Sports

The Best College Football Coaches of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated June 15, 2020 62k votes 7.3k voters 133.1k views 119 items

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!
list ordered by
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26
Gene Stallings is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Age: 84
Eugene Clifton Stallings Jr. (born March 2, 1935) is a retired American football player and coach. He played college football at Texas A&M University (1954–1956), where he was one of the ...more
27
Fielding H. Yost is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 75 (1871-1946)
Fielding Harris Yost (; April 30, 1871 – August 20, 1946) was an American football player, coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at: Ohio Wesleyan ...more
28
Frank Leahy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 65 (1908-1973)
Francis William Leahy (August 27, 1908 – June 21, 1973) was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and professional sports executive. He served as the head football ...more
29
Johnny Majors is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Age: 84
John Terrill Majors (born May 21, 1935) is a former American football player and coach. A standout halfback at the University of Tennessee, he was an All-American in 1956 and a two-time winner ...more
30
Bob Devaney is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 82 (1915-1997)
Robert S. Devaney (April 13, 1915 – May 9, 1997) 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 ...more
31
Hayden Fry is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Age: 90
John Hayden Fry (born February 28, 1929) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU) from 1962 to 1972, North ...more
32
Vince Dooley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
MattWeisbecker added Age: 87
Vincent Joseph Dooley (born September 4, 1932) was the head football coach (seasons 1964 through 1988) and athletic director (1979 to 2004) at the University of Georgia. During his 25-year ...more
33
John McKay is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1923-2001)
John Harvey McKay (July 5, 1923 – June 10, 2001) was an American football coach. He was the head football coach at the University of Southern California (USC) from 1960 to 1975 and head coach of ...more
34
Pete Carroll is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Age: 68
Peter Clay Carroll (born September 15, 1951) is an American football coach who is the head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He is ...more
35
Mike Leach is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Elikane37 added Age: 58
Michael Charles Leach (born March 9, 1961) is an American college football coach, the head coach at Washington State University in Pullman since 2012. Previously, he was the head coach Texas ...more
36
Barry Alvarez is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Age: 73
Barry Lee Alvarez (born December 30, 1946) is a former American football coach who is currently the athletic director at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He served as the head football coach ...more
37
Amos Alonzo Stagg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 103 (1862-1965)
Amos Alonzo Stagg (August 16, 1862 – March 17, 1965) was an American athlete and college coach in multiple sports, primarily American football. He served as the head football coach at the ...more
38
Bill Walsh is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
BenjaminLatting added Dec. at 76 (1931-2007)
William Ernest Walsh (November 30, 1931 – July 30, 2007) was an American football coach. He served as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the Stanford Cardinal football team, during which ...more
39
Les Miles is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
IssacClark added Age: 66
Leslie Edwin Miles (born November 10, 1953) is an American football coach who is the head football coach at the University of Kansas. His head coaching career began with the Oklahoma State ...more
40
Mark Dantonio is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Age: 63
Mark Justin Dantonio (born March 9, 1956) is an American football coach and former player. He is the current head football coach at Michigan State University and he has held the position since ...more
41
Gary Patterson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Age: 59
Gary Allen Patterson (born February 13, 1960) is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at Texas Christian University and the winningest coach in Horned ...more
42
Frank Broyles is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jimmy Smith added Age: 95
John Franklin Broyles (December 26, 1924 – August 14, 2017) was an American football player and coach, athletics administrator, and broadcaster. He served as the head football coach at the ...more
43
LaVell Edwards is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Age: 89
Reuben LaVell Edwards (October 11, 1930 – December 29, 2016) was an American football head coach for Brigham Young University (BYU). With 257 career victories, he ranks as one of the most ...more
44
Dick Vermeil is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
slaft added Dick Vermeil Age: 83
Richard Albert Vermeil (; born October 30, 1936) is an American former football head coach for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles (1976–1982), St. Louis Rams (1997–1999) and ...more
45
Phillip Fulmer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Age: 69
Phillip Edward Fulmer Sr. (born September 1, 1950) is a former American football player, coach, and current athletic director at the University of Tennessee. He served as head coach of the ...more
46
Pat Dye is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Theodore Roosevelt added Age: 80
Patrick Fain Dye (born November 6, 1939) is a former American football player, coach, and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at East Carolina University ...more
47
Howard Schnellenberger ... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Matthew Plowman added Age: 85
Howard Leslie Schnellenberger (born March 16, 1934) is a retired American football coach with long service at both the professional and college levels. He held head coaching positions with the ...more
48
Duffy Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Dec. at 72 (1915-1987)
Hugh Duffy Daugherty (September 8, 1915 – September 25, 1987) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Michigan State University from 1954 to 1972, compiling a ...more
49
Bobby Dodd is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
fandrewski added Dec. at 80 (1908-1988)
Robert Lee Dodd (November 11, 1908 – June 21, 1988) was an American college football coach at Georgia Tech. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and coach, one of four ...more
50
Dan Devine is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1924-2002)
Daniel John Devine (December 22, 1924 – May 9, 2002) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Arizona State University from 1955 to 1957, the University ...more