college football The Best College Football Coaches of All Time  

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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

1
1,814 1,064
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 ...more

2
1,693 1,189
Nick Saban is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Nick Saban age 67 - 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. ...more

3
1,380 1,076
Tom Osborne is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Osborne age 81 - 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

4
884 790
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 ...more

5
836 927
Bobby Bowden is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bobby Bowden age 89 - 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 ...more

6
518 434
Bud Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 6 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 ...more

7
825 777
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
1,150 1,267
Joe Paterno is listed (or ranked) 8 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 ...more

9
890 807
Urban Meyer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Urban Meyer age 54 - 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
625 642
Barry Switzer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Barry Switzer age 81 - 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 ...more

11
736 730
Bo Schembechler is listed (or ranked) 11 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 ...more

12
424 365
Pop Warner is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pop Warner

13
630 663
Lou Holtz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Lou Holtz age 81 - 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

14
418 299
Bill Snyder is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
DerekBurton added Bill Snyder age 79 - 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 ...more

The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time

15
480 486
Jimmy Johnson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jimmy Johnson age 75 - 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 ...more

16
604 608
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Steve Spurrier age 73 - 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 ...more

17
422 479
Ara Parseghian is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Ara Parseghian age 95 - 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 ...more

18
563 661
Bob Devaney is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
327 280
Robert Neyland is listed (or ranked) 19 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 ...more

20
380 433
Eddie Robinson is listed (or ranked) 20 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 ...more

21
345 329
John Heisman is listed (or ranked) 21 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 ...more

The Best Heavyweight Boxers of All Time

22
404 428
Gene Stallings is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Gene Stallings age 83 - 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 ...more

23
316 366
Frank Leahy is listed (or ranked) 23 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 ...more

24
288 345
Darrell Royal is listed (or ranked) 24 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, ...more

25
281 382
Amos Alonzo Stagg is listed (or ranked) 25 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 ...more

26
280 321
Fielding H. Yost is listed (or ranked) 26 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 ...more

27
289 383
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 ...more

28
307 352
Frank Beamer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Frank Beamer age 72 - 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 ...more

The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time

29
371 460
Bob Stoops is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Bob Stoops age 58 - 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 ...more

30
363 538
Pete Carroll is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pete Carroll age 67 - 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 ...more

31
207 293
LaVell Edwards is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
LaVell Edwards age 88 - 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. ...more

32
92 61
Johnny Majors is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Johnny Majors age 83 - Johnny Majors 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 of the Southeastern ...more

33
141 212
Don James is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
hcalkins added 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 ...more

34
264 461
Jim Tressel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jim Tressel age 66 - 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 ...more

35
177 236
Vince Dooley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
MattWeisbecker added Vince Dooley age 86 - 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 ...more

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36
84 135
Howard Schnellenberger is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Matthew Plowman added Howard Schnellenberger age 84 - 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 ...more

37
175 293
Wallace Wade is listed (or ranked) 37 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 ...more

38
202 406
Mack Brown is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Mack Brown age 67 - 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 ...more

39
164 279
Dan Devine is listed (or ranked) 39 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 ...more

40
75 75
Hayden Fry is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Hayden Fry age 89 - 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

41
170 239
Les Miles is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
IssacClark added Les Miles age 65 - 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 ...more

42
144 260
Frank Thomas is listed (or ranked) 42 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 ...more

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43
74 112
Frank Broyles is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Jimmy Smith added Frank Broyles age 94 - 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 ...more

44
75 86
Barry Alvarez is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Barry Alvarez age 72 - Barry L. Alvarez 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 at Wisconsin for 16 ...more

45
70 101
Pat Dye is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Theodore Roosevelt added Pat Dye age 79 - 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, ...more

46
27 21
Mark Dantonio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Tom Derr added Mark Dantonio age 62 - Mark Justin Dantonio is an American football coach and former player. He is the current head football coach at Michigan State University, a position he has held since the 2007 season, presiding ...more

47
65 85
Dick Vermeil is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
slaft added Dick Vermeil age 82 - Richard Albert "Dick" Vermeil is a retired American head coach for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs. He is in the Sid Gillman ...more

48
116 262
Glenn Scobey Warner is listed (or ranked) 48 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, ...more

49
213 457
Chip Kelly is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Chip Kelly age 55 - 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 ...more

50
40 11
Vince Lombardi is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Saltine.RedNeck added Vince Lombardi Died at 57 (1913-1970) - Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi, was an American football player, coach, and executive. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the ...more