The Big Ten is rich with football history.
So it’s natural that some of the best coaches of all time spent years at the conference’s member schools. Thursday, SportsOnEarth’s Matt Brown released the final part of his top 100 college football coaches series. It brought the Big Ten’s total to 25, though some have been omitted from our edition for not spending at least four years in the league.
Ohio State has four coaches on the list, with Urban Meyer and Woody Hayes both in the top 15. Iowa and Michigan also have four, none of which are Jim Harbaugh, and Michigan State is next with three.
Some coaches, like Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame, are much better known for their time at other schools, but spent enough time in the Big Ten to warrant inclusion here.
Coaches who weren’t in the Big Ten at the time (i.e. Tom Osborne) were not included, either.
Brown compiled the list subjectively, but in his words, used “wins, winning percentage, national championships, AP poll finishes, postseason appearances, influence on strategy, staying power, Sports-Reference’s SRS and the coaching context (comparing accomplishments to other coaches at a school or schools with similar profiles).”
Here are the Big Ten coaches who made the cut.
Best Big Ten coaches of all time
99. John Cooper, Ohio State
93. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
86. Jack Mollenkopf, Purdue
85. Hayden Fry, Iowa
74. Forest Evashevski, Iowa
71. Henry Williams, Minnesota
66. Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan
65. Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin
t-64. Lloyd Carr, Michigan
55. Pappy Waldorf, Northwestern
52. Hugo Bezdek, Penn State
45. Jim Tressel, Ohio State
42. Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State
39. Biggie Munn, Michigan State
35. Robert Zuppke, Illinois
32. Fritz Crisler, Michigan
23. Howard Jones, Iowa
21. Ara Parseghian, Northwestern
20. Bo Schembechler, Michigan
15. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
13. Bernie Bierman, Iowa/Minnesota
11. Joe Paterno, Penn State
8. Woody Hayes, Ohio State
7. Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago
5. Fielding Yost, Michigan