Coach Bowden on why he decided to return:
"I looked in the mirror at 50 and I said gosh, I've given this all I've got and I'm still not fulfilled. Nothing fulfilled me like working with the guys, coaching guys and being in the locker room. That was what I enjoyed so much and what I began to miss."
On why he decided to make the move to Division II when he was so close to landing a Division I job in West Virginia in 2007:
"When I first decided to get back into coaching, West Virginia was the first job to come up and they were the first to call me. I went to grade school, high school and college in Morgantown, so that was my home. That was where I grew up."
"When I made the decision last year to go into coaching, that was the first year I decided to do interviews. [West Virginia] came open first and they called immediately. But they didn't make a decision for a month and I got tied up in that thing and didn'92t get in the mix for any other jobs. So I had to start over looking for jobs. And why UNA? Because they were the first one to call.
"I mean, I've been out 10 years. I don't think I can name one coach in Division I history that's ever been out 10 years and been rehired in Division I. Now my alma mater was close, but I grew up with those people, they knew me."
On why whether or not he considered returning to coaching as an assistant after his long layoff, rather than a head coach:
"A lot of people are thinking I should go back and be an assistant for a couple of years. But the more I thought about it, I'm a head coach, that's what I've always been. I didn't go up through the SEC assistant coaches rank. My core competency is being a head coach. I spent a bunch of years coaching small college ball. I know that. I know partial scholarships. I know small college recruiting in Alabama. I was at Samford when we went from Division III to I-AA.
"It became the perfect opportunity for me to be a head coach. I don't know if there's ever been a coach that's been out for 10 years and rehired in Division I, at least at a major school. I mean, would it have been worth it to go to a Wyoming over an Alabama school? That's a tough call. Should I go to an Idaho over a North Alabama, because it's Division I? I don't know, but I know that UNA called and showed a strong interest. That's important, I think that's probably why."
On whether or not coaching is like riding a bike, once you learn, you know it for life:
"I've broadcast for 10 years, and I've covered games and analyzed games for 10 years. If I had left coaching and gone into car sales or insurance sales, or if I had practiced law, I don't think I would have any clue what's going on. But I never got out of coaching. I just left the sidelines and went to the booth. I went from being a spokesperson for one team, to being a spokesperson for all the teams. I went from breaking down nine or 11 opponents for one team to breaking down two or three opponents every week and interviewing coordinators, so I never really left the football part.
"I think you can forget what you were doing, but I was in a very unique position. I never got out to the point where I was getting away from it. I actually was studying it more."
On his preparations to return to the game:
"Once I decided to go back in, right before the West Virginia job came open, I spent a month at Florida State and went to every meeting and every practice. It came out that I was supposedly helping them, but I wasn't. I was just taking notes and studying. I went for Clemson for two weeks, and did nothing but sit in every meeting and go to every practice. I mean, they were my family, but I wanted to get back into the routine, to see if the terminology had changed, to see anything that might have been different from my routine.
So I spent about a year and a half or two years getting ready, because when I decided to go back into coaching I wanted to make sure that I didn't come back and make a fool out of myself. I've been fairly successful everywhere I've been, so the last thing I want to do is go somewhere and not know how to coach. I have a lot of pride, I don't want to go back and do something when I'm not very good at it. And I've been very good at being a head coach, whether it be in Division III, II, I-AA or I."
On his deliberations with former NFL coach Dick Vermeil:
"I went and spent eight hours with Dick Vermeil. At a young age he got kind of burned out, and he went into broadcasting college football for 14 years before he came back and won a Super Bowl in three years. So I talked to him a long time, and told me that I was probably a better coach now than then. It's almost like a sabbatical, when the school president goes back into the classroom and teaches and lectures. Or the great lawyer goes back to Harvard and teaches for 10 years and he comes back and is a great trial lawyer after that. So what I did after I left prepared me even more in my mind."
On the risk UNA took in hiring him:
"I think the people at UNA who know me and know about me thought I would be a good fit. I'm sure with every athletics director there's this cost benefit analysis going on. Is the benefit of hiring a coach that's been a national coach of the year equal to the cost of hiring somebody who's been out of coaching for 10 years? For a lot of programs, the scare factor was more than the benefit.
"And a lot of these ADs are wondering: 'Man, what's Terry doing? Is he doing this for the money, I mean what's he doing?' And the truth is, like a lot of people who leave Wall Street for Main Street, I want to go do what I enjoy doing. You can call it the 50-year-old crisis or whatever, but I looked in the mirror at 50 years old and said, do I want to be broadcasting in TV or radio? I spoke 75 times last year around the country. I spoke to companies here and around the world, and I made a lot of money doing that. But I was on a plane four days a week and I just starting thinking: 'What is it I want to do with my life?', when I started to say I wanted to get back into coaching football. I can make a lot of money doing other things, but I want to go coach football. So that made the decision a little bit easier when it came to going to UNA as opposed to a Division I school. Going back to do what I love to do, what I was missing so much, didn't; require a conference or a level. It required a place that needed me and needed my skills.
On competing with his father Bobby:
"My dad is the winningest coach in the country, or one of them. I mean, I'm not going to be the winningest coach in my whole family! I can't go anywhere in football that hasn't been gone to in my own family. But after Auburn, when ABC called and wanted me to do national TV, there was a little bit of: 'You know, I want to go do something my old man hasn't done, he's never done live television on Broadway up on a Jumbotron in Times Square.' So for five years I go to New York and I'm on live TV and I'm on the Jumbotron at Times Square and I'm a spokesperson for college football.'"
On whether or not he feels the pressure to succeed in year one at UNA:
"Now, I'm not intimidated by pressure. That's one good thing about coaching at Auburn and lining up against Gene Stallings who was coming off a national championship at Legion Field, the pressure's not going to scare you, you know? But I've said this at my press conference, I've never had as big a professional challenge as this one right now.
I mean, Auburn had had two five win seasons [prior to his arrival], and when I won 11 in my first year, I was actually just trying to win six. That's all, I just wanted six.
At Samford they were starting a whole new program. So [at UNA], they're not messed up, they just need to go a little further.
Now I will say this, they lost a bunch of seniors. They lost 14 seniors on offense and six on defense. They lost a three-year starter and All-American at quarterback. But I believe we can win a national championship, they want to, they believe they can. I came here because I've never won a national championship and I want to be a part of that. But those seniors had been through four years of playoffs and built this team up, so whether we can get to that championship the first year, that's a great challenge. We may not win 13 in the first year. We may need to get a quarterback, get him built up. We lost five receivers, the top three runningbacks, so we lost a lot of people."
On whether or not he sees UNA as a stepping-stone to a bigger opportunity:
"I don't. Mark Hudspeth left because he had the opportunity to be an assistant coach in the SEC, and he had never had that opportunity as a coach. Most coaches do that, because they come here, they win, and then someone offers them a lot more money. I don't have to go prove myself at I-AA. I've done that. I don't have to go prove myself in Division I. My goal is to come here and build this program and take it as far as it can go."