What College Football Coach Has the Most Wins?

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Penn State coach Joe Paterno, left, and Florida Sate football coach Bobby Bowden share a laugh, Thursday, Dec. 6, 1990 in Fort Laudardale, at a news conference introducing the Blockbuster Bowl coaches. The new bowl game will be played on December 28 in Miami?s Joe Robbie Stadium.
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jun 20, 2024, 1:38 PM

Joe Paterno has won more Div. I college football games than any other head coach in the history of the sport. 

Paterno won 409 total games in 46 seasons at Penn State. 

In the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky revelations, the NCAA at one point moved to vacate all of Paterno’s wins from 1988-2011. The decision dropped Paterno from the top of the list to No. 12.

However, the NCAA agreed to restore Paterno’s wins in a 2015 settlement with Penn State, once again making Paterno the all-time winningest coach in NCAA college football.

Bobby Bowden, head coach at Florida State and a longtime friend and rival to Paterno, is second on the list with 346 wins.

The numbers in the chart below reflect wins earned in major college football. For example, Bowden’s 346 wins include his time at WVU and FSU; however, they do not include his 31 wins at Howard College (now known as Samford).

Additionally, the chart does not acknowledge vacated wins, either.

College Football Coaches With Most Career NCAA Wins

CoachCareer Wins (Major CFB)
Joe Paterno409
Bobby Bowden357
Bear Bryant323
Pop Warner314
Nick Saban292
Amos Alonzo Stagg282
Mack Brown276
LaVell Edwards257
Tom Osborne255
Lou Holtz249
Frank Beamer238
Bo Schembechler234
Hayden Fry230
Steve Spurrier228
Bill Snyder215
Woody Hayes205
Don Nehlen202
Vince Dooley201

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.