All-Time Coaching Wins: Mack Brown ready to pass Bo Schembechler

The 2013 season should be one light on coaching milestones outside of a handful of new coaches earning their first career coaching victories here and there. As I suspect will be the case for a long time, the top ten leader board for all-time coaching victories will see nothing more than a few changes after 2015. This year will see some minor editing done though with Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown needing just one win to officially remove Iowa legend Hayden Fry from the top ten and just five wins to pass Michigan icon Bo Schembechler.

Here’s a quick look at the current coaching wins top ten in division one, with adjustments in place to account for NCAA vacating wins for Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Florida State’s (and West Virginia’s) Bobby Bowden.

Rank Coach Wins
1 Bobby Bowden 346*
2 Bear Bryant 323
3 Pop Warner 311
4 Joe Paterno 298*
5 Amos Alonzo Stagg 275
6 LaVell Edwards 257
7 Tom Osborne 254
8 Lou Holtz 249
9 Bo Schembechler 234
10 Mack Brown
Hayden Fry
230

* = NCAA sanctions stripped Bobby Bowden of 11 wins (357 total wins) and Joe Paterno of 111 wins (409 total wins).

Yesterday I adjusted the top ten passing yards and passing touchdown lists to account for postseason games not counted by the NCAA, so I realize this may appear to be a conflict in logic in keeping out vacated wins. In this instance I decided that sticking to the official record books is fair game even if I think the vacating of victories is one of the least effective forms of punishment. Ultimately I do not think it will mean much for the future of the top ten because I am not sure any coach will sniff the top four spots ever again because coaches just do not stick around that long any more.

Brown will begin the 2013 season with 230 career victories, tied for tenth all time with Fry. He is the only active coach in the top ten in 2013 and it is probably a safe bet to say that tie will be broken in week one when the Longhorns host New Mexico State on August 31. But when might Brown pass Bo? It should absolutely happen this season, but predicting just when it occurs is another thing. He needs five wins. The way I see it that could come as early as October 3 at Iowa State or as late as November 28 against Texas Tech if things really start to go poorly. My guess is the fifth win comes November 2 at home against Kansas (losses to BYU, Oklahoma and TCU causing the delay).

After Brown moves past Bo we will have to wait and see whether or not he i coming back in 2014 before analyzing his chances to pass Lou Holtz and start to make a run for Nebraska’s Tom Osborne. If he comes back in 2014, that probably means Texas wins 11 games in 2013 and that puts him in good position to make a run to pass Holtz. Osborne is likely out of realistic reach, which means LaVell Edwards is secure at sixth and the top five is in no danger regardless of what happens.

Other Milestones To Watch

Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer enters the season with 216 career wins (next in line behind Mack Brown and Hayden Fry). Cracking the top ten will be impossible this season but he could realistically do so in 2014.

Bill Snyder won’t be achieving any significant milestones at Kansas State this season but he could very well be passing some recognizable names on his way up the standings. The coach with a stadium named after him could be passing a handful of coaches with similar honors. With 170 wins, Snyder is in position to pass Duke’s Wallace Wade (171 wins), Tennessee’s Bob Neyland (173) and Auburn’s Ralph Jordan (175). Seven wins would allow Snyder to pass Arizona State’s Frank Kush (176), although Kush only has a field named after him instead of a stadium.

Two coaches are about to pick up their 200th career victory. Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (199 wins including those earned at Division 2 Grand Valley State) and Texas State’s Dennis Franchione (197 wins) should be able to pull that milestone off rather easily this season.

Missouri’s Gary Pinkel is closing in on 100 wins with the Tiger (163 including his time at Toledo), which would tie him for most in school history with Don Faurot. I’m not counting on a 10-win season out of the Tigers, but we’ll keep an eye on this anyway.

Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is one win shy of achieving his 150th career win.

Eight coaches in college football history have won at least ten bowl games. Virginia Tech’s Beamer and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier could each join that list, entering the year with nine bowl wins each. Nick Saban has eight bowl victories, but that includes three national championship rings.

Creeping toward 100 wins, but on hold for 2014

Washington State’s Mike Leach enters the season with 87 career wins. The Cougars would have to go undefeated in the regular season and win the Pac 12 championship or a bowl game to get Leach to the century mark.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has 86 FBS career wins (149 including 62 career wins with FCS Georgia Southern). The Yellow Jackets would have to run the table in the regular season, win the ACC Championship and then win a bowl game to get Johnson to 100 wins.

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen begins the 2013 season with 84 wins. If you can count on the Broncos getting to 10 wins, reaching 100 career wins in 2014 should happen rather easily next year.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is also sitting on 84 wins, but could have a more difficult time reaching the century mark in 2014. Can you count on the Wildcats winning eight games the next two seasons? It’s certainly a possibility but a difficult task.

About the author

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.