not sure if you guys saw this.
Muse: Bowden 'panicked' after Lowder told him his job in jeopardy
The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- When Auburn's football fortunes took a turn for the
worse in 1998, trustee Bobby Lowder told coach Terry Bowden that he would not
be retained after the season, former university President William Muse said.
When Bowden resigned on the eve of a game that fall, he said he was
"Basically, Mr. Lowder told him he would not be around come the end of the
season, and coach Bowden basically, in my opinion, panicked when he was told
that and came and negotiated out of his contract," Muse said.
More Auburn football | Talkin' Tigers Forum
Muse said Lowder did not consult with him before speaking to Bowden, whose
team was off to a 1-5 start. Bowden said Thursday that Lowder actually did
not speak directly to him, but went through athletic director David Housel.
"That's how David and I worked," Bowden said Tuesday in a telephone interview
from his Orlando home. "We would meet and he would tell me what Lowder wanted
me to do. I felt like I could do everything I could do and it wouldn't be
enough (to save his job)."
Muse made his comments to faculty members March 15. A transcript of the
meeting was made public Tuesday by Auburn officials.
Muse said he was unable to reach Bowden until "the wee hours of the morning,"
then told him that Lowder didn't have the authority to fire him and "urged
him to stay until the end of the season."
Muse said that was "the most celebrated case" of Lowder taking such a direct
role in athletic decisions, but "there are many others."
Bowden often commented that "Mr. Lowder hired me" and that the coach had
"regular contact" with the powerful trustee, Muse said. Bowden said he spoke
with Lowder "weekly, if not daily" during his first two or three seasons, but
"never felt it was a situation that he would tell me something and that I
should do it."
Muse said Lowder did not hand-pick the coach. He said an eight-member search
committee, including Lowder, voted unanimously to offer Bowden the job in
"Let's just say I would not have been hired if Bobby Lowder had not wanted me
hired," said Bowden, now a television commentator with ABC. "There's no doubt
about it. Bobby Lowder controlled the committee that hired me at Auburn."
Both Lowder and Housel have denied Bowden's contention that he was told his
coaching fate was all but sealed. They also denied that Lowder was pulling
the strings on that decision.
Bowden "always believed ... that the only way he got that job was because of
Lowder's influence," Muse said. "So he believed very strongly that he had to
maintain that relationship."
Muse said that relationship began to sour when Bowden fired longtime
defensive coordinator Wayne Hall.
Muse also said he is not sure what Lowder's relationship is with Bowden's
successor, Tommy Tuberville, but that he believes basketball coach Cliff
Ellis has "very, very frequent contact" with the Montgomery banker.
Lowder was out of town and did not immediately return a call for comment.
Earlier Tuesday he said in a statement issued by Auburn that the trustees'
athletic panel he chairs will continue to provide "support and input" to the
president and athletic director and that it's time to focus on positive
accomplishments and "stop bickering."