The lifespan of a game is measured in hours. A team comes and goes in a season. A player lasts no more than four years; these days, if he’s good and stays healthy, three.
But a coach? A coach is different. Coaches define eras. In a sport in which we root for laundry, a coach humanizes those colors, becomes as much a symbol as the mascot.
The first four men selected among the 150 Greatest Coaches, as selected by our blue-ribbon panel of 150 media members, administrators and former players and coaches, span more than a century of the sport. No. 3 Knute Rockne debuted in 1918. No. 2 Nick Saban just concluded the 2019 regular season. Between those two, No. 1 Paul “Bear” Bryant and No. 4 Tom Osborne together coached from the end of World War II to nearly the end of the 20th century. The only decade not covered by these four coaches is the 1930s.
It is a nice daydream to consider what Rockne might have accomplished had his TWA flight from Kansas City to Los Angeles not plummeted into a Kansas prairie.
Saban loves to tell a story that took place in the opening game of 1995, his second season as a head coach and his first game at Michigan State. Defending national champion Nebraska defeated the Spartans 50-10. Saban wondered whether he had what it took to be a head coach. Osborne met him at midfield and told him not to worry. “You’re not as bad as you think you are,” the Nebraska coach said.
Osborne always could judge talent. In fact, that 1995 Huskers team finished fourth among our 150 Greatest Teams. And Saban turned out to be pretty good. Bryant may have earned the edge from our panel because of the longevity of his success. It’s reasonable to believe that the debate over whether Bryant is a better coach than Saban will endure at Alabama for as long as hounds have teeth.
Both men are great examples of how coaches define eras. Twenty of the top 25 coaches (as defined by our panel) coached more than 20 seasons. Longevity has its place, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. The two coaches with the shortest (13 seasons) tenures in the top 25, Rockne and No. 10, Frank Leahy, coached at Notre Dame, where pressure has extracted a cost since Rockne transformed the school into the first national college football program in the 1920s.
If coaches define eras, then the greatest benefit of this list is how it creates a historical mosaic of the sport.
For instance, Rockne coached Frank Thomas (No. 67), who at Alabama coached Bryant (No. 1). Bernie Bierman (No. 65), whose name has returned to the lips of Minnesota fans now that P.J. Fleck has revivified the Gophers, coached Bud Wilkinson (No. 6), whose first great star may have been Darrell Royal (No. 38).
Not only that, all four NCAA divisions and the NAIA are represented. John Gagliardi, the all-time leader in wins (489) at any level, is No. 16. Nine HBCU coaches made the top 150, from No. 5 Eddie Robinson of Grambling to No. 145 W.C. Gorden of Jackson State.
Take this list, pour a beverage, and read it and weep. Or weed it and reap the benefit of knowing better than the panel. It is, as always, for entertainment purposes only. — Ivan Maisel
1. Paul (Bear) Bryant, 323-85-17 career record
Maryland (1945; 6-2-1 record), Kentucky (1946-53; 60-23-5), Texas A&M (1954-57; 25-14-2) and Alabama (1958-1982; 232-46-9)
Bryant won two national championships at Alabama in the 1960s playing one-platoon football. He won three more in the 1970s playing several platoons, waves of players on each side of the ball. He won throwing the ball. He won running the ball. As the Texas philosopher/football coach Bum Phillips, a one-time Bryant assistant at Texas A&M, said, “He could take his’n and beat your’n, and he could take your’n and beat his’n.” He made players out of boys and head coaches out of assistants. As one of his favorite players, Crimson Tide lineman Jerry Duncan, said recently, “God, what a man.”
2. Nick Saban, 242-65-1
Toledo (1990; 9-2), Michigan State (1995-99; 34-24-1), LSU (2000-2004; 48-16) and Alabama (2007-present; 151-23)
Saban didn’t start out as the greatest coach in the past 50 years. He won at Toledo and Michigan State but not enough to win a conference title. He came to LSU with a reputation of not staying anywhere too long. In five seasons, he won the Tigers’ first national title in 45 years. And then he left for the NFL. That lasted only two years, and when he returned to the college game, at LSU’s SEC West rival Alabama, the clock began ticking until he would leave again. After 13 seasons, five national championships and the most successful run in the modern game, it’s still ticking.
3. Knute Rockne, 105-12-5
Notre Dame (1918-30)
Rockne created modern coaching. He was a brilliant tactician, to be sure, but he also created the coach as CEO. He marketed his small, Midwestern Catholic institution in America’s biggest cities, taking his team to where the immigrant Catholics could root for them. He applied his motivational skills to business as a top executive for Studebaker cars — while he coached. And Notre Dame kept winning. He had five unbeaten seasons and won four national titles (1919, 1924, 1929 and 1930). Rockne’s winning percentage of .881 remains first among FBS coaches nearly a century after he died in a plane crash in 1931 at age 43.
4. Tom Osborne, 255-49-3
Behind that dry, spare demeanor lived a sharp football mind with a sly wit and a fierce competitive streak. Osborne spent most of his career with the Huskers saddled with the honor of having gone for two and failing against Miami when an extra point surely would have given Nebraska the 1983 national title. Late in his career, he pivoted from his team’s devotion to brute strength and put more speed on defense. In his last five seasons, Nebraska won three national championships, lost a fourth on the last play of the game and had a won-loss record of 60-3.
Legendary Grambling coach Eddie Robinson’s great grandson Sean Moore recalls just how impactful his great grandfather was to college football.
5. Eddie Robinson, 408-165-15
Grambling (1941-42, 1945-1997)
Robinson did it all at Grambling. That’s not an overworked cliché about an outstanding coach. That’s the truth. He lined the field. He directed the band. He taped the ankles. And he sent hundreds of players to professional football, four of whom — Paul “Tank” Younger, Junious “Buck” Buchanan, Gary Johnson and Doug Williams — reached the College Football Hall of Fame. Robinson took over in 1941 at age 22. In his second season, the Tigers went 9-0 — unbeaten, untied and unscored upon. Under Robinson, Grambling won nine black college national championships and 17 SWAC titles.
6. Charles (Bud) Wilkinson, 145-29-4
As a player on Minnesota’s powerful teams in the mid-1930s, Wilkinson started at guard for two seasons, and then moved to quarterback. He excelled everywhere he played, a trait he passed on to the Sooners for more than a decade. After taking over Oklahoma at age 31, Wilkinson led the Sooners to a 31-game unbeaten streak from 1948-50. That paled before the modern FBS record streak by Oklahoma of 47 unbeaten games from 1953-57. Wilkinson retired at 47, spent and looking for a new challenge. He ran for the U.S. Senate and lost, and became a fixture in college football broadcasting for ABC Sports.
7. Joe Paterno, 409-136-3
Penn State (1966-2011)
After 16 seasons as a Nittany Lions assistant, Paterno ascended to the head coaching job. Penn State soon ascended, too — to national prominence, to two national championships in the 1980s, and to the Big Ten, the first team to shift from independence to a conference in what would become the realignment era. Paterno called his plan the Grand Experiment, believing that Penn State could be a national power without sacrificing academics. He pulled it off, too, including five unbeaten seasons. Paterno was fired in November 2011 for his involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He died two months later.
8. Bobby Bowden, 377-129-4
Howard College (1959-62; 31-6), West Virginia (1970-75; 42-26) and Florida State (1976-2009; 304-97-4)
When Bowden arrived at Florida State, it was a midsize independent, not above taking a paycheck game to keep the athletics department’s doors open. When he left 43 years later, the Seminoles had established themselves as a national power. From 1987-2000, Bowden’s Seminoles finished in the top five every season, including two national titles (1993, 1999). After joining the ACC in 1992, Florida State won 12 of the next 14 ACC titles. Bowden loved fireworks on offense and fast, physical play on defense. He developed two Heisman winners (Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke) and a generation of goodwill for Florida State.
9. Woody Hayes, 238-72-10
Denison (1946-48; 19-6), Miami (Ohio) (1949-50; 14-5) and Ohio State (1951-78; 205-61-10)
He is remembered for his excesses, such as his overreliance on a physical running game. Everyone knew Hayes’ game plan. But the Buckeyes executed it so well (five national titles, 13 Big Ten titles) that it didn’t matter; such as his overreaction on the sideline to anyone or anything that didn’t go the Buckeyes’ way; such as going overboard when he slugged Charlie Baumann after the Clemson linebacker made a game-clinching interception for the Tigers to defeat the Buckeyes in the 1978 Gator Bowl. He was fired the next day, and beloved anyway.
10. Frank Leahy, 107-13-9
Boston College (1939-40; 20-2) and Notre Dame (1941-43, 1946-53; 87-11-9)
He spoke in courtly language, referring to his players as “lads,” but no one mistook that gentlemanly demeanor as anything other than good manners. Leahy would do anything to win and rarely did anything but win. His postwar teams at Notre Dame were so good — the freshmen who enrolled in 1946 never lost a game — that backups enjoyed long NFL careers. The Irish won four national titles in seven years. Leahy drove his players no harder than he drove himself. The stress became so great that he nearly died during the 1953 season. He retired at age 45 and never coached again.
11. Glenn (Pop) Warner, 336-114-32
Georgia (1895-96; 7-4), Iowa State (1895-99; 18-8), Cornell (1897-98, 1904-06; 36-13-3), Carlisle (1899-1903, 1907-14; 113-42-8), Pittsburgh (1915-23; 60-12-4), Stanford (1924-32; 71-17-8) and Temple (1933-38; 31-18-9)
It’s rare that any coach has a once-in-a-generation back. Warner won so long that he had two. Under Warner, Carlisle Indian Industrial School rose to national prominence on the athletic prowess of Jim Thorpe. In the 1920s, using the single-wing offense that Warner created at Carlisle, Ernie Nevers led Stanford to the Rose Bowl. Warner is credited with three national titles, two at Pittsburgh and one at Stanford. He is also credited with creating the double-wing formation, three-point stance, the hidden-ball trick and many other innovations. Warner retired at age 67 from Temple and returned to Palo Alto. The next season, Warner accepted an offer to help a young head coach at San Jose State. The Spartans went 13-0.
12. John McKay, 127-40-8
A once-proud program had struggled for most of the post-war era. And then John McKay arrived at USC, the perfect guy for the moment. He had good looks, an unflappable demeanor and a terrific sense of humor. The Trojans held the attention of the Southland even as the Dodgers, the Rams and the Lakers rose to the top of pro sports. McKay’s Trojans dominated opponents. Big, agile linemen cleared the way for fleet running backs, year after year after year. USC won four national titles and nine Pac-8 titles under McKay. Eleven of his players are in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Former Oklahoma head coach Barry Switzer recalls the first time he met linebacker Brian Bosworth on the recruiting trail.
13. Barry Switzer, 157-29-4
He would tell you he was going to beat your ass — he never strayed far from the profane — and then he did it. It was less braggadocio than plain ol’ honesty. The Sooners beat everyone: Switzer’s winning percentage against ranked opponents was .662. During his tenure, Oklahoma won three national and 12 Big Eight titles, this in an era when Tom Osborne coached Nebraska. When other powers in the South and Southwest moved gingerly toward integration, if at all, Switzer embraced it. The black players he signed out of Texas empowered the Sooners and spelled the end of Darrell Royal at Texas.
14. Amos Alonzo Stagg, 314-199-35
Springfield (1890-91; 10-11-1) Chicago (1892-1932; 244-111-27), Pacific (1933-1946; 60-77-7)
The Grand Old Man of football is credited with inventing everything from the lateral to padded goalposts. He also invented the paid coach. When Chicago hired Stagg and paid him the equivalent of a professor’s salary, it legitimized coaching as a profession. Stagg won seven Western (Big Ten) Conference titles before Chicago decided not to play big-time football any longer. Stagg went to Pacific and coached until he was 84. He was credited with the most wins in college football until Bear Bryant passed him 1981, and the most losses until Watson Brown overtook him in 2014.
15. Ara Parseghian, 170-58-6
Miami (Ohio) (1951-55; 39-6-1), Northwestern (1956-63; 36-35-1) and Notre Dame (1964-74; 95-17-4)
He took Northwestern to the top 10, but it gnawed on him that no one in Chicago cared. They cared about Notre Dame, though. In the ’60s, who didn’t? The Irish had wallowed in mediocrity for more than a decade when he arrived in 1964. Parseghian nearly stole the national title that season. People at Michigan State and Alabama still think he stole the 1966 title, settling for a 10-10 tie with the Spartans because he deduced (cynically? efficiently?) that the Irish would win the debate. No one argued about the 1973 national champs, who defeated the Crimson Tide (the schools’ first meeting) 24-23 in one of the greatest Sugar Bowls ever. He retired a year later, exhausted. He was only 51 years old.
16. John Gagliardi, 489-138-11
Carroll College (1949-52; 24-6-1) and St. John’s (Minnesota) (1953-2012; 465-132-10)
Gagliardi’s teams became better known for what they didn’t do than what they did. They didn’t tackle in practice. They didn’t lift weights. They didn’t practice longer than 90 minutes. And they didn’t lose — not very often, anyway. Gagliardi won four national championships at St. John’s and, between the two campuses, 30 conference titles. That’s one way to look at his career. The other is that he began as a head coach during the Truman Administration and retired after Barack Obama’s re-election.
17. Walter Camp, 78-5-3
Yale (1888-1892; 67-2) and Stanford (1892-95; 11-3-3)
He is less known as a coach than as a man who created so much of the foundation of the game: the 11-man team (down from 15), the line of scrimmage, down and distance, the center snap, the All-America team and even the slush fund. But as you can see from his record, for the eight years that he did coach, Camp knew how to win games. Three of his five Yale teams went undefeated. He coached at Yale and Stanford in 1892 — the latter playing late in the year — before he retired at age 36.
18. Fielding Yost, 198-35-12
Ohio Wesleyan (1897; 7-1-1), Nebraska (1898; 8-3), Kansas (1899; 10-0), San Jose State (1900; 1-0), Stanford (1900; 7-2-1) and Michigan (1901-1923, 1925-26; 165-29-10)
Yost made Michigan into “champions of the West,” just like the song says. His Wolverines won 10 Western (Big Ten) Conference titles and enjoyed a 56-game unbeaten streak from 1901-05. He might have won more league titles, but Michigan left the conference for eight years in a rules dispute. Yost is remembered as a fierce competitor; as a humorless coach who preached sanctimony when it came to NCAA rules while he blackballed Notre Dame from joining the Western Conference; and as a nonstop talker. His early teams were known as point-a-minute teams. No matter how much they scored, it was usually more than the opponent.
19. Earl (Red) Blaik, 166-48-14
Dartmouth (1934-40; 45-15-4) and Army (1941-58; 121-33-10)
Blaik had an advantage when he got to West Point, sure. During World War II, he got the best players in the country. But he knew what to do with them. The Black Knights won national titles in 1944 and 1945 and had a claim on 1946, finishing second to Notre Dame even though they tied the Irish 0-0 in one of the earliest Games of the Century. Blaik enjoyed six unbeaten seasons at Army, which he added to the one at Dartmouth. More than six decades after he left his post, Blaik remains first in wins at Army. That may say something about West Point football in the past 60 seasons. It definitely says something about Blaik.
20. Bo Schembechler, 234-65-8
Miami (1963-68; 40-17-3) and Michigan (1969-89; 194-48-5)
Schembechler won or shared 13 conference titles and coached 25 All-Americans in a 27-year career. He is remembered as a fiery motivator whose teams played great defense. He is also remembered as the best coach never to win a national championship, which had a little something to do with his 2-8 record in Rose Bowls. But there’s another 10-game record for which Schembechler should best be remembered. In the first decade of his 22 seasons in the Big House, Schembechler went 5-4-1 against his mentor, Woody Hayes of Ohio State, in a series known as the Ten Year War.
21. Bobby Dodd, 165-64-8
Georgia Tech (1945-66)
This is how good Dodd was on the Flats: His Yellow Jackets won two SEC titles. They enjoyed a 31-game unbeaten streak over four seasons (1950-53). And they won eight consecutive bowl games over an 11-year span in an era when there weren’t that many bowls. In an era when more was more, Dodd preached less. His players rarely scrimmaged. Yet Bear Bryant labeled Dodd as a coach he hated to see on the opposing sideline. Dodd had an almost supernatural feel for the game. He always thought of something, and his players always executed it. His touch was such that it became known as Dodd Luck: maddening for opponents, but delightful for the Ramblin’ Wreck.
22. LaVell Edwards, 257-101-3
Brigham Young (1972-2000)
Edwards did more than lead the Cougars to 19 conference titles, 10 10-win seasons and that incredible run to the 1984 national championship. He did more than take the vertical passing game and use it as a cudgel to bash down the door to the national elite — although grooming five first-team All-American quarterbacks is pretty cool. Edwards used college football to take a regional religious institution and turn it into a brand. BYU became known for exciting, entertaining, edge-of-the-seat college football, and it proved that three yards and a cloud of dust wasn’t the only way to win games. It was just the old-fashioned one.
23. Lou Holtz, 249-132-7
William & Mary (1969-71; 13-20), NC State (1972-75; 33-12-3), Arkansas (1977-83; 60-21-2), Minnesota (1984-85; 10-12), Notre Dame (1986-1996; 100-30-2) and South Carolina (1999-2004; 33-37)
Holtz always said he believed in “faith, family and football.” The stats (10 top-10 teams, seven 10-win seasons) don’t measure the great work he performed in rebuilding the foundation over six seasons at South Carolina. Nor do they illustrate how he tamed the tiger that is coaching at Notre Dame. He took a floundering Irish program and three seasons later won the 1988 national title. He still thinks he should have won the 1993 title, when the Irish defeated eventual champion Florida State. His record in South Bend stands as tall as anyone’s not named Rockne or Leahy. Holtz left after 11 seasons; he said he didn’t want to coach as long as Rockne (13). Lovely.
24. Vince Dooley, 201-77-10
He arrived in Athens in 1964 to no fanfare, a 31-year-old freshman coach from Auburn who did nothing to lift the spirits of the dispirited Dawg fans. A year later, when Georgia upset defending national champion Alabama 18-17, they realized that Dooley may know how to coach. He retired after a quarter-century in which he won six SEC titles and, thanks to a magical freshman tailback named Herschel Walker, won the 1980 national championship. Dooley remained a fixture in Athens long after he retired, as an athletic director, as a master gardener and as the epitome of what a football coach should be.
25. Harold (Tubby) Raymond, 300-119-3
Raymond replaced a legend, the longtime NCAA rules committee boss Dave Nelson, and became every bit the institution his mentor had been. Raymond did that by sticking with the Wing-T formation, a marriage of the single-wing and the T, long after everyone else moved to the Wishbone; he did that even as Delaware moved from small-college classification to Division II and to Division I-AA; and he did that by winning. Under Raymond, Delaware won three national titles and reached the NCAA playoffs in 16 seasons. He would be known as Delaware’s most famous citizen, at least until Joe Biden became vice president.
26. Bob Devaney, 136-30-7
Wyoming (1957-61; 35-10-5) and Nebraska (1962-72; 101-20-2)
During an 11-year tenure at Nebraska, Devaney’s teams won 101 games, lost only 20 and tied two. His career winning percentage of 80.6% (including his record at Wyoming) ranked him as the winningest active coach at the time of his retirement in 1973. Under his watch, the Cornhuskers won national titles in 1970 and ’71, won or shared eight Big Eight championships and played in nine bowl games.
1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel recalls when coach Steve Spurrier pulled him from a game vs. Kentucky after throwing an interception.
27. Steve Spurrier, 228-89-2
Duke (1987-89; 20-13-1), Florida (1990-2001; 122-27-1) and South Carolina (2005-15; 86-49)
Few coaches have transformed the sport as much as Spurrier did at Florida in the 1990s. In the black-and-blue SEC, Spurrier’s pass-happy, Fun ‘n’ Gun offense revolutionized the way football was played in the Deep South. He guided the Gators to their first national title in 1996 and six SEC championships. Just as impressively, he had winning records at Duke and South Carolina, schools that had rarely won before.
28. Larry Kehres, 332-24-3
Mount Union (1986-2012)
In 27 seasons at Mount Union, Kehres’ teams stockpiled 11 Division III national titles, 21 unbeaten regular seasons and 23 conference championships. His teams had winning streaks of 54 and 55 games. His .929 winning percentage is the best among any coach at any NCAA level.
29. Bob Stoops, 190-48
In 1999, Oklahoma hired Stoops, who had never been a head coach. He guided the Sooners to a national championship in his second season. His teams won 10 Big 12 titles and at least 10 games in 14 of his 18 seasons. They went to a bowl game each year and never had a losing season. Stoops coached two Heisman Trophy winners — quarterbacks Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008) — and 25 All-Americans.
30. John Heisman, 186-70-18
Oberlin (1892, 1894; 11-3-1), Buchtel (now Akron) (1893-94; 6-2), Auburn (1895-99; 12-4-2), Clemson (1900-03; 19-3-2), Georgia Tech (1904-19; 102-29-7), Pennsylvania (1920-22; 16-10-2), Washington & Jefferson (1923; 6-1-1) and Rice (1924-27; 14-18-3)
The namesake of college football’s most revered individual award won 186 games in 37 seasons at eight different schools. His best work was at Georgia Tech from 1915 to ’17, when his teams had three straight unbeaten seasons. His 1917 team went 9-0 and outscored opponents 491-17.
Clemson head coach and former Alabama WR Dabo Swinney discusses how his childhood dreams of playing football at Alabama came true.
31. Dabo Swinney, 129-30
Swinney was Clemson’s wide receivers coach when he was named interim head coach after Tommy Bowden resigned six games into the 2008 season. He was a surprising pick to replace Bowden after that season, and then he awakened a once-dormant program not long after. The Tigers won national championships in 2016 and ’18 and don’t seem ready to slow down anytime soon.
32. Jock Sutherland, 144-28-14
Lafayette (1919-23; 33-8-2) and Pittsburgh (1924-38; 111-20-12)
In 1924, Sutherland replaced Glenn “Pop” Warner as Pitt’s coach. Sutherland guided his alma mater to seven Eastern football titles and four appearances in the Rose Bowl. His 111 wins at Pitt included a whopping 79 shutouts. His 1937 team went 9-0-1 and was recognized as national champion.
33. John Robinson, 132-77-4
USC (1976-82 and 1993-97; 104-35-4) and UNLV (1999-2004; 28-42)
Robinson’s first stint at USC was so good the Trojans hired him a second time, after he spent nine seasons in the NFL. Robinson’s USC teams won five conference titles and a share of the 1978 national championship. His teams went 8-1 in bowl games, including a sparkling 4-0 in the Rose Bowl. He coached two Heisman Trophy winners: running backs Charles White (1979) and Marcus Allen (1981).
34. Arnett (Ace) Mumford, 233-85-23
Jarvis Christian (1924-27; 6-8-3), Bishop (1927-29; 22-7-1), Texas College (1931-35; 26-9-6) and Southern (1936-61; 179-61-13)
Mumford’s coaching techniques were timeless: His Texas College and Southern teams won a total of six black college national championships in four different decades. From 1948-51, his Southern teams had a 38-game unbeaten streak and won three black college national titles. In 1948, the Jaguars went 12-0 and beat San Francisco State in the Fruit Bowl.
35. Jim Tressel, 229-79-2
Youngstown State (1986-2000; 135-57-2) and Ohio State (2001-10; 94-22)
Tressel won 106 games (12 were later vacated because of NCAA sanctions) in 10 seasons at Ohio State, and his teams played in eight Bowl Championship Series games. He guided the Buckeyes to their first outright national title in 34 years when they finished 14-0 in 2002. Just as importantly, he went 9-1 against Michigan. His teams won 135 games and four Division I-AA national titles at Youngstown State.
36. Robert Neyland, 173-31-12
Tennessee (1926-34, 1936-40 and 1946-52)
From 1926 to ’34, the Volunteers won 76 games, lost only seven and tied five. When the U.S. Army sent Neyland, a brigadier general, to the Panama Canal Zone in 1935, UT went 4-5. He retired from the Army and returned to the sideline the next year. In three different stints, he guided the Volunteers to at least a share of seven conference titles and the 1951 AP national championship. A firm disciplinarian, Neyland is still considered one of the game’s greatest defensive minds.
37. Pete Carroll, 83-18
Carroll wasn’t USC’s first choice to replace Paul Hackett in December 2000 — and he wasn’t a popular one, either. He had been fired by two NFL teams and hadn’t coached in college since 1983. But Carroll ended up being the right choice, as he directed the Trojans to at least a share of back-to-back national titles in 2003 and ’04, seven consecutive top-five finishes and six victories in BCS bowl games. Under his watch, the Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for 33 consecutive weeks. USC won 97 games under Carroll, but 14 were later vacated by the NCAA.
38. Darrell K Royal, 184-60-5
Mississippi State (1954-55; 12-8), Washington (1956; 5-5) and Texas (1957-76; 167-47-5)
When Royal was once asked if he might ever switch his offense to a passing attack, he famously said that you’ve got to “dance with the one who brung ya.” The architect of the wishbone offense always believed in a strong running game, and that was a staple of his three national championship teams at Texas in 1963, ’69 and 1970. In 20 seasons at Texas, Royal’s teams never had a losing record, they won or shared 11 Southwest Conference titles and reached 10 Cotton Bowls. His teams won 30 straight games from 1968-70.
39. Frosty Westering, 305-96-7
Parsons (1962-63; 15-4), Lea (1966-71; 29-22-2) and Pacific Lutheran (1972-2003; 261-70-5)
The former United States Marine Corps drill instructor lived by one mantra in life: “Make the Big Time Where You Are.” And that’s exactly what Westering did at Pacific Lutheran, a school of about 3,100 students in Tacoma, Washington. He guided the Lutes to 261 victories, NAIA Division II national titles in 1980, ’87 and 1993 and an NCAA Division III national championship in 1999. He is one of only 13 college football coaches to have won at least 300 career games.
40. Frank Broyles, 149-62-6
Missouri (1957; 5-4-1) and Arkansas (1958-76; 144-58-5)
Broyles was so adept at assembling coaching staffs that a national award for assistant coaches is named in his honor. Future head coaches like Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors and Jackie Sherrill worked for him. In 1964, Arkansas went 11-0, shared the national title and didn’t lose again until the Cotton Bowl after the next season. In 1969, the Razorbacks were ranked No. 2 and lost to No. 1 Texas 15-14 in the “Game of the Century.” Broyles led the Hogs to four Cotton Bowls and four Sugar Bowls.
41. Ben Schwartzwalder, 178-96-3
Muhlenberg (1946-48; 25-5) and Syracuse (1949-73; 153-91-3)
When Syracuse hired Schwartzwalder to revive its struggling program in 1949, he joked, “The alumni wanted a big-name coach. They got a long-name coach.” No coach won more games at Syracuse, and perhaps no coach in the sport’s history assembled a greater collection of running backs. A decorated World War II paratrooper, Schwartzwalder coached College Football Hall of Fame backs Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka. His 1959 team went 11-0 and won the school’s only national title.
42. Herbert (Fritz) Crisler, 116-32-9
Minnesota (1930-31; 10-7-1), Princeton (1932-37; 35-9-5) and Michigan (1938-47; 71-16-3)
Although two of his teams at Princeton and one at Michigan posted unbeaten seasons, Crisler is perhaps best known as the father of two-platoon football. In 1945, with many of his players fighting overseas during World War II, he devised a system of using one team for offense and one for defense to compensate for lack of depth and experience. Two years later, the Wolverines went 10-0 and blasted USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl. He is also credited with introducing the famous winged helmets at Michigan.
43. Frank Kush, 176-54-1
Arizona State (1958-79)
Kush was perhaps the most intense and physically demanding coach in the sport at a time when Alabama’s Bear Bryant and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes were still on the sideline. Kush guided the Sun Devils to eight WAC and two Border conference titles and two unbeaten seasons. In 1975, ASU went 12-0 and finished No. 2 in the polls, while still playing in the WAC. He helped shepherd the Sun Devils’ move to the Pac-10 in 1978, but then he was fired five games into the next season after allegations of player abuse.
44. Johnny Vaught, 190-61-12
Ole Miss (1947-70 and 1973)
In a quarter-century as the Ole Miss coach, Vaught guided the Rebels to six SEC championships and 18 bowl games. They haven’t won an SEC title since. From 1959 to ’62, Ole Miss finished in the top five of the final polls. His 1962 team went 10-0 and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl at a time when the university was mired in the middle of the civil rights movement. Vaught was one of the few coaches who had a winning record against Bear Bryant, at 7-6-1.
45. Frank Beamer, 280-144-4
Murray State (1981-86; 42-23-2) and Virginia Tech (1987-2015; 238-121-2)
After a 2-8-1 finish in 1992, Beamer feared Virginia Tech, his alma mater, might fire him. In 2015, he retired as the winningest active coach in the FBS after guiding the Hokies to four ACC titles, three Big East championships and 13 10-win seasons. Virginia Tech’s aggressive style of play on special teams became known as “Beamer Ball.” During the 1990s, no team in the country blocked more kicks than the Hokies, who had 66 in the decade.
46. Urban Meyer, 187-32
Bowling Green (2001-02; 17-6), Utah (2003-04; 22-2), Florida (2005-10; 65-15) and Ohio State (2012-18; 83-9)
Meyer’s coaching career was cut short by health concerns and his teams were sometimes plagued by off-field problems, but it’s hard to deny his success. He won two national titles at Florida in 2006 and ’08 and another one at Ohio State in 2014. His teams won seven conference titles with 10 AP top-10 finishes. He won more than 90% of his games at Ohio State, including all seven against rival Michigan. His 187 victories in 17 seasons leading FBS programs are more than any other coach in the same length of time.
47. Clarence (Biggie) Munn, 71-16-3
Albright (1935-36; 13-2-1), Syracuse (1946; 4-5) and Michigan State (1947-53; 54-9-2)
Munn coached at Michigan State for only seven seasons but left an indelible mark. From 1950-53, the Spartans went 35-2 and won the 1952 national championship. After going 9-1 in 1953, Munn retired in the prime of his career, turned over his program to assistant Duffy Daugherty and became MSU’s athletic director. Munn once said his “secret dream” was to have just one more seat than the 101,001 claimed by rival Michigan at the time.
48. Rip Engle, 132-68-8
Brown (1944-49; 28-20-4) and Penn State (1950-65; 104-48-4)
Engle is perhaps best known for coaching quarterback Joe Paterno at Brown and then preceding him as Penn State’s coach. In 16 seasons, Engle’s teams never had a losing record and never won more than nine games. The Nittany Lions won the Lambert Trophy, as the East’s best team, three times during his tenure.
49. Jimmy Johnson, 81-34-3
Oklahoma State (1979-83; 29-25-3) and Miami (1984-88; 52-9)
When Miami hired Johnson to replace Howard Schnellenberger in 1984, many Hurricanes fans asked, “Jimmy who?” In his first season, Miami blew a 31-0 halftime lead in a loss to Maryland, the biggest in NCAA history at the time, and fell to Boston College on Doug Flutie’s memorable Hail Mary pass. The Hurricanes went 8-5 in Johnson’s first season, but they rarely lost after that. Miami went 44-4 over the next four seasons and won the 1987 national title. Along the way, Johnson embraced Miami’s reputation as the bad boys of college football.
50. Lloyd Carr, 122-40
Carr won five Big Ten championships, and in 1997 he guided the Wolverines to their first national title in 49 years. His teams won more than 75% of his games at Michigan, and he was the first coach to direct the Wolverines to four straight bowl victories. They went to a bowl game in each of Carr’s 13 seasons in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He coached 23 first-team All-Americans and finished with six top-10 teams.
51. Hugh (Duffy) Daugherty, 109-69-5
Michigan State (1954-72)
No coach was more of a catalyst for integration in college football than Daugherty, who recruited 44 black players from the South to play for the Spartans at a time when laws and customs barred them from playing for schools in the Deep South. Daugherty’s 1966 national championship team had 20 black players, including quarterback Jimmy Raye. Four of the black players who helped lead the Spartans to back-to-back unbeaten seasons and shares of the national title in 1965 and ’66 — Clinton Jones, George Webster, Bubba Smith and Gene Washington — were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, along with their coach.
52. Don James, 176-78-3
Kent State (1971-74; 25-19-1) and Washington (1975-92; 151-59-2)
Fondly known as the “Dawgfather” by Washington fans, James transformed the Huskies into a national powerhouse during his 18 seasons. His Washington teams won six conference titles and a share of the 1991 national championship. The Huskies won the Rose Bowl four times and went 5-2 in major bowl games under James. He got his start at Kent State, where he coached a defensive back named Nick Saban, whom he later hired as a graduate assistant.
53. Alonzo (Jake) Gaither, 203-36-4
Florida A&M (1945-69)
Gaiter famously said he liked his players to be “mobile, agile and hostile.” For a quarter-century, his Florida A&M teams certainly displayed those characteristics. Gaiter coached 42 future NFL players, including “Bullet” Bob Hayes, Willie Galimore and Ken Riley. The Rattlers went undefeated in 1957, ’59 and ’61 and won 18 conference titles and six black college national championships. His .844 career winning percentage ranks 11th among coaches at any NCAA level.
54. Sid Gillman, 81-19-2
Miami (Ohio) (1944-47; 31-6-1) and Cincinnati (1949-54; 50-13-1)
Gillman, who is widely considered the father of modern-day passing and one of the game’s greatest offensive minds, earned his reputation in the pros, where he spent 31 years as a coach and general manager. But Gillman started in college, where he guided Miami (Ohio) to a Sun Bowl victory in 1947 and Cincinnati to three MAC titles. His last four Bearcats teams went a combined 35-5-1. He is the only coach inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
55. Bill Snyder, 215-117-1
Kansas State (1989-2005 and 2009-18)
Snyder rebuilt Kansas State, which had traditionally been one of the sport’s most downtrodden programs, not once but twice. When the Wildcats hired Snyder in 1988, he inherited a program coming off its second consecutive winless season. He guided the Wildcats to a winning record in his third season and to the first of 11 straight bowl games in his fifth. After his retirement in 2006, Kansas State slipped back into mediocrity. He returned and won 79 games in 10 seasons in his second act.
56. Wallace Wade, 171-49-10
Alabama (1923-30; 61-13-3) and Duke (1931-40 and 1946-50; 110-36-7)
The most stunning decision of Wade’s life wasn’t that he left Alabama for Duke, after directing the Crimson Tide to national titles in 1925, ’26 and ’30. It came at age 49, after 10 seasons at Duke, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and led battalions at the Battle of Normandy, Battle of the Bulge and the Ninth Army’s drive through Germany. He returned to Duke in 1946 and coached five more seasons. His teams played in five Rose Bowls. Wade’s 1926 Alabama squad was the first from the South to play in the game, defeating Washington 20-19.
57. Jerry Moore, 242-135-2
North Texas (1979-80; 11-11), Texas Tech (1981-85; 16-37-2) and Appalachian State (1989-2012; 215-87)
When Texas Tech fired Moore in 1985, he feared his coaching career might be over. He spent three years working for a real estate developer until Arkansas hired him as an assistant in 1988. The Mountaineers hired him in 1989, and he won 215 games and three consecutive FCS national titles from 2005-07. Moore won 10 conference titles and made 18 playoff appearances with the Mountaineers. Of course, he might be best known for Appalachian State’s stunning 34-32 upset of No. 5 Michigan at the Big House in 2007.
58. Chris Petersen, 146-38
Boise State (2006-13; 92-12) and Washington (2014-19; 54-26)
In 13 seasons at Boise State, the first five as offensive coordinator, Petersen helped build the Broncos into giant killers with a pair of BCS bowl game upsets (especially the thrilling 43-42 OT upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl) and a plethora of trick plays. As Boise State’s head coach, his teams had three unbeaten regular seasons and won five conference titles. His Washington teams won two Pac-12 championships and reached the CFP semifinals once in his six seasons. Petersen announced in December that he is stepping down as the Huskies’ coach after the bowl game.
59. Mack Brown, 250-128-1
Appalachian State (1983; 6-5), Tulane (1985-87; 11-23), North Carolina (1988-97 and 2019-current; 75-52-1) and Texas (1998-2013; 158-48)
With his folksy, Southern charm, Brown united Texas’ divided fan base and returned the Longhorns to national prominence. From 2001-09, the Longhorns won at least 10 games every season. During a six-year stretch from 2004-09, UT went 69-9 behind quarterbacks Vince Young and Colt McCoy. In 2005, Young led Texas to its first undisputed national title in 36 years, capped off with a memorable 41-38 win over USC in the Rose Bowl. Brown’s 158 victories at Texas ranks No. 2 in school history, behind Darrell Royal, who won 167 in 20 seasons.
60. Roy Kidd, 314-124-8
Eastern Kentucky (1964-2002)
The most remarkable fact about Kidd’s 39-year career wasn’t that he won 314 games, 16 conference titles and two national championships. It’s that he did it all at one school. The former Eastern Kentucky quarterback was hired as his alma mater’s coach in 1964 and never left until his retirement in 2002. Under his direction, the Colonels played for four straight Division I-AA national titles, winning in 1979 and ’82. Among FCS/Div. I-AA coaches, only Grambling’s Eddie Robinson won more games than Kidd with 408.
61. George Welsh, 189-132-4
Navy (1973-81; 55-46-1) and Virginia (1982-2000; 134-86-3)
Welsh turned around not one but two woebegone programs in his 28-year career. In the five seasons before Navy hired Welsh in 1973, the Midshipmen went a combined 12-41. They went 7-4 in his third season and 31-15-1 in his last four. When Virginia lured Welsh away in 1982, the Cavaliers had posted only two winning seasons in the previous 29. They went 8-2-2 in his third season and endured only two losing campaigns in his 29 years at the school. Welsh guided Virginia to its first bowl game in 1984, first 10-win season and ACC title in 1989, and its first No. 1 ranking — for four weeks — in 1990.
62. Johnny Majors, 185-137-10
Iowa State (1968-72; 24-30-1), Pittsburgh (1973-76 and 1993-96; 45-45-1) and Tennessee (1977-92; 116-62-8)
After Majors guided Pittsburgh to a 12-0 record and a national championship in 1976, Tennessee lured its former star player back to Knoxville, where he had the longest uninterrupted tenure in school history until he was out in 1992. Majors’ teams won SEC titles in 1985, ’89 and ’90. He had 12 winning campaigns in 16 seasons at UT and his teams played in 11 bowl games.
63. Don Coryell, 127-24-3
Whittier (1957-59; 23-5-1) and San Diego State (1961-72; 104-19-2)
Known as the father of the vertical passing game, Coryell revolutionized his “Air Coryell” offense in 12 seasons at San Diego State, before he moved to the pros. Because the Aztecs couldn’t recruit linemen and running backs against the likes of USC and UCLA, he chose to focus on quarterbacks and receivers. He helped the Aztecs move to the Division I level, and his 1967-70 teams had a streak of 31 games without a defeat. He became the first coach to win 100 games at both the college and professional levels.
64. Ralph (Shug) Jordan, 176-83-6
Jordan, a three-sport star at Auburn, won more games than any other coach at his alma mater. In 1973, he became the first active college coach to have a stadium named in his honor when Auburn dedicated Jordan-Hare Stadium. In 1957, Jordan guided the Tigers to a 10-0 record and a national championship, allowing only 28 points — and just seven in SEC play. His teams finished in the AP top 25 poll 13 times, four times in the top five.
65. Bernie Bierman, 146-62-12
Montana (1919-21; 9-9-3), Mississippi State (1925-26; 8-8-1), Tulane (1927-31; 36-10-2) and Minnesota (1932-41 and 1945-50; 93-35-6)
Bierman was known as the “Grey Eagle,” but his 16-year tenure at Minnesota, his alma mater, is called the “Golden Era.” Bierman coached six teams that won Western (Big Ten) Conference titles and five that were unbeaten. Utilizing the single-wing offense behind an unbalanced line, the Gophers won five national championships in eight years in 1934, ’35, ’36, ’40 and ’41.
66. Henry (Red) Sanders, 102-41-3
Vanderbilt (1940-42 and 1946-48; 36-22-2) and UCLA (1949-57; 66-19-1)
Sanders, and not legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, was the original “Wizard of Westwood.” He coached UCLA to its only national championship season in 1954, when the Bruins went 9-0 and shared a national title with Ohio State. The Rose Bowl’s no-repeat rule prevented the teams from playing after the regular season. UCLA won three straight Pacific Coast Conference titles from 1953-55. Sanders died of a heart attack about a month before the 1958 season.
67. Frank Thomas, 141-33-9
Chattanooga (1925-28; 26-9-2) and Alabama (1931-46; 115-24-7)
Thomas played quarterback for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, where his roommate was George Gipp, and he coached Paul “Bear” Bryant during his 15 seasons at Alabama (Alabama did not have a team in 1943 due to World War II). Three of his Crimson Tide teams went unbeaten and his squads won the Rose Bowl (twice), Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl. Remarkably, his Alabama teams allowed only 6.3 points per game.
68. Lynn (Pappy) Waldorf, 174-100-22
Oklahoma City (1925-27; 17-11-3), Oklahoma A&M (1929-33; 34-10-7), Kansas State (1934; 7-2-1), Northwestern (1935-46; 49-45-7) and California (1947-56; 67-32-4)
Few coaches rebuilt downtrodden programs quite like Waldorf. In 1925, he inherited an Oklahoma City team that had won one game in three years. He won five in his second season and eight in his third. Oklahoma A&M went 1-7 the season before he arrived. His teams went 34-10-7, won four conference titles and never lost to Oklahoma. In his only season at Kansas State, the Wildcats won their first league championship. When Waldorf was named California’s coach in 1947, the Bears hadn’t had a winning season since 1938. Cal went 9-1 in his first season, and the Bears went 29-3-1 over the next three and won Pacific Coast Conference titles.
69. Joe Fusco, 154-34-3
Westminster, Pennsylvania (1972-90)
Fusco was one of the most successful coaches in NAIA history, leading Westminster to four Division II national championships. The Titans went 21-1 while capturing national titles in 1976 and ’77. Fusco guided Westminster to back-to-back titles again in 1988 and ’89, when the Titans won 27 consecutive games.
70. George Woodruff, 142-25-2
Pennsylvania (1892-1901; 124-15-2), Illinois (1903; 8-6) and Carlisle (1905; 10-4)
Woodruff played football with Amos Alonzo Stagg at Yale and coached John Heisman at Penn. His Quaker teams had winning streaks of 34 and 31 games, won 12 games in seven straight seasons and outscored their opponents by a combined score of 1,777-88 during his 10 seasons. From 1894-97, Penn went 55-1 and won two national championships.
71. John Merritt, 235-70-12
Jackson State (1952-62; 63-37-5) and Tennessee State (1963-83; 172-33-7)
“Big John” Merritt was one of the most accomplished coaches in HBCU history, winning seven black college national championships. From 1955 until his death in 1983, his teams had 29 consecutive winning seasons. Merritt coached future NFL stars Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Claude Humphrey and Richard Dent.
72. Doyt Perry, 77-11-5
Bowling Green (1955-64)
Perry’s coaching career lasted only 10 seasons before he moved into Bowling Green’s administration. His 85.5% career winning percentage ranks third among FBS coaches who coached at least 75 games; only Knute Rockne (88.1%) and Frank Leahy (86.4%) won at higher clips. Six of his former Bowling Green players, including Don Nehlen and Larry Smith, became FBS head coaches.
73. Danny Ford, 122-59-5
Clemson (1978-89; 96-29-4 and Arkansas 1993-97; 26-30-1)
Clemson promoted Ford to head coach in December 1978, two days after Charley Pell left for Florida. The Tigers beat Ohio State — and coach Woody Hayes — in Ford’s first game, 17-15 in the Gator Bowl. Three years later, he became the youngest coach to win a national title at age 33. The Tigers went 12-0 in 1981 and defeated Nebraska 22-15 in the Orange Bowl to win the school’s first national title. Ford guided the Tigers to five ACC titles, including three in a row from 1986-88, and his teams went 6-3 in bowl games.
74. Gary Patterson, 172-70
Patterson has the rare distinction of winning conference titles (and being named Coach of the Year) in three different leagues at the same school. He shepherded the Horned Frogs from Conference USA to the Mountain West to the Big 12. His teams have won six league titles, posted seven top-10 finishes and played in 17 bowl games in his 20 seasons. In 2010, TCU went 13-0 and defeated Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl.
75. Gil Dobie, 182-45-15
North Dakota State (1906-07; 7-0), Washington (1908-16; 60-0-3), Navy (1917-19; 17-3), Cornell (1920-35; 82-36-7) and Boston College (1936-38; 16-6-5)
Remarkably, Dobie didn’t lose a game until the 12th season of his coaching career. He went 7-0 in two seasons at North Dakota State, and then his teams went 60-0-3 in nine seasons at Washington. Under Dobie, the Huskies won 39 consecutive games and went 61 games without a loss. His teams later won 26 straight games at Cornell.
76. Jim Butterfield, 206-71-1
He learned on the job in an era when that was allowed. The Bombers went 29-29 in his first seven seasons. In the next 20 years under Butterfield, Ithaca reached the playoffs 11 times, winning three Division III championships and losing four other national championship games.
77. Ron Schipper, 287-67-3
Central (IA) (1961-96)
Schipper won 18 conference titles in 36 seasons. He won one Division III championship in 1974, was the runner-up in 1988 and made 12 playoff appearances. But here’s how good he was: He never had a losing season.
78. Lance Leipold, 139-38
Wisconsin-Whitewater (2007-2014; 109-6) and Buffalo (2015-current; 30-32)
Perhaps more impressive than winning six Division III national championships in eight seasons at Whitewater, Leipold took down the dynasty that was Mount Union. The Warhawks had winning streaks of 46 and 32 games under Leipold. It took him four seasons to take Buffalo to a MAC East title.
79. Don Nehlen, 202-128-8
Bowling Green (1968-76; 53-35-4), West Virginia (1980-2000; 149-93-4)
Nehlen in 1980 took over a Mountaineer program that had won 17 games in the previous four seasons. In the next four seasons, they won 33, and that was only the start. West Virginia went 11-0 in the 1988 regular season and lost to Notre Dame for the national championship. Five years later, the Mountaineers went 11-0 again before losing to Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
80. Howard Jones, 194-64-21
Syracuse (1908; 6-3-1), Yale (1909 and 1913; 15-2-3), Ohio State (1910; 6-1-3), Iowa (1916-23; 42-17-1), Duke (1924; 4-5) and USC (1925-40; 121-36-13)
Jones coached one of Yale’s greatest teams in 1909 (10-0), and he led Iowa to 20 consecutive wins (1920-23), but he had his greatest success at USC. Jones’ Trojans had three undefeated seasons and went 5-0 in Rose Bowls. He and his good friend Knute Rockne started the USC-Notre Dame rivalry, the longest annual intersectional rivalry in the game.
81. Bob Reade, 146-23-1
Reade led the Vikings to the Division III national championship game in 1982, where they lost. They won the next four national titles, on their way to a 60-game unbeaten streak. The Vikings also won 12 conference titles in Reade’s tenure.
82. Jim Tatum 100-35-7
North Carolina (1942 and 1956-58; 19-17-3), Oklahoma (1946; 8-3) and Maryland (1947-55; 73-15-4)
Tatum took the Terrapins to their only national championship in 1953. He recruited Doc Blanchard to North Carolina in 1942; both of them left Chapel Hill because of the war. Tatum coached one year at Oklahoma, then was succeeded by Bud Wilkinson, who led the Sooners to three national titles. Tatum’s second tenure at North Carolina was cut short by his death at age 46 of a rare infection.
83. Dennis Erickson, 179-96-1
Idaho (1982-85 and 2006; 36-23), Wyoming (1986; 6-6), Washington State (1987-88; 12-10-1), Miami (1989-94; 63-9), Oregon State (1999-2002; 31-17) and Arizona State (2007-11; 31-31)
Erickson is best known for his six seasons at Miami, where his Canes won two national titles (1989 and 1991) and played for a third. His best accomplishment may have been at Oregon State, where Erickson led the Beavers from mediocrity to an 11-1 record and a No. 4 ranking in 2000.
84. Terry Donahue, 151-74-8
Donahue remains at the top of many of the Bruins’ coaching records. Under his leadership, UCLA won five conference titles and, at one juncture, eight consecutive bowls over 10 seasons. More convincing, he has 85 more wins in Westwood than any other Bruins coach.
85. Mike Kelly, 246-51-1
Kelly led the Flyers to four Division III national championship games, with a win in 1989. Four years later, Kelly took Dayton from Division III to the FCS. His teams won 10 games in 12 different seasons. Kelly also was an influence on Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who transferred to Dayton in Kelly’s second season and spent three seasons as a backup quarterback.
86. Mel Tjeerdsma, 242-82-4
Austin (1984-93; 59-39-4) and Northwest Missouri State (1994-2011; 183-43)
Tjeerdsma won three Division II national titles at Northwest Missouri State. The third, in 2009, may have been the sweetest: The Bearcats had lost the Division II national championship game in the previous four seasons. They also won 12 conference titles during his tenure.
87. Fred Folsom, 107-28-6
Colorado (1895-1902 and 1908-15; 78-23-2), Dartmouth (1903-06; 29-5-4)
Folsom enjoyed four unbeaten seasons at Colorado, including three straight from 1909-11, part of a 21-game winning streak over five seasons. That was his second tenure with the Buffs; Folsom went 29-5-4 at Dartmouth from 1903-06. Folsom retired from coaching in 1915 at age 42, but he continued at his chief job on the Boulder campus: He taught at the law school until 1943.
88. Dan Devine, 172-57-9
Arizona State (1955-57; 27-3-1), Missouri (1958-70; 92-38-7) and Notre Dame (1975-80; 53-16-1)
The more important of Devine’s two Big Eight titles at Mizzou over a 13-year span was the first, the one in 1960 that broke Oklahoma’s long hold on the league. After four mediocre seasons in Green Bay, Devine returned to the college game for its biggest job. He replaced Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame and led the Irish to a national title in 1977, his third season.
89. Brian Kelly, 241-93-2
Grand Valley State (1991-2003; 118-35-2), Central Michigan (2004-06; 19-16), Cincinnati (2006-09; 34-6) and Notre Dame (2010-current; 70-36)
Kelly led Grand Valley State to two Division II national championships. He won conference titles at Central Michigan (MAC) and Cincinnati (Big East). Though he hasn’t won a national title at Notre Dame, he has come close: a BCS championship game loss in 2012 and a playoff semifinal loss in 2018. More importantly, he restored respectability to the Fighting Irish.
90. Barry Alvarez, 119-74-4
Wisconsin (1990-2005, 2012, 2014)
It’s hard to fathom the reclamation Alvarez performed in Madison. The Badgers won nine total games in the four years prior to his arrival. Wisconsin won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl in Alvarez’s fourth season. The Badgers won both the conference and the Rose Bowl twice more in the 1990s and went 9-4 in bowls under Alvarez. He retired as head coach after 16 seasons, staying on as Wisconsin’s athletic director, and returned as interim coach for two bowl games in 2012 and 2014.
91. Hayden Fry, 232-178-10
SMU (1962-72; 49-66-1), North Texas State (1973-78; 40-23-3) and Iowa (1979-1998; 143-89-6)
In 17 seasons prior to his arrival at Iowa, Fry won one conference title at SMU and one at North Texas State. Iowa hadn’t had a winning season since 1961. Fry took the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten championship in his third season (1981) and two more in the next nine years. A more lasting effect of his tenure was that 13 of Fry’s assistants and players became FBS head coaches. Two, Bill Snyder and Barry Alvarez, joined Fry in the College Football Hall of Fame.
92. Roger Harring, 261-75-7
Harring won three national championships (one NAIA Div. II, two NCAA Div. III) and 15 conference titles while leading the Eagles to steady, unstinting success. Harring had only one losing season, in 1998; in the following season, his last, the Eagles won a share of the league title and went to Harring’s 14th national playoff.
93. Howard Schnellenberger, 158-151-3
Miami (1979-83; 41-16), Louisville (1985-94; 54-56-2) Oklahoma (1995; 5-5-1) and FAU (2001-11; 58-74)
No one in the history of the game proved to be as consistent a turnaround artist as Schnellenberger. He took Miami from mediocrity to a national championship in 1983 with a thrilling win over No. 1 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; he took Louisville from doormat to a major bowl; and he built the FAU program from scratch, taking the Owls to the Division I-AA semifinals.
94. Phillip Fulmer, 152-52
Fulmer led the Volunteers to their highest heights in the post-Neyland era. He lured Peyton Manning to sign a scholarship in 1994. The success that followed pushed Tennessee to the BCS championship in 1998, the year after Manning left. Fulmer had the bad fortune to be at Tennessee in the Steve Spurrier Era at Florida. Fulmer went 3-7 vs. Spurrier, which is why Fulmer won only two SEC titles.
95. Elmer Layden, 103-34-11
Loras (1925-26; 8-5-2), Duquesne (1927-33; 48-16-6) and Notre Dame (1934-40; 47-13-3)
He is better known as one of Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen and the hero of the 1925 Rose Bowl. Layden returned to his alma mater in 1934 as the second coach to replace Knute Rockne. His record of 47-13-3 in South Bend would have been viewed as a success at any other school. But after hearing a solid drumbeat of criticism, Layden jumped at the chance to become NFL commissioner in 1940.
96. Charlie McClendon, 137-59-7
McClendon led the Tigers to nine ranked finishes, but they won only one SEC championship, in 1970, because he had the poor timing of coaching in the league at the same time as Alabama’s Bear Bryant (for whom McClendon played at Kentucky). McClendon went 2-14 against Bryant. He led the Tigers to 13 bowl games, including two Cotton Bowls, two Orange Bowls and two Sugar Bowls.
Former Tulsa defensive back & current Illinois head coach Lovie Smith recalls being recruited to Tulsa by John Cooper and the bond he developed with the coach.
97. John Cooper, 192-84-6
Tulsa (1977-84; 56-32), Arizona State (1985-87; 25-9-2) and Ohio State (1988-2000; 111-43-4)
Cooper won nine conference championships and took the Sun Devils to their first Rose Bowl. He led six teams to top-10 finishes. He coached well enough to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. But he is also remembered for his lack of success against the Buckeyes’ archrival. Against Michigan coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller, and Lloyd Carr, Cooper went 2-10-1.
98. Dan McGugin, 197-55-19
Vanderbilt (1904-17, 1919-34)
McGugin, a lawyer by trade, remains one of the greatest coaches in SEC history (no other Vandy coach has won more than 39 games). He played for Fielding Yost at Michigan and brought Yost’s coaching style with him to Nashville. McGugin led the Commodores to four unbeaten seasons and 11 seasons with only one loss. They famously tied Yost’s Wolverines in the 1922 game that dedicated Dudley Field. How did McGugin coax Michigan south? He and Yost were brothers-in-law.
99. Chris Ault, 233-109-1
Nevada (1976-92, 1994-95; 2004-12)
Ault led the Wolf Pack to seven Division I-AA playoff appearances, including five semifinal berths and one championship game berth. Just as important, he led Nevada’s move to Division I-A (FBS) in 1992, where the Wolf Pack won five conference titles and reached 10 bowl games. Ault also created the Pistol offense (in which the quarterback stands 5 yards behind center; in the Shotgun, he is 7 yards back) that is a staple of modern college football.
UGASports.com editor Anthony Dasher recalls how Georgia Southern head coach Erk Russell taught his players the dangers of drugs with a rattlesnake.
100. Erk Russell, 83-22-1
Georgia Southern (1982-89)
Russell left his longtime perch as defensive coordinator for Vince Dooley at Georgia to restart the dormant program in Statesboro, Georgia. From nothing, the Eagles quickly became a dominant force in Division I-AA football. In a stretch of five seasons (1985-89), they made it to four national championship games, winning three. Because Russell didn’t coach 10 seasons, he won’t make it to the College Football Hall of Fame. It’s the only reason.
101. Frank Cavanaugh, 148-50-18
Cincinnati (1898; 5-1-3), Holy Cross (1903-05; 16-10-2), Dartmouth (1911-16; 42-9-3), Omaha (1919; 3-2-1), Boston College (1919-26; 48-14-5) and Fordham (1927-32; 34-14-4)
Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954, Cavanaugh’s coaching career sandwiched service in the Army, where he rose to the rank of major and served in World War I. His life was memorialized in the 1943 movie “The Iron Major.”
102. Paul Johnson, 189-99
Georgia Southern (1997-2001; 62-10), Navy (2002-07; 45-29), Georgia Tech (2008-18; 82-60)
Johnson guided Georgia Southern to a pair of I-AA national titles in five years before taking his triple-option offense to Navy and Georgia Tech. At Navy, he helped end the program’s 43-game losing streak to Notre Dame and won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy five times. Johnson was named ACC Coach of the Year three times at Georgia Tech.
103. Billy Nicks, 188-57-21
Morris Brown (1930-35, 1937-39, 1941-42; 65-21-13) and Prairie View A&M (1945-47, 1952-65; 123-36-8)
In 28 seasons as a head coach, Nicks won six black college national championships, including five at Prairie View A&M, where he also served as athletic director and coached basketball and softball. Nicks would claim eight SWAC football championships at Prairie View A&M. Atlanta honored him with a Billy Nicks Day in 1982.
104. Dana X. Bible, 198-72-23
Mississippi College (1913-15; 12-7-2), LSU (1916; 1-0-2), Texas A&M (1917, 1919-28; 72-19-9), Nebraska (1929-36, 50-15-7) and Texas (1937-46; 63-31-3)
Bible won 14 conference championships and spent time as the head coach at four of the most prestigious programs in college football history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951, wrote a book titled “Championship Football” and served as a pilot during World War I.
105. Carm Cozza, 179-119-5
Cozza is the winningest coach in Ivy League history, coaching the Bulldogs to a win or a share of 10 league championships and 18 winning seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and coached 15 future NFL players and seven Rhodes Scholars.
106. Henry Williams, 140-34-12
Army (1891; 4-1-1) and Minnesota (1900-21; 136-33-11)
From 1903-05, Williams coached Minnesota to one of the most dominant runs in college football history. The Golden Gophers were 37-1-1, including a 35-game unbeaten streak, while outscoring opponents 1,885-46. He won or shared eight conference titles in 22 years as the Gophers’ coach and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
107. Earle Bruce, 154-90-2
Tampa (1972; 10-2); Iowa State (1973-78; 36-32); Ohio State (1979-87; 81-26-1); Northern Iowa (1988; 5-6); and Colorado State (1989-92; 22-24-1)
Bruce guided Iowa State to one of the best periods in program history, reaching bowl games in 1977 and ’78, before leaving for Ohio State, where he replaced Woody Hayes. In Columbus, he led the Buckeyes to three top-10 finishes in nine seasons. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio are among the coaches who served as assistants under Bruce.
108. Warren Woodson, 203-95-14
Central Arkansas (1935-40; 40-8-3), Hardin-Simmons (1941-42, 1946-51; 58-24-6), Arizona (1952-56; 26-22-2), New Mexico State (1958-67; 63-36-3) and Trinity (1972-73; 16-5-0)
Woodson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989, honoring a career that began at the junior college level in Texas before successful stints at five four-year schools. On nine occasions, one of Woodson’s players led the nation in rushing, and in 1946 — after returning from service in World War II — he led Conway Teachers, now known as Central Arkansas, to an 11-0 record.
109. Don Faurot, 163-93-13
Kirksville State (1926-34; 63-13-3), Missouri (1935-42, 46-56; 100-80-10), Iowa Pre-Flight (1943; 9-1) and Jacksonville Naval Station (1944; 4-3)
Known for creating the Split-T formation that helped Missouri to a pair of Big Six championships (1941-42), Faurot also spent time coaching at Kirksville State (now Truman State College), Iowa Pre-Flight and Jacksonville Naval Station. The field at Missouri is named in his honor.
110. Jimbo Fisher, 101-32
Florida State (2010-17; 85-23) and Texas A&M (2018-present; 16-9)
In eight seasons at Florida State, Fisher won three conference titles and the BCS national championship in 2013. He also coached quarterback Jameis Winston to the Heisman Trophy in 2013. In 10 full seasons, Fisher has failed to win nine games just twice, including his final year in Tallahassee before leaving for a 10-year, $75 million contract at Texas A&M.
111. Wally Butts, 140-86-9
Butts led the Bulldogs to four SEC titles and five bowl wins, including victories in the Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls. He coached Frank Sinkwich to the Heisman Trophy in 1942, when the Bulldogs went 11-1 and beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Frank Leahy called Butts “football’s finest passing coach.”
112. Fisher DeBerry, 169-109-1
Air Force (1984-2006)
DeBerry was honored with multiple national coach of the year awards in 1985 when the Falcons went 12-1, beat Notre Dame and defeated Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl. He guided Air Force to 14 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies. DeBerry was the WAC Coach of the Year three times and won at least 10 games in four seasons.
113. Vernon (Skip) McCain, 102-21-5
Maryland State (1948-63)
Maryland State (now Maryland Eastern Shore) was a football powerhouse among historical black colleges under McCain, who was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He never had a losing season, won four conference titles and was 4-0 against legendary coach Eddie Robinson.
114. Darrell Mudra, 200-81-4
Adams State (1959-62; 32-4-1), North Dakota State (1963-65; 24-6), Arizona (1967-68; 11-9-1), Western Illinois (1969-73; 39-13), Florida State (1974-75; 4-18), Eastern Illinois (1978-82; 47-15-1) and Northern Iowa (1983-87; 43-16-1)
Mudra won Division II national titles at both North Dakota State (1965) and Eastern Illinois (1978). He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
115. Bennie Owen, 155-60-19
Washburn (1900; 6-2), Bethany (1901-04; 27-4-3) and Oklahoma (1905-26; 122-54-16)
The longest-tenured coach in Oklahoma history, Owen guided the Sooners to three conference titles and four unbeaten seasons in his 22 seasons in Norman. He also coached the Oklahoma basketball team for 13 seasons.
116. Jackie Sherrill, 180-120-4
Washington State (1976; 3-8), Pittsburgh (1977-81; 50-9-1), Texas A&M (1982-1988; 52-28-1) and Mississippi State (1991-2003; 75-75-2)
After winning two national titles as a player under Bear Bryant at Alabama, Sherrill was a head coach for 26 years, finishing in the top 10 of the AP poll on six occasions. He led Pittsburgh to three straight 11-1 seasons from 1979-81, capping the ’81 season with a Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. Sherrill directed Texas A&M to three Southwest Conference titles and Cotton Bowl appearances from 1985-87.
117. Jim Sochor, 156-41-5
UC Davis (1970-88)
In 19 years at UC Davis, Sochor won 18 conference titles and lost just one conference game in his final 15 seasons. In 1982, the Aggies were the Division II runner-up, and Sochor was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
118. Dave Maurer, 129-23-3
Maurer led Wittenberg (Ohio) to four Division III title game appearances, winning championships in 1973 and ’75. He never finished with a losing record and only once, in 15 years, finished worse than second place in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
119. Pat Dye, 153-62-5
East Carolina (1974-79; 48-18-1), Wyoming (1980; 6-5) and Auburn (1981-92; 99-39-4)
Prior to Dye’s arrival at Auburn, the Tigers had won just one SEC title in 48 seasons. In his 12 years on the Plains, they won or shared four SEC championships and had eight top-20 finishes in the AP poll. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
120. Hugo Bezdek, 124-53-16
Oregon (1906 and 1913-17; 30-10-4), Arkansas (1908-12; 29-13-1) and Penn State (1918-29; 65-30-11)
Bezdek’s unique coaching career saw him serve as a head coach in college football, college basketball, college baseball, Major League Baseball and the NFL. He coached in three Rose Bowls — with Oregon, Mare Island (a team he coached for just that game), and Penn State — and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1954.
121. Robert Zuppke, 131-81-12
Zuppke won three national titles, seven Big Ten titles and is the winningest coach in Illinois history. However, his contributions to football might be even greater. He is credited with coming up with the pre-snap huddle, the screen pass, long-snapping on punts, the linebacker position and the flea-flicker play.
122. Marino Casem, 159-93-8
Alabama State (1963; 2-8), Alcorn State (1964-1985; 139-70-8) and Southern (1987-88, 1992; 18-15)
In 22 seasons at Alcorn State, Casem won seven conference titles and four black college national championships, including back-to-back titles in 1968 and 1969. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, and he gave this legendary quote summing up the sport to the Hattiesburg (Mississippi) American in 1983: “In the East, where the Ivy Leaguers are, it’s a cultural experience. In the West, with Stanford and all those people out there, it’s a tourist attraction. In the Midwest, with Nebraska and those folks, it’s a form of cannibalism. But in the South, where we reside, football is a religion and Saturday is a holy day of obligation.”
123. Gene Stallings, 89-70-1
Texas A&M (1965-71; 27-45-1) and Alabama (1990-1996; 62-25)
Stallings’ seven-year run at Alabama included a national championship in 1992 and five bowl victories, but it also came with controversy, as the Tide were forced to forfeit eight wins and a tie in the 1993 season. In seven years at Texas A&M, his alma mater, Stallings won one conference title.
124. Frank Howard, 165-118-12
In 30 years at Clemson, Howard’s teams finished ranked in the final AP poll six times and won or shared six ACC conference titles. In 1948 and ’50, Clemson finished unbeaten. Howard was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
125. Francis Schmidt, 159-56-11
Tulsa (1919-21; 24-3-2), Arkansas (1922-1928; 42-20-3), TCU (1929-33; 47-5-5), Ohio State (1934-40; 39-16-1) and Idaho (1941-42; 7-12)
In 24 seasons, Schmidt won two conference championships apiece at TCU and Ohio State. In his first season as a head coach at Tulsa, Schmidt’s team went undefeated and outscored their opponents 592-27.
126. Jeff Devanney, 96-19
Devanney has been nothing short of dominant since taking over as Trinity’s head coach in December 2005, taking home NESCAC Coach of the Year honors four times in 14 seasons. His teams have gone undefeated three times, and they’ve won five conference titles.
127. Bennie Oosterbaan, 63-33-4
Never mind that Oosterbaan was the first player to ever have his number retired at Michigan. As if that legacy wasn’t enough, he went on to lead the Maize and Blue to an undefeated season and national championship during his first year coaching in 1948. He won three conference titles and finished in the top 10 four times.
128. Clark Shaughnessy, 150-117-17
Tulane (1915-20 and 1922-26; 59-28-7), Loyola (Louisiana) (1927-32; 37-19-5), Chicago (1933-39; 17-34-4), Stanford (1940-41; 16-3), Maryland (1942 and 1946; 10-8), Pittsburgh (1943-45; 10-17) and Hawaii (1965; 1-8-1)
Shaughnessy was such a forward thinker that he’s credited as the founder of the T-formation and one of the men who revolutionized the forward pass. And he won a lot, 150 games in all, while he was at it. He took over a 1-7-1 Stanford team in 1940 and promptly finished 10-0, winning the Pacific Coast Conference and beating Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. Shaughnessy was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968.
129. Bill Edwards, 176-46-8
Western Reserve (1934-40; 57-7-2), Vanderbilt (1949-52; 21-19-2) and Wittenberg (1955-68; 98-20-4)
Sports Illustrated once described him as a cross between Santa Claus and Genghis Khan. But you can call him a College Football Hall of Fame coach who led his teams to unbeaten seasons six times and won two national titles at Wittenberg (1962 and 1964).
130. Jim Crowley, 78-21-10
Michigan State (1929-32, 22-8-3) and Fordham (1933-41; 56-13-7)
A former member of the revered Four Horsemen at Notre Dame, Crowley helped build Michigan State back to prominence, finishing 7-1 in his final season in East Lansing. Then he went to Fordham and really made his mark, winning 56 games and taking the Rams to the Cotton and Sugar bowls.
131. Jesse Harper, 57-17-7
Alma (1906-07; 8-3-4), Wabash (1909-12, 15-9-2) and Notre Dame (1913-17; 34-5-1)
First, Harper won a bunch of games at Alma and Wabash, 23 in all. But it was at Notre Dame where his legacy was truly shaped. He championed the forward pass and used it to upset Army in 1913. He also hired an assistant by the name of Knute Rockne. Before handing the reins off to Rockne in 1918, Harper went 34-5-1 in five seasons in South Bend. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.
132. Dick Strahm, 183-64-5
You can’t talk about the history of NAIA football without mentioning Strahm, who in 24 seasons as a head coach finished 183-46-5, including a sterling 36-2-2 run from 1995-97. All in all, he won four NAIA titles, 13 conference titles and developed 38 NAIA All-Americans.
133. Gil Steinke, 182-61-4
Texas A&I (1954-76)
Perhaps the most enduring mark on Steinke’s resume was that he coached the first team in Texas to integrate in 1960. He won a lot, too. At Texas A&I (now Texas A&M Kingsville), he led his alma mater to 10 conference titles and six NAIA national championships. Steinke was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.
134. Mike Donahue, 122-54-8
Auburn (1904-06 and 1908-22; 99-35-5) and LSU (1923-27; 23-19-3)
As is the case at a lot of colleges, Donahue was so successful a coach that the city of Auburn named a street after him. The Yale graduate’s 99 wins on The Plains are still tied for second all time at the school and include three unbeaten seasons (1904, 1914 and 1914) and three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles. During the 1914 season, his team didn’t allow a single point. Donahue was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
135. Leo (Dutch) Meyer, 109-79-13
If your resume includes two of the most distinguished quarterbacks in college football history, then you were obviously doing something right. But Meyer didn’t just develop all-timers Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien. He won 109 games in 19 seasons at his alma mater, including three Southwest Conference titles and the 1938 national championship.
136. Mark Richt, 171-64
Georgia (2001-15; 145-51), Miami (2016-18; 26-13)
Longevity in the SEC is hard to come by, but Richt earned a long run at Georgia by going 145-52 in 15 seasons. In that span, he won two conference championships, made five SEC title game appearances, posted nine 10-win seasons and developed 14 first-round picks.
137. Andy Smith, 116-32-13
Penn (1909-12; 30-10-3), Purdue (1913-15; 12-6-3), California (1916-25; 74-16-7)
Smith was impressive at Penn and Purdue. But try to find a better five-year run in college football history than the one he had at Cal from 1920-24. It’s almost impossible. Those so-called “Wonder Teams” didn’t lose a single game, finishing 44-0-4.
138. Dick Farley, 114-19-3
You want consistency? How about a 128-game streak without losing back-to-back games? What about sheer greatness? Can we interest you in six unbeaten seasons and four conference titles?
139. Percy Haughton, 96-17-6
Cornell (1899-1900; 17-5), Harvard (1908-16; 71-7-5), Columbia (1923-24; 8-5-1)
He invented the hidden-ball trick, and he could have stopped there with his legacy secured. But Haughton accomplished much more than that, posting five unbeaten years at Harvard during a stretch from 1908-14 and winning the national championship in 1912, 1913 and 1920.
140. Les Miles, 145-64
Oklahoma State (2001-04; 28-21), LSU (2005-16; 114-34) and Kansas (2019-present; 3-9)
The Mad Hatter chomped grass, faked field goals and won a whole bunch of ballgames during his remarkable 11-year run at LSU. He led the Tigers to a national championship (2007), a pair of conference titles and posted seven 10-win seasons.
141. Herb Deromedi, 110-55-10
Central Michigan (1978-93)
Deromedi is the winningest coach in Central Michigan history and the second-winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history. Frank Solich passed him in 2019. Deromedi twice won Coach of the Year honors and took home three conference titles during his 16-year run as head coach. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
142. George Munger, 82-42-10
Munger’s Penn teams dominated their competition, taking home the mythical Ivy League championship nine times in 16 seasons. What’s more, he led his team to finishes in the final AP poll six times, including two placements inside the top 10.
143. Earl Banks, 95-30-2
Morgan State (1960-73)
Banks couldn’t lose at Morgan State. In 14 seasons, he never had a losing record. He sent 41 players to the NFL and posted three unbeaten seasons and 31 straight wins from 1965-68. Banks was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
144. Bill McCartney, 93-55-5
McCartney won seven games in his first three years at Colorado and never had a losing season again. The all-time leader in wins at the school, he won three conference championships, won the school’s only national championship (in 1990) and played for the national championship in 1989. McCartney coached 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
145. W.C. Gorden, 119-47-5
Jackson State (1976-91)
Gorden won conference coach of the year six times during his 15-plus seasons at Jackson State, where he finished with the most wins in program history. He led his team to eight conference titles and nine playoff appearances. Gorden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
146. Jack Mollenkopf, 84-39-9
Winning 84 games in 14 seasons will earn you plenty of respect. But at Purdue, when you go 21-6-1 against in-state rivals Notre Dame and Indiana, you get a plaque and so much more. Mollenkopf not only did that, but he also won a share of one Big Ten conference title and led the Boilermakers to a 14-13 Rose Bowl win over USC on Jan. 2, 1967.
147. Tommy Prothro, 104-55-5
Oregon State (1955-64; 63-37-2) and UCLA (1965-70; 41-18-3)
Prothro inherited an Oregon State team that went 1-8 and promptly turned the Beavers into a powerhouse, going 63-37-2 in 10 seasons and coaching the team to two Rose Bowls. Prothro took the Bruins to the 1966 Rose Bowl, where they beat Michigan State. Prothro is the only coach to field Heisman Trophy winners at two schools (Terry Baker at Oregon State and Gary Beban at UCLA).
148. Bill Manlove, 212-111-1
Widener (1969-91; 182-54-1), Delaware Valley (1992-95; 10-29) and La Salle (1997-01; 20-28)
Manlove made Widener (Pennsylvania Military College before 1972) the class of the Middle Atlantic Conference. He won two Division II championships, made seven playoff berths and won 10 conference titles during his 21 consecutive winning seasons there. Then, at Delaware Valley and La Salle, he earned a spot in the rarefied air of the 200-win club.
149. K.C. Keeler, 233-95-1
Rowan (1993-01; 88-21-1), Delaware (2002-12; 86-52) and Sam Houston State (2014-present; 59-22)
Keeler has had only two losing seasons in 26 years as a head coach, and he won a whopping 233 games. He took home an FCS championship in 2003, won nine conference titles and has made 15 postseason appearances.
150. Bill Yeoman, 160-108-8
Yes, Yeoman practically built Houston into the successful program it is today, winning 160 games, including four Southwest Conference titles and four top-10 finishes, in 25 seasons. But he has another, perhaps more indelible distinction: He invented the veer formation, which is the bedrock of option-based offenses today.