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Best College Football Coaches of All Time

by Stephen Cleary 4 years ago in football
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From Nick Saban to Knute Rockne, these are the best college football coaches of all time, and what has attested to their great successes.

Within college football history, which head coaches have left their mark on the game? These are the top ten best coaches in the history of college football, from "Bear" Bryant to Fielding Yost.

These men have proved their talents in conducting a group of athletes into a team, and into incredible ones. From bringing home victory after victory, to being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, these coaches have proved their place in the history of the ever-loved game.

Nick Saban

To begin our list of the best college football coaches of all time, Nick Saban is the head coach at the University of Alabama, and has been for over 10 years. Before coaching Alabama, he was previously the head coach of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins, as well as Michigan State University, University of Toledo, and Louisiana State University.

Regarded to be the greatest college coach of all time, Saban has a career record of 218-62-1. Throughout his career as a head coach for four colleges, he has led LSU to the BCS National Championship, Alabama to BCS and AP national championships for three years. Plus, he became the first coach to win a national championship with two separate Football Bowl Subdivision schools. He is in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Bear Bryant

Paul William Bryant, or "Bear" Bryant, is next on our list of the best college football coaches of all time. Most known for his time as the head coach of the University of Alabama, he coached the team for 25 years. Within those 25 years, he achieved six nations championships and 13 conference championships. Besides coaching for Alabama, he also was the head coach for the University of Kentucky, Texas A&M University, and the University of Maryland.

Holding the record for the most wins as a head college coach in 1982, he retired with the record of 323 wins under his belt. Not to mention, the Bryant–Denny Stadium, The Paul W. Bryant Museum, Paul W. Bryant Hall, and Paul W. Bryant Drive were all named after him, in his honor. Plus, his trademark black and white houndstooth hat will forever be remembered for his legacy, as well as his deep voice, and simply leaning against the goal post during warmups.

Fielding Yost

Born in the late 1800s, Fielding H. Yost was an American football coach and college athletics administrator, as well as a football player. His career as a head college football coach began with Ohio Wesleyan University in 1897 for two years.

He then went on to coach for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Kansas, Stanford University, San Jose State University, and the University of Michigan. During his time coaching the Michigan Wolverines, he brought the team to victory with six national championships, as well as ten Big Ten Conference titles. His total college football career record was 198-35-12.

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is a former football player and current college football coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Besides being the head coach for Ohio State, he has also previously coached the Bowling Green Falcons, the Utah Utes, and the Florida Gators. As one of the best college football coaches of all time, Meyer coached the Gators to two BCS National Championship Game wins during both the 2006 and 2008 seasons.

With an incredibly high winning percentage of .842, he had the highest among all active coaches in the 2009 season with a minimum of five full seasons at the FBS. He also coached the Ohio State Buckeyes to their first title of the Big Ten Conference as well as eight national championships. Plus, he is one of three coaches to hold the record of winning a major college football national championship with two universities.

Pop Warner

Glen Scobey Warner, or "Pop" Warner, was an American football coach at multiple colleges during his career during the early-1900s. Most known for advancing the game of football by inventing several key aspects of the game, three of the most popular innovations are the single and double wing formations, the body blocking technique, and the three-point stance.

Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, Warmer created a premier football program called the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Plus, he coached Pittsburg and Stanford to national championships, Pittsburg three times, and Stanford once. His college football record was 319-106-31, coaching the University of Georgia, Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, Cornell and Model Farm University, Carlisle University, Temple University, and Cornell University.

Bobby Bowden

Most known for his time head coaching the Florida State Seminoles football team, Robert Cleckler Bowden coached the team from 1976 to 2009. As one of the best college football coaches of all time, Bowden led FSU to an Associated Press and Coaches Poll National Title in 1993.

He also coached them to a BCS National Championship in 1999 and twelve Atlantic Coach Conference championships since 1991. Though amongst controversy, his final career record still came to a 377-129-4.

Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes was both a football player and coach, serving as the head coach for Denison University, Ohio State University, and Miami University. As a head coach at Ohio State, he coached his team to win five national championships, being in 1970, 1968, 1961, 1957, and 1954.

An intense rivalry between the Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines brewed during his last decade of coaching at Ohio State. From this, the phrase "The Ten Year War" was dubbed. With a career record of 238-72-10, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier is next on our list of the best college football coaches of all time. Spurrier was previously a Heisman trophy winning quarterback well before he became the famous college coach he was known to be. Becoming the head coach of three colleges and two professional teams, he is now the ambassador of the University of Florida's athletic department.

Inducted into the College Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, he is one of only four people who have been elected as such. Nicknamed the "Head Ball Coach," his career as a coach included coaching for Georgia Tech, Duke, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington Redskins, and South Carolina.

Howard Jones

Howard Jones is a former football player and coach, having coached for Syracuse University, Yale University, Ohio State University, the University of Iowa, Duke University, and the University of Southern California. Before his coaching career, he played at Yale, and on three national title-winning teams.

Bringing the Yale 1909 team and four of his USC teams to national championship victory, Jones has coached five Rose Bowls, and won each of them. With a career record of 194-64-21, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 as a member of the inaugural class.

Knute Rockne

To complete our list of the best college football coaches of all time, Knute Rockne was a player and coach at the University of Notre Dame. Regarded to be one of the greatest coaches in college football history, Rockne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In his biography, the hall of fame accounts him to be, “without question, American football's most-renowned coach.” During his time as head coach of Notre Dame, his 13 years with the team concluded in 105 victories, three national championships, and five undefeated seasons.


About the author

Stephen Cleary

Either playing soccer, working out, or at the movies.

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