10 Best College Football Coaches
There’s no such thing as continuity when it comes to players in NCAA football. No sooner does a team perfectly come together than the NFL draft steals most of the best players, causing the cycle to begin again. For a program to win consistently, it takes an overarching process and dedication to excellence, usually embodied in the head coach.
From the recruiting trail to the practice field, and then to the sideline on game day, these 10 coaches are the best college football has to offer:
10. Gary Patterson, TCU
TCU had a rare poor season, finishing 6-7, but Patterson has proven himself to be a consistent winner in his career, posting 10 seasons with double digit wins. He brought the TCU program through four conferences to the Big 12, and will doubtless right the ship soon.
9. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Gundy has been right on the cusp of breaking into the coaching elite for a number of years now, and with Bob Stoops departing Oklahoma, this may be Gundy’s chance to take the next step and lead his team to the playoff.
8. Mark Richt, Miami, Fla.
Richt had a successful first reason at Miami, and the arrow is pointed up for the program under his leadership. Perpetually underrated, Richt has the potential to change that perception in the coming years if he can elevate Miami to the top of the ACC.
7. David Shaw, Stanford
Since taking over at Stanford, Shaw has been quietly consistent, winning at least 10 games in five of six seasons. Shaw has kept Stanford in the position of perpetual contender in the Pac-12.
6. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Harbaugh has the potential to blast off into the top tier of NCAA coaches if he can mold his multiple top-five recruiting classes into a national champion. For now, it’s fair to say that he’s a proven winner looking to take the next step to the elite champion group.
5. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Fisher has been ruling the state of Florida in recent years, dominating the ACC and recruiting top class after top class. And he knows how to translate those outstanding recruiting classes into winning football, too.
4. Chris Petersen, Washington
The unassuming Petersen is at it again, doing for Washington what he did at little Boise St. By some kind of magic, he’s able to take recruiting classes that Urban Meyer or Nick Saban would laugh at and build competitive teams that can go toe to toe with the big boys.
3. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Swinney has elevated his program and himself to elite status, posting six straight 10+ win seasons and two national championship appearances in a row. It’s no slight on Swinney that he’s number 3, only a testament to how great the top two are.
2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Meyer is a master recruiter who surrounds himself with elite assistant coaching talent, creating a juggernaut of a program where the expectation is championship or bust. He’d be the absolute standard for the profession, were it not for Nick Saban.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama
Alabama hasn’t lost more than two games in a season since 2010. Saban has won five national championships in his career. There’s Saban, and then there’s everybody else right now.