College football fans love stats and history. The most important stat when fans reference history is wins. Just as important in the hearts and minds of college football fans are the men who brought their beloved teams those wins.
The history of college football runs through legendary coaches who built their respective programs by winning consistently. This is a top 25 list of the coaches who have won the most games in college football history at every level.
All-Time Winningest College Football Coaches
1. John Gagliardi – 489 wins
Gagliardi coached at Carroll (MT) and St. John's (MN) during his career, taking home four national titles in the process. He also coached basketball at Carroll and hockey at St. John's for a handful of years.
2. Joe Paterno – 409 wins
Easily the most controversial name on this list, but you can't argue with his on-field results. He spent every one of his 45 seasons as a college football head coach at Penn State. He brought home two national titles during his tenure.
3. Eddie Robinson – 408 wins
You know a guy had a decent career when there's a coach of the year award named after him. Robinson spent his entire head coaching career at Grambling, where he won nine black college national titles. He also coached Grambling's basketball team from 1943-56.
4. Bobby Bowden – 377 wins
Bowden began his head coaching career at Samford (AL) before moving on to West Virginia and then turning Florida State into a national power. He won two national titles in his career.
5. Ken Sparks – 338 wins
Sparks spent his entire career at Carson-Newman (TN) from 1980 to 2016. He won five NAIA Division I titles during that time.
6. Larry Kehres – 332 wins
Kehres was responsible for turning Mount Union (OH) football into one of the most storied programs in the history of the sport. During his 27 seasons at Mount Union, he brought home 11 NCAA Division III national titles.
7. Kevin Donley – 326 wins
Donley has the most wins of any active coach in college football. He has been a true journeyman throughout his head coaching career. Since landing his first job at Anderson (IN) in 1978, he has made stops in Georgetown (KY), California (PA), and St. Francis (PA) — where he coaches now. He has three NAIA titles to his name.
8. Bear Bryant – 323 wins
There may not be a more famous name in the history of college football coaches. Bryant made stops in Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Alabama during his legendary career. When all was said and done, he took home six national championships.
9. Pop Warner – 319 wins
The man whose name is synonymous with youth football began his career at Georgia in 1895 before making stops at Iowa State, Cornell, Carlisle (PA), Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Temple. He also coached the Cornell baseball team for two seasons. He won four national championships in his career.
T-10. Roy Kidd – 314 wins
Kidd spent 39 seasons at the helm of the Eastern Kentucky program. He won two NCAA I-AA (now FCS) titles during his tenure there.
T-10. Amos Alonzo Stagg – 314 wins
Stagg coached from 1890 to 1946, making stops at Springfield (IL), Chicago, and Pacific (CA) along the way. He won two national titles along the way, while also coaching the basketball, baseball and track teams at Chicago.
12. Frosty Westering – 305 wins
Westering coached at Parsons (IA), Lea (MN), and Pacific-Luthern (WA) between 1962 and 2003. He won three NAIA titles and one NCAA Division III title during that time.
13. Tubby Raymond – 300 wins
Raymond spent his entire head coaching career at Delaware from 1966 through 2001. He finished with three national titles.
14. Larry Wilcox – 289 wins
Wilcox has coached at Benedictine (KS) since 1979. He has guided the program to the NAIA playoffs 13 times so far.
15. Ron Schipper – 287 wins
Schipper was the head man at Central (IA) from 1961 through 1996. His team brought home the 1974 NCAA Div. III national championship.
16. Frank Beamer – 280 wins
After coaching at Murray State for six seasons, Beamer made his way to Blacksburg, Va., in 1987 and put Hokie football on the map. He led Virginia Tech to seven conference titles and an appearance in the BCS Championship Game in 2000 (1999 season).
17. Monte Cater – 275 wins
Cater coached at Lakeland (WI) from 1981 until 1986, then took over at Shepherd (WV) in 1987. He coached there until 2017. He led his programs to a total of 19 conference titles.
18. Bob Ford – 265 wins
Ford coached at St. Lawrence (NY) from 1965 until 1968. He took over at Albany (NY) in 1973 and remained at the head of the Great Dane program until 2013. He led his teams to nine conference titles. He also coached the Albany lacrosse team for three seasons in the 1970s.
19. Dennis Douds – 264 wins
Douds spent his entire career as a head coach at East Stroudsburg (PA). From 1974 through 2018, he won four conference titles and nine division titles.
20. Roger Harring – 261 wins
Harring led the Wisconsin-La Crosse program from 1969 through 1999. During that span, his teams won an NAIA Div. II nation title and two NCAA Div. III national titles.
21. Hank Biesiot – 258 wins
Biesiot spent his head coaching career at Dickinson State (ND) from 1976 until 2013. His teams won 14 conference championships. He was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2006.
T-22. LaVell Edwards – 257 wins
Edwards was the head coach at BYU from 1972 through 2000. His teams won 19 conference titles and one national championship in 1984.
T-22. Frank Girardi – 257 wins
Girardi coaching at Lycoming (PA) from 1972 through 2007. His teams won 10 conference titles during that stretch.
T-22. Andy Talley – 257 wins
Talley coached at St. Lawrence (NY) from 1979 until 1983. He then took over at Villanova and made the Wildcats a national power, retiring in 2016. His team won seven conference titles and the 2009 Division I FCS national title.
T-25. Tom Osborne – 255 wins
Osborne took the torch from Bob Devaney in 1973 and led the Nebraska program until 1997. During that time, the Cornhuskers became one of the most dominant forces in college football. His Nebraska teams won 13 conference titles and three national championships.
T-25. Jim Malosky – 255 wins
Malosky coached Minnesota-Duluth from 1958 through 1997. His Bulldog teams took home 11 conference titles under his watch.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, USA Today and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.