Top Five College Football Head Coaches to Never Win a National Championship

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Top Five College Football Head Coaches to Never Win a National Championship

Football

Top Five College Football Head Coaches to Never Win a National Championship

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Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

College football has a rich history of legendary coaches who have made significant contributions to the sport and have left a lasting impact on the programs they led. In this article, we will take a closer look at five of the most successful coaches in college football history who never won a National Championship. Each of these coaches have had long and successful careers in college football, but despite their many successes, they were never able to win a National Championship. However, their impact on the game and the success they brought to their respective programs cannot be denied.

 

1. Bill Snyder – Kansas State University

Bill Snyder, who coached at Kansas State from 1989 to 2005 and again from 2009 to 2018, is widely considered one of the best college football coaches to never win a National Championship. Under Snyder, the Kansas State football program experienced a remarkable turnaround. When Snyder first took over as head coach in 1989, the program had only one winning season in the previous 84 years and was considered one of the worst in college football. 

However, Snyder quickly implemented several changes that helped to transform the program into a consistent winner, earning the Wildcats 11 bowl appearances and winning two Big 12 Conference titles. Snyder also coached numerous All-Americans and NFL players during his tenure at Kansas State.

2. Bo Schembechler – University of Michigan

Bo Schembechler, who coached Michigan from 1969 to 1989, is one of the most iconic figures in college football history. Schembechler is best known for his intense rivalry with Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, which helped define college football in the 1970s and 1980s. Schembechler’s teams were known for their physicality and toughness. He emphasized a power-running game on offense and a hard-nosed, aggressive defense. This style of play was a perfect fit for the Big Ten Conference, which was known for its tough, physical play. 

Under Schembechler, the Wolverines won 13 Big Ten Conference championships and made 10 appearances in the Rose Bowl. Despite his many successes, Schembechler never won a National Championship, but he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

 

3. Gary Patterson – Texas Christian University

Gary Patterson, who had been the head coach at TCU from 2000-2021, is one of the most successful coaches in college football today. Patterson led the Horned Frogs to 12 bowl appearances and four conference championships, including a perfect 13-0 season in 2010. Patterson had also been named conference Coach of the Year multiple times. He is known for his defensive expertise and his ability to develop top-ranked defenses year after year. He was the architect of the Horned Frogs’ defense for over two decades, and his teams were consistently among the top defenses in the nation. Patterson truly transformed the TCU football program into one of the most respected and successful in college football even after his departure. 

 

4. Frank Beamer – Virginia Tech

Frank Beamer, who coached Virginia Tech from 1987 to 2015, is one of the most successful coaches in college football history. Beamer is best known for his tenure at Virginia Tech, where he led the Hokies to 23 straight bowl appearances and four conference championships. One of the hallmarks of Beamer’s coaching style was his emphasis on special teams play. He was known for creating unique and effective special teams schemes that often resulted in game-changing plays. 

Beamer also placed a strong emphasis on discipline, hard work, and attention to detail, and his teams were known for their physicality and toughness. He coached numerous All-Americans and NFL players during his tenure at Virginia Tech. Despite his many successes, Beamer never won a National Championship, but he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

 

5. John Cooper – Ohio State University

John Cooper, who coached Ohio State from 1988 to 2000, is one of the most successful coaches in college football history. Cooper is best known for his tenure at Ohio State, where he led the Buckeyes to three conference championships and 10 bowl appearances. One of the hallmarks of Cooper’s coaching style was his focus on offense. He was known for his innovative offensive schemes and his ability to develop high-powered offenses. 

Cooper’s emphasis was on discipline, hard work, and attention to detail, and his teams were known for their ability to execute complex plays and schemes with precision. Cooper coached numerous All-Americans and NFL players during his tenure at Ohio State. Despite his many successes, Cooper never won a National Championship, but he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

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