Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles fulfills pledge, graduates from college 37 years after first entering NFL
Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles was absent from the team's rookie minicamp Saturday, but he had as good a reason as he will ever have.
The longtime NFL coach traded his ball cap for a cap and gown, walking across the stage and receiving his degree as part of Mount St. Mary's spring commencement ceremony.
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In so doing, he fulfilled a promise to his mother when he entered the league that he would earn his degree.
"It was something I had promised my mother when I went to play in the NFL, and I wanted to follow through on that promise," he said last fall, per USA Today.
The Buccaneers' social team captured the moment:
Congrats on graduating, coach! 🎓— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) May 13, 2023
Todd Bowles made a promise to his mother when he entered the league that he would complete his degree, and today that promise was fulfilled. pic.twitter.com/o7aRjDAq4s
Todd Bowles college
Bowles was part of the 2023 graduating class at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the 59-year-old coach completed his coursework in September and earned a bachelor's degree in youth and community development.
With that, Bowles completed his post-secondary education, 37 years after going undrafted in 1986 out of Temple University. He finished his playing career in 1993, five years after being a part of Washington's victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl 22.
Two years after his playing career ended, Bowles was part of another Super Bowl victory when the Packers beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 31. He was a member of then-general manager Ron Wolf's player personnel staff during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
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Bowles began his coaching career in 1997 as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Morehouse College. He served the same role at Grambling State in 1998 and 1999 before making his jump back into the NFL as the secondary coach for the Jets. He has held a job in the league every year since 2000.
Bowles found the time to finish his coursework not only to fulfill his promise to his mother, but also to provide an example for his own children.
"Over the years, as I became a father, it became something I wanted to do in order to set a proper example for my sons as they continue on their educational paths," Bowles said, via the Times. "I have also worked pretty extensively with children through my various community projects, and I felt it was important to show them they can achieve whatever they set their mind to."