Which College Coaches Have Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?

Steve Spurrier is nearing the century mark by our count

This is a big year for Steve Spurrier. Not only does the Head Ball Coach turn 70, he’ll also see his 100th player picked in the NFL Draft.


During his time as a head coach at South Carolina, Florida and Duke, Spurrier has coached 99 players who were selected in the following NFL Draft, the most among active coaches.


Many outlets will count how many NFL Draft picks a particular school or conference can call their own, but we haven’t seen the tally yet for head coaches.


This, hopefully, will remedy that. Using Pro Football Reference as a resource, we charted every draft pick for active coaches in FBS.


The data wasn’t totally surprising — coaches who have been around for a while have churned out the most draft picks. Frank Beamer has coached long enough to watch multiple players of his drafted in the 12th round.


A few disclaimers:


• This exercise is looking merely at head coaches, mainly because it’s the most interesting and most easily quantifiable look. Coordinators and position coaches play as much of a role for these future pros as head coaches, if not more. At the same time, some of these guys would be drafted if they were coached by Vince Lombardi or Vince Gill.


• This is an inexact science. We assigned players to their most recent coach before the draft. For example, Urban Meyer coached Ohio State’s draft classes since 2013 and Florida’s NFL draft classes from 2006 to 2011 (he coached at Florida from 2005-10). In other words, a draftee may have played his first three seasons for Coach A and his senior season for Coach B. In that case, the tally goes to Coach B.


And on to the charts:


Total NFL Draft Picks, By Coach


  Coach Total Picks Picks at Current School
1. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 99 31
2. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 92 90
3. Nick Saban, Alabama 82 41
4. Mark Richt, Georgia 74 74
5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 70 70
6. Les Miles, LSU 67 60
7. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa 55 55
8. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 50 7*
9. Larry Coker, UTSA 47 0
10. Urban Meyer, Ohio State 44 9
11. Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati 40 0
T12. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame 36 19
T12. Frank Solich, Ohio 36 6
14. Gary Patterson, TCU 34 34
T15. Mike Riley, Nebraska 32 0
T15. Dennis Franchione, Texas State 32 0*
17. Gary Pinkel, Missouri 31 27
T18. George O'Leary, UCF 29 14
T18. Bret Bielema, Arkansas 29 4
20. Dabo Swinney, Clemson 28 28

*in his current stint with this team


Total First-Round Picks, By Coach


  Coach Total Picks Picks at Current School
1. Nick Saban, Alabama 21 16
2. Larry Coker, UTSA 20 0
3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 17 4
4. Les Miles, LSU 15 13
5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 13 13
T6. Mark Richt, Georgia 11 11
T6. Urban Meyer, Ohio State 11 2
8. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 8 8
T9. Gary Pinkel, Missouri 7 6
T9. Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati 7 0


Draft Picks for Recently Retired/Inactive Coaches


Coach Total Picks
Joe Paterno 251
Bobby Bowden 182
Mack Brown 101
Phillip Fulmer 92
Dennis Erickson% 74
Jim Tressel 69
Lloyd Carr 62
Pete Carroll 60
Mike Bellotti 46
Butch Davis 45

%still active as a position coach in college

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