Georgia Tech Football: Top Coaches in School History
Georgia Tech has had a number of great head football coaches. A few are in the College Football Hall of Fame, and a few more are likely to be inducted at some point in the future.
With the Hall of Fame soon relocating to downtown Atlanta, a spot that is merely a stone's throw from Grant Field, let's take a moment to rank a few of Tech's very best in its history.
As always, comments (good or bad) are welcome. Enjoy!
6. George O'Leary (1994-2001)
George O'Leary took over Georgia Tech only four years after the Yellow Jackets won their first national title since 1952. He had been on the 1990 staff under Bobby Ross, but left with him for San Diego only a year later.
The return of Coach O'Leary to the Flats brought back a winning tradition that Tech fans got a new taste of under Bobby Ross.
At the helm for eight seasons, O'Leary won a conference title and had a Heisman runner-up in Joe Hamilton, but chose to leave Atlanta for South Bend when he was offered the Notre Dame job.
Eight Seasons, 52-33 overall, 36-22 in ACC, 3-2 in bowl games
Two-time ACC Coach of the Year—1998, 2000
AFCA (Region 1) Coach of the Year—1998
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year- 2000
5. Paul Johnson (2008-Present)
Putting Paul Johnson on this list, the current head coach of the Yellow Jackets, is a bit more about trusting him to stay consistent going forward rather than what he has already accomplished. It is also based on several individual battles more than it is about the war.
Coach Johnson is a proven winner. He wins everywhere he goes and loves proving critics wrong. They said he couldn't run his option offense in the ACC and he won nine games in his first season.
He beat Bobby Bowden in his first two tries, beat rival Mark Richt in his first season and took down Frank Beamer's fourth-ranked Virginia Tech squad and won an ACC Championship in his second season on the Flats.
Johnson will need a crystal football to move any further up the list, but he is a solid top-five candidate.
Four seasons, 34-19 overall, 21-11in ACC, 0-4 in bowl games
Two ACC Coastal Division Championships—2008, 2009
Two-time ACC Coach of the Year—2008, 2009
CBS Sports National Coach of the Year—2008
4. Bobby Ross (1987-1991)
Coach Bobby Ross had a chance to move up quickly among the Georgia Tech coaching greats, but chose to leave for the NFL after his fifth season.
By just his fourth season, Bobby Ross had restored Georgia Tech Football as a national power after being relatively mediocre for the better part of 25 years by finishing first in the 1990 Coaches' Poll, giving his team a share of the national title.
Had Ross not left for San Diego, it is likely he would have seen even more success on the Flats, but with only five seasons, he's solid at fourth on the all-time list.
Five seasons, 31-26-1 overall, 15-18-1 in ACC, 2-0 in bowl games
ACC Coach of the Year—1990
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year—1990
Bear Bryant Coach of the Year—1990
Sporting News CF Coach of the Year—1990
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year—1990
AFCA Coach of the Year—1991
Georgia Tech Hall of Fame—2007
3. John Heisman (1904-1919)
The Heisman Trophy is named after a coach who spent the majority of his career at Georgia Tech. Coach John Heisman spent 16 years on the Flats coaching football, basketball and baseball.
He brought Georgia Tech to its first national title, which was the first ever for a team in the Southeast, and put Georgia Tech athletics on the map as a national powerhouse.
16 seasons, 102-29-7 overall
Three SIAA Championships- 1916, 1917, 1918
Georgia Tech Hall of Fame—1964
College Football Hall of Fame—1954
2. William Alexander (1920-1944)
Bill Alexander learned coaching from John Heisman, who he eventually replaced at Georgia Tech. He was able to slide right into the position and continue the winning ways started by his mentor.
Coach Alexander took Georgia Tech to the Rose Bowl after the 1928 season and brought home a national championship by beating Cal in their own backyard. He would continue his winning ways all the way into the World War II years when his protege Bobby Dodd would pick up the torch in 1945.
The stability John Heisman crated was maintained by William Alexander and passed on to Coach Dodd, helping Georgia Tech to maintain its status as a national power.
25 seasons, 135-95-15 overall, 3-2 in bowl games
Eight Conference Championships—(SIAA) 1920, 1921, (SoCon) 1922, 1927, 1928, (SEC) 1939, 1943, 1944
SEC Coach of the Year—1939
AFCA Coach of the Year—1942
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award—1947
Georgia Tech Hall of Fame—1963
College Football Hall of Fame—1951
1. Bobby Dodd (1945-1966)
When the stadium is named after you, then it's hard not to be at the top of any "best of" lists. From 1904 through Coach Bobby Dodd's retirement from coaching in 1966, Georgia Tech only had three head football coaches, each winning a national title.
Coach Dodd still holds the all-time wins record for Tech coaches at 165 and once had a 31-game win streak from the beginning of the 1951 season until the middle of the 1953 campaign, with a national championship sandwiched in between.
With a national coaching award named in his honor, there is no question that Coach Bobby Dodd is the greatest coach in Georgia Tech Football history.
22 seasons, 165-64-8 overall, 76-39-4 in SEC, 9-4 in bowl games
Two SEC Championships—1951, 1952
Two-time SEC Coach of the Year—1951, 1952
"Bobby Dodd Stadium" dedication—1988
Georgia Tech Hall of Fame—1967
College Football Hall of Fame—1993