It’s been a while since Terry Bowden has coached against a team from the Southeastern Conference. Nearly a decade and a half, actually. The Former Auburn Tigers head coach is set to make a return to the SEC. Sort of. Bowden will guide the Akron Zips into Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday for a non-conference matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers (2-1). Bowden is guiding Akron in his first season as head coach and barring a matchup in a bowl game, fans won’t have an opportunity to see him coach against another Southeastern Conference team this season.
Bowden last coached in the SEC in 1998. He resigned six games into the 1998 season but his tenure included many highlights for the storied Auburn football program. Despite the rough ending, Bowden finished with a 47-17-1 record at Auburn. Bowden’s extended stay at Auburn included an undefeated season, three top 10 finishes and five straight seasons of his team exiting the year being ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll.
In case you hadn’t heard, Bowden made a return to coaching following an 11-year hiatus. Following a three-year stint in NCAA Division III, Bowden re-emerged on the D-I level earlier in the year. Bowden, who had coached at Akron as an assistant under Gerry Faust in the 1980s, took over as North Alabama head coach in 2009. North Alabama netted wins on a Bowden-like basis from 2009-2011, compiling a 29-10.
Bowden has never defeated Tennessee. The Volunteers, then under the direction of head coach Phillip Fulmer, dealt Bowden’s Auburn Tigers a pair of losses in the 1990s.
Bowden’s current team is 1-2 following a blowout win over Morgan State and he faces the tough task of playing in front of over 100,000 fans ay
Tennessee rolled past Akron in its lone game against the Zips in 1989, winning 52-9.