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Nick Saban Voted the Greatest Coach in College Football History
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Throughout college football history, from the Associated Press national champions to the BCS era and the modern College Football Playoff, legacies are defined by success on the field. Great college coaches produce Heisman Trophy winners. They dominate the SEC and Big Ten for years at a time. Iconic coaches not only reach the Hall of Fame, win numerous bowl games, and even accomplish the rare undefeated season, they patrol the sidelines with an unmistakable swagger that young recruits and fans around the country flock to follow.

Winning national titles, retiring with an impressive winning percentage, and churning out NFL talent are only small pieces of what makes a great college football coach, though. Real leaders turn boys into men, lead their football teams through years of turmoil only to climb the mountain and become the NCAA’s premier program.

To celebrate college football’s 150th season in 2019, Sporting News released its list of the 10 greatest coaches in college football history. Voting included FBS icons and HBCU legends with dozens of championship game appearances between them, but only a select few made the list.

Program-defining head coaches like Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden? They didn’t make the cut. Young and talented leaders making their case among college football’s elite like Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers? His coaching career is too young, and his five conference titles just aren’t enough yet.

Without further ado, here are the greatest college football coaches to ever do it.

Best College Football Coaches of All Time

10. Frank Leahy

AP Photo

Schools: Boston College, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Record: 107-13-9
National Championships: 5

9. Glenn Pop Warner

AP Photo

Schools: Iowa State, Georgia, Cornell, Carlisle, Pitt, Stanford, Temple
Record: 311-103-32
National Championships: 4

8. Urban Meyer

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Schools: Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State
Record: 187-32
National Championships: 3

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7. Eddie Robinson

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Schools: Grambling State
Record: 408-165-1
National Championships: 9 (historically black college & university titles)

6. Joe Paterno

Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Schools: Penn State Nittany Lions
Record: 409-136-3
National Championships: 2

5. Bud Wilkinson

AP Photo/Earl Shugars

Schools: Oklahoma Sooners
Record: 145-29-4
National Championships: 3

4. Woody Hayes

AP Photo

Schools: Denison, Miami (Ohio), Ohio State Buckeyes
Record: 238-72-10
National Championships: 5

3. Tom Osborne

Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Schools: Nebraska
Record: 255-49-3
National Championships: 3

2. Paul “Bear” Bryant

AP Photo

Schools: Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 323-85-17
National Championships: 6

1. Nick Saban

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Schools: Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, Alabama
Record: 245-63-1
National Championships: 6

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Honorable Mentions

Walter Camp
Howard Jones
Barry Switzer
Jock Sutherland
Lou Holtz
Bo Schembechler
Vince Dooley
Frank Beamer
Steve Spurrier

READ MORE: Before Alabama, Bear Bryant was a Certified Badass in the U.S. Navy

John Duffley About the author:
John joins the FanBuzz team with five years of experience freelancing as a sports writer for TheDupes.net and Football.com. A graduate of Penn State University, John currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. He is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
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