Longevity has been the name of the game for the winningest coaches in College Football Division I/FBS history. They wouldn’t have had any chance of compiling as many wins as they have if they weren’t around for very long. A lot goes into being a great college football coach–tactics, scheme, play design, great scouting and recruiting, choosing the right coaching staff, and knowing what players to play and when. These three coaches were legends in their own time.
- Joe Paterno, 409 – Penn State
JoePa’s legacy was certainly tarnished with his dismissal in 2011 on the heels of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal related to former assistant Jerry Sandusky. As punishment, the NCAA vacated all of Penn State–and Paterno’s–wins from 1998 through 2011. In January 2015, the NCAA reversed that decision, restoring all those wins. Paterno coached the Nittany Lions from 1996 through 2011, winning National Championships in 1982 and 1986. He also won three Big Ten titles, and 24 bowl games. He passed away from complications from lung cancer on January 22, 2012–two short months after he was fired.