College football has seen a lot its coaches down through the years have successful seasons and careers.
However, to create an all-time register of each mentor that has patrolled a sideline, even for just a season, would be a monumental task—as it would read like a “Who’s Who” in the sport’s long and distinguished history.
Just 10 coaches would stand-out among the many men who have led a collegiate team out of the tunnel and on to the field.
These coaches are the only ones who have won at least 300 games in career—with two surpassing 400 plus career victories (one at just a single school).
Early college football, teams were led by player coaches (team captains)—more often than not, he was also an alumnus of the team he was coaching; and, at times, would stay just a single-season.
As with most of the game’s event during its formative falls, schools on the East Coast would play a part of the development of the historical events of the game.
The game was in 13th year of existence when two men would be the first to have been officially called, coach.
Harvard and Richmond, in 1881, would share the honor having men being the first to be called “coach.”
Lucius Laittauer would lead the Crimson to a 5-1-2 mark (their best record to date); with M.C. Taylor leading Richmond to a spotless mark in a pair of games.  Stars of an Earlier Autumn
As the game continued to grow and advance through the years, it would be 11 years before a coach would take a hold of the reins and establish himself in a lengthy career.
The first of many All-Time successful coaches was Amos Alonzo Stagg.
Stagg’s eventual Hall of Fame career didn’t begin on the best of terms. His began his career began at Springfield (Mass.) in 1890; staying just two seasons; compiling a 10-11-1 slate.
He was far from ready to call it a career.
In 1892, Stagg would headed-out to become the initial coach of a new college, the University of Chicago; and would remain in the “Windy City” for 41 years.
A highlight came during his ninth year as coach of the Maroons; winning his 100th career game. Stagg was became the second coach to win 100 games (100-380-7). Two decades later, he won his 200th game (in 275 starts) and 30th year on the sidelines.  Official 2002 NCAA Football Records Book
Following the 1932 season, he was ‘’forced out” as coach of Chicago; but he was far from being through with leading young men.
After being quoted as saying: “I am too young to retire.” He headed-out to California; taking a job with the College of Pacific.
Stagg would to CoP to 60 triumphs and his lone Coach of the Year honor in 1943; as the team finished with a 7-2-0 mark—the last winning season of his remarkable career. .
CoP would only record 4 winning seasons in Stagg’s 14 years on campus; as he would retire following the 1946 season (5-7-0). This would follow his second winless campaign of his career: 0-10-1 in 1945; with the first coming in 1918, 0-6-0 at Chicago.
Stagg’s would leave the sidelines after patrolling them for 55 years on the sidelines. His career record stood at 340-203-36, counting the years at the Springfield school.
Coming along three years after Stagg’s career began would be the next coach to garner 300 or more career triumphs, Glenn S. “Pop” Warner.
Warner would coach at six colleges between the 1895-1938 seasons; winning 318 games.
In his 14th year on the sidelines—in 1908—he would win his 100th career game (100-10-4). He was the second coach that season to top the century mark in career wins. Michigan’s famed Fielding “Hurry-up” Yost, coaching his 145th career game also hit triple digit triumphs.
Like Stagg before him, Warner would win 200 games in the Stars-era (1869-1936); compiling at the time a 200-64-14 slate. Then, four years from retiring, in 1934, “Pop” would become the game’s first coach to win 300 games: 300-91-24.  Stars of an Earlier Autumn
Despite the number of outstanding and victorious coaches that the game has seen; only a small group (of 10) coaches would complete their careers with 300 or more victories.
Following Warner’s accomplishment in 1934; it would be nearly 50 years before another coach would register at least 300 victories.
In the year (1982) that he announced he would be stepping down as coach at the University of Alabama, Paul “Bear” Bryant hung-up his whistle after notching 323 victories.
His career would begin in 1945 and after leading three school to a combined 91 victories; his career would not take off until he returned home, to Alabama—as he often said: “I heard Momma calling” on why he returned to Tuscaloosa.
Six of the members of this select group of mentors would lead teams that were below the Major College level—including three of the t op five—and the winningest coach.
Fifth teen years following Bryant’s retirement; the successful small college coaches would begin to mark their presence known.
Eddie Robinson began his coaching career in 1941. By that he had retired, after the 1997 season, he had transformed Grambling College from a tiny HBCU school, a state school and on to College Football map.
His 55 year tenure would produce many outstanding teams; sending players to the next level and would win a number of HBCU National Championships.
His victory total would make him not only the game’s leader in career wins—a mark he would hold until the end of the 1999 season; but would become the first coach to reach 400 triumphs in a career.
A year after the start of the millennium and for the two years following, three coaches as all would surpass the 300 career victory mark—as the trio would average 306 wins in an overlapping career that began in 1962 and commence in 2003.
Frosty Westering would make his mark on the sidelines out in Washington state; winning four national titles at Pacific Lutheran; three on the NAIA II level and the final one coming five years from his retirement in 1999 in NCAA III.
Westering would win 303 games between the 1962-2003 seasons.
Another coach, Harold “Tubby” Raymond, would spend his entire head coach career with the Delaware Blue Hens.
His career would begin with a bang—as UD would claim the 1963 College Division crown and would win another in this division (1971) adding his third in 1979 while the school was playing in NCAA II.
Raymond, by winning a title in his first year on the sidelines, he became only a handful of coaches to accomplish this in his starting season.
Raymond’s success came about with a different offensive philosophy—he was “old school” as the Blue Hens ran the single-wing.
Roy Kidd took the reins of Eastern Kentucky in 1964; along the way EKY would win the NCAA 1-AA title twice in a four-year period (1979 and 1982).
By the time he stepped down, following the 2002 season his victory total would reach 314; currently eighth on the list and just four triumphs behind Warner.
Bobby Bowden retired as the winningest major college coach, following a legendary career at Florida State. He concluded his 40 years on the sidelines with 377 wins.
At the age of 74, in 2003, he became the top-division’s winning coach, as Florida State stopped ACC foe, Wake Forest, 48-24; giving the coach his 399th win.
During his stay in Tallahassee, Bowden would lead the Seminoles 13 straight seasons with at least 10 wins; including the National Championship following the 1993 and 1999 seasons.
He now sits as third winningest coaches, all-divisions—while remaining the No. 1 in the Bowl Sub Division.
Then there were two.
The last two coaches, and, have earned enough accolades to fill-up walls of their achievement—and more than the other previous eight have, combined.
Currently sitting at No. 1 and No. 4 of the All-Time Winningest Coaches, John Gagliardi (St. John’s Minn.) and Larry Kehres (Mount Union), respectively, have earned more honors not to mention games and titles than the previous eight has, combined.
Both men, retired the same season—after the 2012 season are NCAA III lifers—coaches a combined mark of just three games shy of 1000; winning 821 while recording just 14 ties.
National Championships: They have won 15 over the course of the 1963-2012 seasons. Kehres has claimed 11 top-spots, at Mount Union and Gigliardi winning 4—all at St. John’s (Minn.); evenly divided between the NAIA and NCAA III.
The two have met twice, head-to-head vying for the Amos Alonzo Stagg Trophy—that goes to this divisions’ National Champion, since 1973.
Kehres won the first meeting, in 2000, 10-7; with Gagliardi won the rematch and the NCAA III title in 2003, with a 24-6 victory.
When Gagliardi retired two seasons ago, he left many coaching standards that, in all likely will never be surpassed—let alone equaled.
Let’s take a closer look: 64 years on a sideline—61 at St. John’s. Coaches today just don’t say in one place very long. Coach John, as he was called by all (including his players) was just 11 victories shy of 500 after the 2012 season. His teams scored a remarkable 18,458 (in 638 games). This was 1997 points ahead of second place finisher, Bobby Bowden.
You want to talk about scoring; the read the times that a Larry Kehres-coached team would make the scoreboard lights burn bright during his 29-year career.
From 1993, 95-2012, the Purple Raiders would score 500 or more points in a season; including three seasons over 700+ topping the point plateau in Kehres’ final season; with a high production of 792 points and a record 11th NCAA III National Championship Trophy.
Under his leadership, Mount Union outscored 349 opponents by a 29.6 margin; just under the two coaches after him would combine to tally.
Kehres would be the only coach in this All-Time Top 10 to complete a season without having a season where the opponents’ would outscore one of his teams.
While Kehres and Gagliardi would split the honors of having the most productive scoring teams; Warner would sweep the honors of keeping teams from Lighting-up the Scoreboard. In 457 games, his charges allowed just over a Touchdown per Game, 6.28.
College Football Data Warehouse
1, 3: Stars of an Earlier Autumn
2: NCAA Official 2002 NCAA College Football Records Book
*Coaches’ Offensive Scoring Averages*
|Coach||Career||Record||Points Scored||Offensive Scoring Average|
|John Gagliardi||1949-2012 ||489-138-11 (638) .775||18,458||28.93|
|Bobby Bowden||1959-2009 ||377-129-4 (510) .743||16,461||32.27|
|Eddie G. Robinson||1941-1997 ||408-167-16 (591) .704||16,313||27.6|
|Larry Kehres||1986-2012 ||332-24-3 (359) .929||14,777||41.16|
|Harold R. “Tubby” Raymond||1966-2001 ||300-119-3 (422) .714||12,588||29.83|
|Forrest “Frosty” Westering||1962-2003 ||303-96-7 (406) .755||12,276||30.24|
|Roy Kidd||1964-2002 ||314-124-8 (446) .713||11,227||25.17|
|Paul W. “Bear” Bryant||1945-1982 ||323-85-17 (425) .780||10,265||24.15|
|Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner||1895-1938 ||318-107-32 (457) .731||8993||19.68|
|Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr.||1892-1946 ||330-192-35 (557) .624||8253||14.87|
*Coaches’ Defensive Scoring Averages*
|Coach||Career||Record||Points Allowed||Defensive Scoring Average|
|Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner||1895-1938 ||318-107-32 (457) .731||2870||6.28|
|Larry Kehres||1986-2012 ||332-24-3 (359) .929||4144||11.54|
|Paul W. “Bear” Bryant||1945-1982 ||323-85-17 (425) .780||4275||10.06|
|Amos Alonzo Stagg Sr.||1892-1946 ||330-192-35 (557) .624||4523||8.12|
|Forrest “Frosty” Westering||1962-2003 ||303-96-7 (406) .755||6628||16.33|
|Roy Kidd||1964-2002 ||314-124-8 (446) .713||7048||15.8|
|Harold R. “Tubby” Raymond||1966-2001 ||300-119-3 (422) .714||7622||18.06|
|John Gagliardi||1949-2012 ||489-138-11 (638) .775||8303||13.01|
|Eddie G. Robinson||1941-1997 ||408-167-16 (591) .704||8884||15.03|
|Bobby Bowden||1959-2009 ||377-129-4 (510) .743||9209||18.06|