Rotary Club hears from Bill Durham about founding of FSU’s Osceola and Renegade tradition

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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Members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club met for their weekly meeting at the Kirbo Center on Tuesday. The guest speaker of the day was Bill Durham, a Bainbridge native, Tallahassee businessman and FSU alumnus, and one of the men responsible for the creation of Florida State University’s tradition of Osceola and Renegade opening each home game.

Durham told the Rotary Club the story of how he created the tradition, beginning with his fascination with the history of Native Americans, particularly around the Southeast. “I’ve always been a quasi-student of Native Americans,” he said. “Decatur County, the state of Georgia, the Southeast, has so much beautiful, beautiful history of Native Americans.And I also had a love for horses.”

He spoke of how the idea for Osceola and Renegade were initially rejected when proposed for college powwows, and how he was able to finally make it a reality with the help of head football coach Bobby Bowden and wife Ann Bowden.

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“I couldn’t get anybody to allow me to do the Osceola-Renegade thing at the homecoming powwow… nobody was for it, the university didn’t want anything to do with it, so the idea died,” Durham explained. He continued, “But when Coach Bowden came back, I was sitting over at his house one evening… he said, “Bill we need to do something to start a tradition here.’”

Durham also elaborated on how the NCAA took issue with the tradition, and that the Seminole Nation of Florida has stood with FSU regarding Osceola and Renegade.

Durham concluded by taking questions from the audience.