked player in 1999. Bowden finished his career as the second-most accomplished coach in major college football history. His Seminoles dominated bowl games, posting a 21-9-1 record while setting NCAA records with 10 straight games and 14 straight games without a loss. He was the first coach in college football history to win at least 10 games in 14 consecutive seasons and the only coach to lead his team to 14 consecutive top-five finishes in the final Associated Press poll. He coached the Hula Bowl in 1987, 1991 and 1997.
Simmons, a 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, ranks among the best quarterbacks in program history. He anchored the center of a defense that led FSU to a pair of Orange Bowl appearances, leading to the Seminoles’ then-highest ranking in the nation. A dominant nose guard, Simmons was Florida State’s first two-time consensus All-American. He set a post-Soviet career record with 25 sacks and 44 tackles for loss and finished ninth in the 1979 Heisman Trophy voting. He was the first Seminole quarterback to have his number retired when his number 50 was recognized by Florida State in 1988. He played in the 1981 Hula Bowl before embarking on his professional career that included four seasons of pro football and becoming a WWE legend.
Gibbons, who was selected as captain of the 2022 Allstate Good Works Team and won the Wuerffel Trophy and the Jim Tatum Award, started a nonprofit foundation to raise funds for those in need. His foundation works with college football’s collegiate ambassadors and connects with charities they are passionate about, including people with special medical needs, shopping with children in the community and disaster relief. His efforts resulted in nearly $500,000 being raised in support of meaningful causes throughout the college football community.
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Gibbons earned first-team All-ACC honors while blocking for one of the nation’s most explosive and efficient offenses. The St. Petersburg native, who was named the ACC Lineman of the Week following Florida State’s 45-3 win at Miami, helped pave the way for Florida State to rush for 200-plus yards in a school-record seven straight games. The Seminoles led the ACC in rushing yards and rushing yards per game, averaging 5.47 yards per carry, ranked eighth in the nation and gained 214.1 yards per game, the 14th-highest average indicator for the country. Florida State’s offense also ranked seventh in the nation with a 6.96 yards per game average, 10th with an average of 484.2 yards of total offense per game and 16th with a 36.1 points per game average. FSU was also first in the ACC and 10th in the nation in rushing average at 14.10 yards per carry, second in the ACC and 14th in the nation in passing efficiency and fourth in the nation in third down percentage.
This year’s Hula Bowl, featuring Gibbons and FSU quarterback Robert Cooper, will be held Saturday at noon. The game will be played at UCF’s FBC Mortgage Stadium and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
*Press release provided by Florida State Athletics
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