College Football The Best College Football Coaches of All Time  

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51.2k votes 6.3k voters 123.9k views 95 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

1
1,987 1,253
Bear Bryant is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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
2,046 1,320
Nick Saban is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 68 - 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
1,516 1,212
Tom Osborne is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 82 - 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
967 893
Knute Rockne is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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
935 1,062
Bobby Bowden is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 90 - 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
940 896
Woody Hayes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

7
1,274 1,419
Joe Paterno is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

8
588 515
Bud Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

9
1,032 977
Urban Meyer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 55 - 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
497 427
Pop Warner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Pop Warner

11
834 824
Bo Schembechler is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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
530 379
Bill Snyder is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
DerekBurton added age 80 - 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

13
686 729
Barry Switzer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 82 - 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

14
735 739
Lou Holtz is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 82 - 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
572 550
Jimmy Johnson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 76 - 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
699 698
Steve Spurrier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 74 - 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
384 331
Robert Neyland is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

18
483 524
Ara Parseghian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 96 - 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

19
606 708
Bob Devaney is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

20
361 403
Frank Leahy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

21
392 363
John Heisman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

22
413 481
Eddie Robinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

23
450 487
Gene Stallings is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
age 84 - 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

24
330 351
Fielding H. Yost is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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

25
334 374
Darrell Royal is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best College Football Coaches of All Time
Dec. 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