CFP changes give schools like ULM “a chance,” new coach Bowden says

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METAIRIE – It wasn’t verbatim, Terry Bowden just about borrowed a line from Lloyd Christmas Friday evening.

Asked about the potential expansion of the College Football Playoff and its impact on Group of Five schools like his new employer, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Bowden gave a response not unlike when Jim Carrey’s character in “Dumb and Dumber” faced those one-in-a-million odds.

“Do you have a great chance? No,” Bowden said at the final stop of a regional alumni tour. “But you have a chance.”

Bowden’s odds are better than Carrey’s, and he will be telling recruits “there’s a chance,” perhaps as soon as Saturday at a camp at LSU.

The Warhawks reached out to Bowden, the son of longtime Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden, after an 0-10 season in 2020.

Terry Bowden, who turned 65 in February, won a pair of National Coach of the Year awards in 1993 after he led Auburn to a perfect season in his first season on the Plains, with the school in the midst of a postseason ban.

He’s also coached at Salem, Samford, North Alabama and Akron. Bowden takes a 175-114-2 record into his sixth head coaching job.

Bowden hired some familiar names to Tulane and New Orleans-area fans.

Rich Rodriguez, who was offensive coordinator at Tulane for Bowden’s brother Tommy in 1997-98, is Terry Bowden’s associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Ron West, who was also on Tommy Bowden’s staff at Tulane and had a stint as defensive coordinator at UL Lafayette, will coach defensive ends and special teams. And former Warren Easton coach Tony Hull is back in his home state, coaching the outside receivers.

ULM opens its season Sept. 4 at Kentucky, but two other non-conference games figure to be high on the radar – the home opener Sept. 18 against Jackson State, coached by Deion Sanders, who played for Bowden’s father at FSU, and a Nov. 20 trip to LSU.

“The greatest athlete my father coached at Florida State,” Terry Bowden said of Sanders. “We’ll have Bobby Bowden on our sideline. He and our mother are coming to our first game. I’ve got it planned that he and Deion will meet on the field.”

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Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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