Louisiana-Monroe is hiring Terry Bowden as its next football coach, the school announced Wednesday. Bowden, 64, is replacing Matt Viator, who was fired earlier this month after an 0-10 season. Bowden most recently served as a graduate assistant at Clemson under Dabo Swinney following a seven-year stint as Akron's head coach, but he is best known for his five and a half seasons as Auburn's coach.
"We're extremely excited to welcome Terry Bowden to our Warhawk family as head football coach," ULM athletic director Scott McDonald said in a release. "He brings a winning pedigree to our program. He has won at all levels of college football, beginning as the youngest head coach in the country in his first job at Salem College and continued that through his tenure at Samford and Auburn, where he consistently competed for SEC Championships. He followed with success at North Alabama and at Akron, where he led the Zips to their first bowl victory in school history."
Leading the Warhawks to success will be a challenge for Bowden, who has compiled a 175-114 record as a head coach during a career spanning jobs at both Division I and non-Division I schools. ULM has been to just one bowl game since becoming an FBS program in 1975 and lost its 10 games this season by an average margin of 25.7 points. The program has finished with a winning record just once since 1980.
"First of all, I want to thank President Dr. Ron Berry and Athletics Director Scott McDonald for giving me this opportunity to coach at ULM," Bowden said. "I got introduced to ULM back after the 2015 season when a contingent flew up to Akron and talked to me about the job. They did a great job of selling me on the potential of this program and the commitment they had to turning it around. Although the timing just wasn't quite right, I did remember feeling that with my success at places like this, and my desire to get back down South to a college town very much like Auburn and Clemson, that this was a perfect place for me to be. I felt then that I was the best guy they could find to build a winner at ULM and I still do."
Bowden is the son of legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and brother of former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. Another brother, Jeff Bowden, also spent decades in coaching. Terry Bowden, however, is the most well-traveled of the family in terms of head coaching gigs. His first head coaching job came at Salem University in 1983 before he moved on to Samford and 1987.
Terry's big break came in 1993 when he was hired to replace Pat Dye at Auburn. He led the Tigers to a 20-1-1 record over his first two seasons but resigned in 1998 after a 1-5 start. He then spent over a decade out of coaching, working often in broadcasting, before returning to the sidelines as coach at Division II North Alabama in 2009 and spending three seasons there. He was then hired at Akron, where he compiled a 35-52 record in seven seasons.