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7.9k voters

The Best College Football Coaches of All Time

Updated August 13, 2021 55.7k votes 7.9k voters 139.9k views133 items

List RulesOnly 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!
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    Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. (; born October 31, 1951) is an American football coach who has been the head football coach at the University of Alabama since 2007. Saban previously served as head coach of...  more
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    Dec. at 69 (1913-1983)
    Paul William "Bear" Bryant (September 11, 1913 – January 26, 1983) was an American college football player and coach. He was best known as the head coach of the University of Alabama football team....  more
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    Thomas William Osborne (born February 23, 1937) is a former American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and politician from Nebraska. He served as head football coach of the...  more
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    Dec. at 43 (1888-1931)
    Knute Kenneth Rockne ( kə-NOOT; March 4, 1888 – March 31, 1931) was a Norwegian-American football player and coach at the University of Notre Dame. Rockne is regarded as one of the greatest coaches...  more
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    Dec. at 66 (1869-1936)
    John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 – October 3, 1936) was a player and coach of American football, baseball, and basketball, as well as a sportswriter and actor. He served as the head football...  more
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    Age: 84
    Louis Leo Holtz (born January 6, 1937) is a former American football player, coach, and analyst. He served as the head football coach at The College of William & Mary (1969–1971), North Carolina...  more
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    Urban Frank Meyer III (born July 10, 1964) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). Meyer previously served as the head...  more
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    Ara Raoul Parseghian (; May 21, 1923 – August 2, 2017) was an American football player and coach who guided the University of Notre Dame to national championships in 1966 and 1973. He is noted for...  more
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    DerekBurton addedAge: 82
    Bill Snyder (born October 7, 1939) is a retired college football coach and former player. He served as the head football coach at Kansas State University from 1989 to 2005, and again from 2009 to...  more
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    William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney (born November 20, 1969) is an American college football coach. He is the head football coach at Clemson University. Swinney took over as head coach for the Clemson...  more
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    Dec. at 77 (1916-1994)
    Charles Burnham "Bud" Wilkinson (April 23, 1916 – February 9, 1994) was an American football player, coach, broadcaster, and politician. He served as the head football coach at the University of...  more
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    Stephen Orr Spurrier (born April 20, 1945) is a former American football player and coach often referred to by his nickname, the "Head Ball Coach". Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Florida and...  more
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    Tom Derr addedAge: 86
    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 of...  more
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    Dec. at 74 (1913-1987)
    Wayne Woodrow Hayes (February 14, 1913 – March 12, 1987) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Denison University (1946–1948), Miami University in Oxford, Ohio...  more
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    Saltine.RedNeck addedDec. at 57 (1913-1970)
    Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970) was an American football player, coach, and executive in the National Football League (NFL). He is best known as the head coach of the...  more
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    BenjaminLatting addedDec. at 75 (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 time...  more
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    Robert Cleckler Bowden (born November 8, 1929) is a retired American football coach. Bowden is best known for coaching the Florida State Seminoles football team from the 1976 to 2009 seasons. During...  more
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    Dec. at 85 (1926-2012)
    Joseph Vincent Paterno (; December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012), sometimes referred to as JoePa, was an American college football player, athletic director, and coach. He was the head coach of the...  more
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    Age: 61
    Robert Anthony Stoops (born September 9, 1960) is an American football coach who serves as head coach and general manager of the Dallas Renegades. He was the head football coach at the University of...  more
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    Tom Derr addedAge: 92
    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 Texas...  more
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    Franklin Mitchell Beamer (born October 18, 1946) is a retired American college football coach, most notably for the Virginia Tech Hokies, and former college football player. Beamer was a cornerback...  more
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    James William Johnson (born July 16, 1943) is an American football broadcaster and former player, coach, and executive. He served as the head football coach at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater...  more
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    Dec. at 77 (1929-2006)
    Glenn Edward "Bo" Schembechler Jr. ( SHEM-bek-lər; April 1, 1929 – November 17, 2006) was an American football player, coach, and athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at...  more
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    Dec. at 70 (1892-1962)
    Robert Reese Neyland ( NEE-lənd), MBE, (February 17, 1892 – March 28, 1962) was an American football player and coach and officer in the United States Army, reaching the rank of brigadier general. He...  more