TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A petition is circulating online to rename the roadway leading to Florida State's football stadium after the man whose name is already associated with the stadium's field.
The Change.org petition calls for Stadium Drive in Tallahassee to be renamed Bobby Bowden Boulevard in honor of the legendary Florida State football coach, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month at the age of 91.
Florida State fan Michael Halbrook created the petition Monday. By Thursday morning, more than 1,200 people had signed it.
"It really just came to me Sunday afternoon," one day after a public memorial service brought former coaches, players and fans together to celebrate Bowden's life and legacy, Halbrook told WPTV.com.
Halbrook, whose son currently attends Florida State, said he started the petition because he wanted to find a way to honor the longtime coach, who led the Seminoles to two national championships and 12 Atlantic Coast Conference titles in 34 seasons at the school.
A statue of Bowden was erected outside Doak S. Campbell Stadium in 2004, the same year that the playing field was named in his honor.
Although there have been recent attempts to rename the stadium after Bowden, Halbrook said he didn't ever see that happening, so he thought the road leading to the stadium would be more realistic.
"The man needs a road named after him," he said.
Among the thousands who have signed the petition was one woman who suggested that Stadium Drive should instead be renamed Bobby Bowden Memorial Drive.
"It doesn't have to be Bobby Bowden Boulevard," Halbrook said. "Whatever we can compromise. Whatever we can get. .. Just as long as his name's on it and it leads to the stadium."
Halbrook, who lives in the panhandle city of Niceville, said he grew up in St. Augustine rooting for the Seminoles, but because he went on to serve in the military, Halbrook never got the chance to meet Bowden while he was alive.
"He was my white whale," Halbrook remarked, calling it one of his "biggest regrets in life."
But they did exchange letters on a few occasions, and Halbrook finally got the chance to see him in person when Bowden laid in repose last week at FSU's Coyle E. Moore Athletics Center.
Calls were placed to the Florida Department of Transportation's main and district offices seeking comment about the petition and the feasibility of such a request coming to fruition.