Three Florida State representatives were honored by the Hula Bowl Thursday night, as legendary coach Bobby Bowden and nose guard Ron Simmons were inducted into the Hula Bowl Hall of Fame and Dillan Gibbons was honored with the organization’s Joe Roth Award.
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The Hula Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 2019 to honor the greatest college players and coaches to have participated in the Hula Bowl All-Star Game. The Joe Roth Award was established in 2020 to honor Roth’s legacy and passion for faith, humility, and courage. Ruth was diagnosed with skin cancer prior to his junior year and played the entire 1976 season, including the Hula Bowl, while privately battling the disease. He passed away in February of 1977 just weeks after playing in the Hula Bowl. His number 12 is the only number retired from the Cal football program.
Bowden, who in 2006 became the first active head coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, spent 34 years at the helm of a revived Florida State program beginning in 1976. He compiled a 389-129-4 (.749) record during his career in the Hall of Fame and led Florida State to two national championships, including a first season with No. 1 in 1999. Bowden finished his career as the second best coach in major college football history. His bowl games were dominated by the Seminoles, posting a record of 21-9-1 while setting NCAA records with 10 straight bowl wins and 14 straight without a loss. He was the first coach in college football history to win at least 10 games in 14 consecutive seasons and the only coach to lead his team to 14 straight games in the top five in a recent Associated Press poll. He coached the Hula Bowl in 1987, 1991 and 1997.
Simmons, a 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, is among the greatest defensemen in program history. He installed the defense center that took FSU to a pair of Orange Bowl appearances, leading the Seminoles to the highest national rankings at the time. A dominant nose guard, Simmons was a two-time consensus All-American in Florida. He recorded 25 sacks and 44 tackles for loss and finished ninth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1979. He was the first Seminole defenseman to have his number retired when his 50th was recognized by Florida State in 1988. He played in the 1981 Hula Bowl before beginning his professional career That included four seasons of professional football and he became a WWE legend.
Gibbons, who was voted 2022 Allstate Good Works Team Captain and won a Wuerffel Trophy and a Jim Tatum Award, has set up a nonprofit to raise money for those in need. His foundation partners with college ambassadors across college football and reaches out to charitable causes they care about, including those with special medical needs, shopping with kids in the community, and repairing damage from natural disasters. His efforts have resulted in him raising nearly $500,000 to support meaningful causes throughout the college football community.
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Gibbons earned first-team All-ACC honors as his blocking for one of the most explosive and effective offenses in the country. The St. Petersburg native, who was named the ACC Offensive Team of the Week after Florida State’s 45-3 win in Miami, helped pave the way for Florida State to rush for more than 200 yards in a school-record seven straight games. . The Seminoles led the ACC in yards per rush and rushing yards per game, averaging 5.47 yards per carry ranked eighth in the country, and gained 214.1 yards per game, the 14th highest average nationally. Florida State’s offense also ranked seventh in the country with an average of 6.96 yards per game, 10th with an average of 484.2 yards of total offense per game and 16th with an average of 36.1 points per game. FSU also ranked first in the ACC and tenth in the country in average of 14.10 yards per completion and second in the ACC and 14th nationally in passing efficiency while posting the fourth best third down percentage in the country.
This year’s Hula Bowl, which has Gibbons and FSU defensive tackle Robert Cooper on the roster, takes place at noon on Saturday. The game will be played at UCF’s FBC Mortgage Stadium and will be shown on CBS Sports Network.
* Press release provided by Florida Athletics
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