colleges The Best College Football Coaches of All Time  

27k votes 3.8k voters 91k views 83 items Follow Embed

List Rules Only college football coaches. No high school or NFL coaches, unless they coached in college at some point.

This list of the best college football coaches of all time is full of big names and legendary coaching empires. Ever wondered who was is the greatest college football coach of all time? Now is your opportunity to have a say in the matter. Granted, picking who this should be won't be easy, as you have to consider different eras of NCAA football along with a number of other factors, like bowl game wins, national titles, who was on their team, and who got the most bang for their buck out of their players. But it's on you to pick whatever criteria you want in determining who is the best college football coach ever. As long as they coached college play at some point, they can be listed here, but be sure to vote based on each coach's storied college career only.

There are some pretty big names on this list, titans of the coaching world. If you're an Alabama fan, you'll have a tough time picking between Bear Bryant and Nick Saban. The same goes for any Notre Dame fan and for USC supporters, who do you think is a better coach: John McKay or Pete Carroll? Who's the best of these famous college football coaches?

It shouldn't be easy for you to decide who the greatest college football coaches are. There are simply too many all time greats. Just remember though, where would each coaches' team be without them steering the ship and keeping the players in line? Not an easy question to answer.

So who is the best college football coach of all time? It's up to you to decide. If you notice someone isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add him. This is the crowdranked list of what coach deserves to called the greatest ever, so choose wisely!

1
+ - 1,424 683
Bear Bryant 
                    is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bear Bryant Died at 70 (1913-1983) - Paul William "Bear" Bryant was an American college football player and coach. He was best known as the longtime head coach of the University of Alabama football team. During his 25-year ...more

The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time The Dirtiest NFL Players of All Time

2
+ - 847 617
Tom Osborne 
                    is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Osborne age 80 - Thomas William "Tom" Osborne is a former American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and politician from Nebraska. He served as the head football coach at the ...more

3
+ - 1,112 870
Nick Saban 
                    is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Nick Saban age 66 - Nicholas Lou "Nick" Saban, Jr. is an American college football coach, and the current head football coach of the University of Alabama, a position he has held since the 2007 season. Saban ...more

4
+ - 675 538
Knute Rockne 
                    is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Knute Rockne Died at 43 (1888-1931) - Knute Kenneth Rockne was a Norwegian-American football player and coach, both at the University of Notre Dame. He is regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college football history. His biography ...more

5
+ - 661 609
Bobby Bowden 
                    is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bobby Bowden age 88 - Robert Cleckler "Bobby" Bowden is a retired American football coach. He coached the Florida State Seminoles football team from the 1976 to 2009 seasons. During his time at Florida State, ...more

6
+ - 834 871
Joe Paterno 
                    is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Joe Paterno Died at 86 (1926-2012) - Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno, sometimes referred to as "JoePa", was an American college football player and coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 ...more

7
+ - 612 510
Woody Hayes 
                    is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Woody Hayes Died at 74 (1913-1987) - Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Denison University, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and Ohio State University, ...more

8
+ - 562 492
Bo Schembechler 
                    is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bo Schembechler Died at 77 (1929-2006) - Glenn Edward "Bo" Schembechler, Jr. was an American football player, coach, and athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Miami University from 1963 to 1968 and at the ...more

9
+ - 651 521
Urban Meyer 
                    is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Urban Meyer age 53 - Urban Frank Meyer, III is an American college football coach and former player, currently the head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Meyer served as the head coach of the Bowling Green ...more

10
+ - 447 418
Barry Switzer 
                    is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Barry Switzer age 80 - Barry Layne Switzer He spent sixteen years as head coach of the University of Oklahoma and four years as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He has one of the highest winning percentages of any college ...more

11
+ - 358 273
Bud Wilkinson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bud Wilkinson Died at 78 (1916-1994) - Charles Burnham "Bud" Wilkinson was an American football player, coach, broadcaster, and politician. He served as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1947 to 1963, ...more

12
+ - 313 222
Pop Warner 
                    is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pop Warner

13
+ - 463 397
Steve Spurrier 
                    is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Steve Spurrier age 72 - Stephen Orr "Steve" Spurrier is an American college football coach and former player. Spurrier is the current head football coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. He is also a ...more

14
+ - 464 439
Lou Holtz 
                    is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Lou Holtz age 80 - Louis Leo "Lou" Holtz is a former college football analyst for ESPN as well as a former football coach. He served as the head football coach at The College of William & Mary, North ...more

15
+ - 347 312
Jimmy Johnson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jimmy Johnson age 74 - James William "Jimmy" Johnson is an American football broadcaster and former player, coach, and executive. He served as the head football coach at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater from ...more

The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time The Weirdest Sports from Around the World

16
+ - 248 134
Bill Snyder 
                    is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bill Snyder age 78 - Bill Snyder is an American football coach and former player. He currently serves as the head football coach at Kansas State University. He served as head football coach at the school from 1989 to ...more

17
+ - 287 300
Eddie Robinson 
                    is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Eddie Robinson Died at 88 (1919-2007) - Edward Gay Robinson was an American football coach. He is the second winningest coach in NCAA Division I history and third winningest coach overall. For 57 years from 1941 to 1997, he was the head ...more

18
+ - 315 274
Gene Stallings 
                    is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Gene Stallings age 82 - Eugene Clifton Stallings, Jr. is a retired American football player and coach. He played college football at Texas A&M University, where he was one of the "Junction Boys", and later ...more

19
+ - 304 328
Ara Parseghian 
                    is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Ara Parseghian age 94 - Ara Raoul Parseghian is a former American football player and coach who guided the University of Notre Dame to national championships in 1966 and 1973. He is noted for bringing Notre Dame's football ...more

20
+ - 268 214
John Heisman 
                    is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
John Heisman Died at 67 (1869-1936) - John William Heisman was an American player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. He served as the head football coach at Oberlin College, Buchtel College—now known as the University of ...more

21
+ - 240 255
Frank Leahy 
                    is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Frank Leahy Died at 65 (1908-1973) - Francis William Leahy was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professional sports executive. He served as the head football coach at Boston College from 1939 to ...more

22
+ - 299 368
Bob Devaney 
                    is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bob Devaney Died at 82 (1915-1997) - Robert S. "Bob" Devaney was a college football coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Wyoming from 1957 to 1961 and at the University of Nebraska from 1962 to 1972, ...more

23
+ - 225 268
Amos Alonzo Stagg 
                    is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Amos Alonzo Stagg Died at 103 (1862-1965) - Amos Alonzo Stagg was an American athlete and pioneering college coach in multiple sports, primarily American football. He served as the head football coach at the International Young Men's Christian ...more

24
+ - 221 195
Robert Neyland 
                    is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Robert Neyland Died at 70 (1892-1962) - Robert Reese Neyland, MBE, was an American football player and coach and officer in the United States Army, reaching the rank of brigadier general. He served three stints as the head football coach at ...more

25
+ - 226 206
Fielding H. Yost 
                    is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Fielding H. Yost Died at 75 (1871-1946) - Fielding Harris Yost was an American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Ohio Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, ...more

26
+ - 221 243
Darrell Royal 
                    is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Darrell Royal Died at 88 (1924-2012) - Darrell K Royal was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Mississippi State University, the University of Washington, and the University of Texas at Austin, compiling a ...more

27
+ - 229 274
John McKay 
                    is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
John McKay Died at 78 (1923-2001) - John Harvey McKay was an American football coach. He was the head coach at the University of Southern California from 1960 to 1975 and of the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 ...more

28
+ - 226 244
Frank Beamer 
                    is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Frank Beamer age 71 - Frank Beamer is an American college football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Virginia Tech, a position he has held since 1987. From 1981 to 1986, Beamer served as ...more

29
+ - 134 122
Vince Dooley 
                    is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Vince Dooley age 85 - Vincent Joseph Dooley was the head football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia. During his 25 year coaching career at UGA, Dooley compiled a 201–77–10 record. His teams won six ...more

The Smartest Celebrities The Biggest Turn Ons in a Person

30
+ - 281 374
Pete Carroll 
                    is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pete Carroll age 66 - Peter Clay "Pete" Carroll is the head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He is a former head coach of the New York Jets, the New ...more

31
+ - 164 184
LaVell Edwards 
                    is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
LaVell Edwards age 87 - Reuben LaVell Edwards is a former American football coach of Brigham Young University. With 257 career victories, he ranks as one of the most successful college football coaches of all time. Among his ...more

32
+ - 147 185
Wallace Wade 
                    is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Wallace Wade Died at 94 (1892-1986) - William Wallace Wade was an American football player and coach of football, basketball and baseball. He served as the head football coach at the University of Alabama from 1923 to 1930 and at Duke ...more

33
+ - 270 344
Bob Stoops 
                    is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bob Stoops age 57 - Robert Anthony "Bob" Stoops is the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners football team of the University of Oklahoma. During the 2000 season, Stoops led the Sooners to an Orange Bowl victory ...more

34
+ - 39 32
Howard Schnellenberger 
                    is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Howard Schnellenberger age 83 - Howard Schnellenberger is a retired American football coach with long service at both the professional and college levels. He was most recently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, having announced his ...more

35
+ - 208 323
Jim Tressel 
                    is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jim Tressel age 65 - James Patrick "Jim" Tressel is an American college administrator and former college football coach who served as head coach of the Youngstown State Penguins from 1986 to 2000 and the Ohio ...more

36
+ - 88 112
Don James 
                    is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Don James Died at 81 (1932-2013) - Donald Earl "Don" James was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Kent State University from 1971 to 1974 and at the University of Washington from 1975 to ...more

37
+ - 107 112
Les Miles 
                    is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Les Miles age 64 - Leslie Edwin "Les" Miles is an American college football coach and the current head coach of the LSU Tigers football team. He is nicknamed "The Hat" for his signature white cap, as ...more

38
+ - 121 169
Frank Thomas 
                    is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Frank Thomas Died at 56 (1898-1954) - Frank W. Thomas was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Chattanooga from 1925 to 1928 and at the University of Alabama from 1931 to 1946, ...more

39
+ - 159 296
Mack Brown 
                    is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Mack Brown age 66 - William Mack Brown is a former American college football coach. He was most recently head football coach of the Texas Longhorns football team of the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to his head ...more

40
+ - 131 189
Dan Devine 
                    is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dan Devine Died at 78 (1924-2002) - Daniel John Devine was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach football coach at Arizona State University from 1955 to 1957, the University of Missouri from 1958 to 1970, ...more

41
+ - 181 323
Chip Kelly 
                    is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Chip Kelly age 54 - Charles "Chip" Kelly is an American football coach. He is the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, a position he has held since 2013. Kelly served as the ...more

42
+ - 27 32
Frank Broyles 
                    is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Frank Broyles age 93 - John Franklin Broyles is a former American football player and coach, athletics administrator, and broadcaster. He served as the head football coach at the University of Missouri in 1957 and at the ...more

43
+ - 92 181
Glenn Scobey Warner 
                    is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Glenn Scobey Warner Died at 83 (1871-1954) - Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner, most commonly known as Pop Warner, was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Georgia, Cornell University, the ...more

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball The Best Steakhouses in Los Angeles

44
+ - 57 95
Fritz Crisler 
                    is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Fritz Crisler Died at 83 (1899-1982) - Herbert Orin "Fritz" Crisler was an American college football coach who is best known as "the father of two-platoon football," an innovation in which separate units of players were ...more

45
+ - 20 27
Pat Dye 
                    is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pat Dye age 78 - Patrick Fain Dye is a former American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at East Carolina University, the University of Wyoming, and ...more

46
+ - 114 195
Chris Petersen 
                    is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Chris Petersen age 53 - Christopher Scott "Chris" Petersen is a college football coach, currently the head coach at the University of Washington, hired on December 6, 2013. Previously the head coach for eight ...more

47
+ - 29 61
Danny Ford 
                    is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Danny Ford age 70 - Danny Lee Ford is a former American football player and coach. He played college football at the University of Alabama from 1967 to 1969. He served as the head football coach at Clemson University in ...more

48
+ - 48 79
Lloyd Carr 
                    is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Lloyd Carr age 72 - Lloyd Henry Carr, Jr. is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Michigan from 1995 through the 2007 season. Under Carr, the Michigan ...more

49
+ - 16 41
Butch Jones 
                    is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Butch Jones age 49 - Lyle Allen "Butch" Jones, Jr. is the current head football coach of the University of Tennessee. He previously coached at Cincinnati from 2010 to 2012 and Central Michigan University from ...more

50
+ - 23 15
Hayden Fry 
                    is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Hayden Fry age 88 - John Hayden Fry is a former American football player and coach. He played college football for Baylor University. He served as the head coach at Southern Methodist University, North Texas State ...more