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The Worst College Football Coaches of All Time

Updated September 21, 2019 12.3k votes 2.2k voters 34.3k views59 items

The worst college football coaches of all time are those select few men who were given the chance to coach a major NCAA Football team and failed miserably. These bad college football coaches may have seen some success at one point in their coaching careers but also gave the world some of the worst college football coaching performances in history.

Though it was not for anything he did on the field, an argument could be made that Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions, is perhaps the worst person to ever join the college football coaching ranks following his child sex abuse scandal that rocked the world of college football in 2012.

As far as on the field reasons, there are plenty of college football coaches who earned spots on this list for their poor performance. No one will forget how Rich Rodriguez brought college football's winningest program, the Michigan Wolverines, to its knees during his brief period as head coach from 2008 to 2010 or the disappointment that Charlie Weis brought to the acclaimed Notre Dame Fighting Irish during his five-year coaching experiment from 2005 to 2009.

Going even deeper into the record books, we can also include those who tallied the worst win-loss records as NCAA Football coaches ever. Rick Venturi is a great example of that when he won only one game over three seasons when he coached the Northwestern Wildcats in the late 1970s.

So for however you choose to select the worst college football coaches ever, be it the disappointment they brought to your program or the complete shame they brought to the sport by their off-field actions, there is no shortage of names that can be added to this list of worst college football coaches. Want more coaching fails? Check out the worst NFL coaches of all time too!
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  • 1
    673
    124

    BirthplaceWashington, Pennsylvania

    TeamsPenn State Nittany Lions football

    Gerald Arthur Sandusky (born January 26, 1944) is an American retired college football coach who was convicted of rape and child sexual abuse. Sandusky served as an assistant coach for his entire...  more
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    438
    158

    BirthplaceTrenton, New Jersey, United States of America

    Charles Joseph Weis (born March 30, 1956) is a former American football coach. He was the head coach for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 2005 to 2009 and the Kansas Jayhawks from 2012 to 2014. He...  more
  • 3
    buyclark addedAge: 53
    136
    41

    BirthplaceAthens, Georgia

    Teams ManagedTennessee Volunteers football

    TeamsVirginia Cavaliers football

    Derek Dooley (born June 10, 1968) is an American football coach and former player. He currently serves as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Missouri. In his first...  more
  • 4
    503
    283

    BirthplaceMinnesota

    Teams ManagedOakland Raiders, USC Trojans football

    Lane Monte Kiffin (born May 9, 1975) is an American football coach who is currently the head football coach at Florida Atlantic University. Kiffin formerly served as the offensive coordinator for the...  more
  • 5
    Age: 60
    193
    87

    BirthplaceRockford, Illinois

    TeamsOklahoma Sooners football

    John Patrick Blake (born March 6, 1961) is an American football coach and former player. He served as the head football coach at the University of Oklahoma from 1996 to 1998. Blake was also the...  more
  • 6
    _1443311062050 addedAge: 62
    199
    92

    BirthplaceDayton, Ohio

    Teams ManagedMichigan Wolverines football

    TeamsBall State Cardinals football

    Brady Patrick Hoke (born November 3, 1958) is an American football coach for San Diego State. He was the head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines from 2011 to 2014. He grew up in Ohio and...  more
  • 7
    256
    133

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Teams ManagedOakland Raiders

    William E. Callahan (born July 31, 1956) is an American football coach who is currently the assistant head coach and offensive line coach for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League...  more
  • 8
    224
    124

    BirthplaceIdaho Falls, Idaho

    Teams ManagedArkansas Razorbacks football

    John Lawrence Smith (born November 15, 1948) is an American college football coach. He was the head football coach at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, a position he held from 2016...  more
  • 9
    140
    64

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C.

    Michael Anthony Locksley (born December 25, 1969) is an American football coach. He is currently the head coach for the University of Maryland football team and former offensive coordinator for the...  more
  • 10
    Age: 56
    233
    136

    BirthplaceBaltimore, Maryland, United States of America

    Mike Shula (born June 3, 1965) is an American football coach who is currently the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He has...  more
  • 11
    buyclark addedAge: 53
    116
    47

    BirthplaceSaugatuck, Michigan

    Teams ManagedTennessee Volunteers football, Cincinnati Bearcats football

    Termed the phrases "Champions for Life" & "5-Star Hearts" to describe his football team.

    Lyle Allen "Butch" Jones Jr. (born January 17, 1968) is an American football coach. He is currently an offensive analyst for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football program. Jones served as...  more
  • 12
    Age: 52
    158
    84

    BirthplaceOmaha, Nebraska

    Ron Prince (born September 18, 1969) is an American football coach, currently serving as the football head coach for the Howard Bison. He was previously the assistant head coach and offensive line...  more
  • 13
    Age: 67
    201
    122

    BirthplaceAshland, Ohio

    TeamsMiami RedHawks football

    Ronald Andrew Zook (; born April 28, 1954) is an American football coach and former player who currently serves as a senior analyst for the University of Maryland. He was the head football coach at...  more
  • 14
    150
    88

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Gregory McIntosh Robinson (born October 9, 1951) is an American football coach and former player. Robinson served as the head football coach at Syracuse University from 2005 to 2008. He has served as...  more
  • 15
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    137
    81

    BirthplaceRome, Georgia

    Teams ManagedMiami Dolphins, LSU Tigers football, Auburn Tigers football, Florida Gators football, Valdosta State Blazers football

    TeamsGeorgia Bulldogs football team

    William Lawrence Muschamp (born August 3, 1971) is an American football coach and former player. He currently is the head coach at the University of South Carolina. He was the head coach at the...  more
  • 16
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    80

    BirthplaceBurlington, Vermont

    Paul Roger Hackett (born July 5, 1947) is a former American football coach. He served as head football coach of University of Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1992 and at the University of Southern...  more
  • 17
    142
    94

    BirthplaceFall River Mills, California

    TeamsUC Davis Aggies football

    Danny Clarence Hawkins (born November 10, 1960) is an American former football player, coach, and sportscaster. He served as the head football coach at Willamette University (1993–1997), Boise State...  more
  • 18
    244
    188

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Teams ManagedMichigan Wolverines football, Arizona Wildcats football

    TeamsWest Virginia Mountaineers football

    Richard Alan Rodriguez (born May 24, 1963) is an American football coach and former player. He is the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss. Rodriguez previously served as the head football coach at...  more
  • 19
    145
    102

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    Gerard Paul DiNardo (born November 10, 1952) is a former American football player and coach. He played college football as a guard for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish where he was selected as an...  more
  • 20
    200
    154

    BirthplaceKinston, North Carolina

    TeamsMichigan State Spartans football

    Lionel Tyrone Willingham (born December 30, 1953) is a retired American football player and coach. He was the head coach at Stanford University (1995–2001), the University of Notre Dame (2002–2004),...  more
  • 21
    JoshMers addedAge: 58
    75
    38

    BirthplaceFranklin, Kentucky

    Teams ManagedFlorida Gators football

    Joe "Joker" Phillips Jr. (born May 12, 1963) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the wide receivers coach for the Maryland Terrapins football team....  more
  • 22
    95
    57

    BirthplaceTaylorville, Illinois

    Teams ManagedNew Orleans Saints

    Rick Venturi (born February 23, 1946) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Northwestern University and as longtime National Football League assistant coach...  more
  • 23
    Tom Derr addedAge: 61
    62
    26

    BirthplaceWest Point, New York

    Teams ManagedVirginia Cavaliers football

    Michael Wilson London Sr. (born October 9, 1960) is the current head football coach for the William & Mary Tribe football program at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is a...  more
  • 24
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    85
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    BirthplaceDenver, Colorado

    Michael Bruce Price (born April 6, 1946) is a former American football coach. He served as the head football coach at Weber State College—now known as Weber State University from 1981 to 1988,...  more
  • 25
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    72
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    BirthplaceOpp, Alabama

    Michael Lynn DuBose (born January 5, 1953) is an American football coach, most recently serving for Opp High School in Opp, Alabama. His most recent college coaching experience was serving as...  more