Sports
7.6k voters

The Best College Football Coaches of All Time

Updated December 3, 2020 55.5k votes 7.6k voters 136.2k 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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  • Nick Saban1
    2,315
    1,405

    Nick Saban

    Age: 69
    Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. (; born October 31, 1951) is an American football coach who has been...  more
  • Bear Bryant2
    2,206
    1,528

    Bear Bryant

    Dec. at 70 (1913-1983)
    Paul William "Bear" Bryant (September 11, 1913 – January 26, 1983) was an American college...  more
  • Tom Osborne3
    1,608
    1,394
    Thomas William Osborne (born February 23, 1937) is a former American football player, coach,...  more
  • Knute Rockne4
    1,156
    997

    Knute Rockne

    Dec. at 43 (1888-1931)
    Knute Kenneth Rockne ( kə-NOOT; March 4, 1888 – March 31, 1931) was a Norwegian-American...  more
  • John Heisman5
    516
    413

    John Heisman

    Dec. at 67 (1869-1936)
    John William Heisman (October 23, 1869 – October 3, 1936) was a player and coach of American...  more
  • Dabo Swinney6
    379
    294
    William Christopher "Dabo" Swinney (born November 20, 1969) is an American college football...  more
  • Pop Warner7
    538
    497

    Pop Warner

  • Robert Neyland8
    449
    441

    Robert Neyland

    Dec. at 70 (1892-1962)
    Robert Reese Neyland ( NEE-lənd), MBE, (February 17, 1892 – March 28, 1962) was an American...  more
  • Urban Meyer9
    1,140
    1,167
    Urban Frank Meyer III (born July 10, 1964) is an American football coach who is the head coach...  more
  • Ara Parseghian10
    582
    558
    Ara Raoul Parseghian (; May 21, 1923 – August 2, 2017) was an American football player and...  more
  • Lou Holtz11
    845
    850

    Lou Holtz

    Age: 83
    Louis Leo Holtz (born January 6, 1937) is a former American football player, coach, and...  more
  • Bill Snyder12
    592
    577
    Bill Snyder (born October 7, 1939) is a retired college football coach and former player. He...  more
  • Johnny Majors13
    210
    175
    John Terrill Majors (born May 21, 1935) is a former American football player and coach. A...  more
  • Steve Spurrier14
    823
    767
    Stephen Orr Spurrier (born April 20, 1945) is a former American football player and coach...  more
  • Bob Stoops15
    582
    559

    Bob Stoops

    Age: 60
    Robert Anthony Stoops (born September 9, 1960) is an American football coach who serves as...  more
  • Bill Walsh16
    102
    64

    Bill Walsh

    Dec. at 76 (1931-2007)
    William Ernest Walsh (November 30, 1931 – July 30, 2007) was an American football coach. He...  more
  • Bud Wilkinson17
    719
    651

    Bud Wilkinson

    Dec. at 78 (1916-1994)
    Charles Burnham "Bud" Wilkinson (April 23, 1916 – February 9, 1994) was an American football...  more
  • Jimmy Johnson18
    686
    675
    James William Johnson (born July 16, 1943) is an American football broadcaster and former...  more
  • Vince Lombardi19
    274
    96

    Vince Lombardi

    Dec. at 57 (1913-1970)
    Vincent Thomas Lombardi (June 11, 1913 – September 3, 1970) was an American football player,...  more
  • Bo Schembechler20
    874
    867

    Bo Schembechler

    Dec. at 77 (1929-2006)
    Glenn Edward "Bo" Schembechler Jr. ( SHEM-bek-lər; April 1, 1929 – November 17, 2006) was an...  more
  • Woody Hayes21
    1,030
    1,025

    Woody Hayes

    Dec. at 74 (1913-1987)
    Wayne Woodrow Hayes (February 14, 1913 – March 12, 1987) was an American football player and...  more
  • Frank Beamer22
    441
    434
    Franklin Mitchell Beamer (born October 18, 1946) is a retired American college football coach,...  more
  • Joe Paterno23
    1,391
    1,412

    Joe Paterno

    Dec. at 86 (1926-2012)
    Joseph Vincent Paterno (; December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012), sometimes referred to as...  more
  • Hayden Fry24
    189
    168

    Hayden Fry

    Age: 91
    John Hayden Fry (born February 28, 1929) is a former American football player and coach. He...  more
  • Bobby Bowden25
    1,047
    1,089
    Robert Cleckler Bowden (born November 8, 1929) is a retired American football coach. Bowden is...  more