Behind every win, every loss, each championship and every failure, there is a head coach.
The man who guides players, leads the team and influences every aspect of the program.
The men on this list are all head coaches and they have been for a long time.
They are the 10 longest tenured FBS head coaches who are still currently at the helm of their programs heading into the 2013 season. They have been leading the same program in consecutive seasons for longer than anyone else currently in the game.
There is something to be said for stability and loyalty, and these head coaches have stuck around, through good times and bad, for their respective programs.
Hire Date: February 19, 2003
Riley initially started with Oregon State in 1997, but left for the NFL after the 1998 season. He returned to the Beavers in 2003 after a brief stint at the professional level.
The Beavers have been mediocre with Riley at the helm, posting only 20 more wins than losses during his most recent tenure there.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2006
The 2012 season was his third 9-4 season since taking over as head coach, but it was 2006 when the team had their best run under his leadership. That team went 10-4 and capped the season with a Sun Bowl victory.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 7/5
Riley's bowl record is solid at 5-2, but the team hasn't won a bowl game since 2008.
Conference/National Titles: 0/0
Sadly lacking here, but the program is better off under his leadership and the ceiling is high.
Riley has been able to consistently field a winning team. He's led the team to a Top 25 ranking in four of his seasons with the program, including 2012. Dennis Erickson helped lead this program out of the cellar in his four years there, and Riley has kept them in the middle of the pack.
For him to remain, and take the next step as a coach, the team must become more consistent, and find a way into a BCS bowl game.
Hire Date: December 26, 2000
Richt arrived in Athens from Florida State, and immediately had a positive impact, posting the best record for a first year Georgia head coach since 1920. The Richt-led Bulldogs also beat in-state rival Georgia Tech for the first time since 1997 that season.
Georgia has been on the cusp of elite since Richt arrived. The Bulldogs consistently find themselves in the thick of the SEC title race, but can't seem to break through into elite status.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012
There is no question that Richt has been one of the best in the business during his time at Georgia. The Bulldogs have averaged 9.8 wins per season, and routinely field top-flight talent.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 12/8
Richt has led the team to a bowl appearance in every season and won eight bowl games in 12 attempts. That's two thirds of his tries.
Conference/National Titles: 2/0
For all his tremendous success, Richt has only won two SEC titles and hasn't reached a BCS title game with Georgia. The last time the team won the SEC was back in 2005.
It is tough to coach in the SEC. The conference is the best in the nation, and Georgia has found a way under Richt to remain competitive in the conference title race since the turn of the century.
That's more than can be said for LSU, Florida and Alabama. If Georgia fans are fine with better than average in the SEC, Richt is the perfect coach. But if they hope for SEC and national titles, he's going to have to change something.
Hire Date: December 11, 2000
For whatever reason, Wake Forest has stuck with Jim Grobe this entire time. They've been worse than mediocre for the majority of his tenure, and yet he continues to hang onto the position of head coach.
Anytime your head coaching record is below .500, especially in the ACC, you have a problem.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2006
2006 was the year. Grobe led the Demon Deacons to a team record in wins, including a perfect 6-0 on the road. They won the ACC title and went to a BCS bowl game, with Grobe accumulating multiple coaching awards. It has all been downhill from there.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 5/3
The bad news is that Wake Forest has only appeared in five bowl games while Grobe has been the head coach. The good news is that the team has found a way to win three of those games.
Conference/National Titles: 1/0
It is not strange to think that Wake Forest hasn't won a national title under Grobe. They are not even close to a national power, and it is difficult to maintain success. 2006 was the zenith of Grobe's career so far with the Demon Deacons, when the team beat Georgia Tech to win the ACC title.
There is something to be said for loyalty, and the Wake Forest administration has certainly demonstrated that quality towards Grobe. The man hasn't led the team to more than six wins per season since 2008.
Hire Date: December 8, 2000
Dennis Franchione set the table high for Patterson with his 25-10 records at TCU, and Patterson has taken full advantage, still coaching the Horned Frogs and flying under the radar as one of the most underrated coaches in college football.
Patterson is a machine. The man continues to churn out solid teams, as the program transitioned from Conference USA to the Mountain West and finally to the Big 12.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Boise State seemed to get all the press, but TCU was the program that earned a bid to a BCS conference first, thanks to Patterson and his excellent coaching. The team has averaged 10.5 wins per season since 2005.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 12/7
Every season since he took over, with the exception of 2004, Patterson has had the Horned Frogs playing in a bowl game. That includes two BCS bowl appearances and a 1-1 record in those games. Since 2005, TCU is 5-2 in bowl appearances.
Conference/National Titles: 5/0
TCU has never been invited to the BCS title game under Patterson, in spite of a 13-0 season and a 12-1 season. The team has won five conference titles and will be in the race for the Big 12 title in 2013.
Gary Patterson's teams are known for defense and winning. He's been around for a while, and with good reason. His ability to coach has led directly to TCU finally getting an invite to a BCS conference, and the Horned Frogs held their own in their first season.
Expect to see big things for this program moving forward, as long as Patterson is at the helm.
Hire Date: November 30, 2000
In the two seasons prior to Gary Pinkel's hiring at Missouri, the Tigers had a combined record of 7-15. With the exception of the 2012 season that was riddled by injury, transition and controversy, things have been a steady climb upward for the Tigers since he arrived.
Pinkel's record is solid, and the Tigers have had some really good seasons with him at the helm. The transition to the SEC in 2012 turned out to be brutal, as the team dropped to a miserable 5-7 record. Expect a rebound in 2013, as Pinkel leads the Tigers back to a bowl game.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2007, 2008, 2010
Thanks to Pinkel and Blaine Gabbert, the Tigers had enough leverage to find their way into the premier conference in college football: the SEC. Pinkel's best season at Missouri was 2007, when the team went 12-2.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 8/4
Missouri has been to a bowl game in seven of the past eight seasons, winning four of them. While the going is tough in the SEC, expect Pinkel's squad to right the ship and begin to add to the number of bowl wins very soon.
Conference/National Titles: 0/0
Pinkel has more arrests as the head coach of Missouri than he does conference titles. This is not going to get better any time in the near future, especially while he coaches in the same conference as Nick Saban, Les Miles, Mark Richt and Will Muschamp.
Pinkel has done an excellent job of bringing some national attention to the Missouri program. It hasn't all been positive, but Pinkel has been able to recruit well, and barring injury, the Tigers should be improved this season over their miserable 2012. Overall, a really good hire by Mizzou.
Hire Date: December 2, 1998
Ferentz was the last coach who is still in the same position to be hired before the turn of the century. He is also a study in mediocrity.
The Hawkeyes have had nine seasons under Ferentz in which they have won fewer than nine games. In recent seasons, the Big Ten has been a mess, and Iowa has still not been able to take advantage.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009
From 2002-2004, Iowa had a great thing going. Not so much for most of the rest of Captain Kirk's tenure. The Hawkeyes haven't been competitive in the Big Ten since they won the conference title in 2009.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 10/6
Ferentz is 6-4 in bowl appearances, including a 1-1 record in BCS bowl games. He's not led Iowa to a bowl win in two years and missed bowl season in 2012.
Conference/National Titles: 2/0
Iowa experienced tremendous success from 2002-2004, posting a combined 31-7 records during that span. That time period also included two Big Ten titles. It has now been eight seasons since Iowa won the Big Ten.
What is the deal with Iowa's administration? Ferentz is currently one of the highest paid coaches in college football, in spite of his mediocre job leading the Hawkeyes. Yes, he has done some good things, but there have definitely been more average seasons than good ones for Iowa since his arrival.
Hire Date: December 1, 1998
When the Oklahoma Sooners hired Bob Stoops, the current incoming class of college freshman were not even in preschool. It doesn't seem like forever, but the man has been leading the Sooners for quite some time.
Stoops has been excellent for the Sooners, winning games at a disturbing rate. His 149-37 record is tremendous, and he has displayed incredible consistency during his time leading the Sooners.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
It would be easier to count the seasons in which the Sooners did not post double digit wins under Stoops. In 11 out of his 14 seasons, Oklahoma has won at least 10 games.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 14/7
Stoops has done an excellent job of getting the Sooners to bowl games, including eight BCS bowl games. Unfortunately, he is only .500 in the post season, and 3-5 in BCS games.
Conference/National Titles: 8/1
Oklahoma has dominated the Big 12 since Stoops stepped in, winning the conference in eight of his 14 seasons. In his second season, 2000, he led the team to a national title win, and then led them back to the championship game in 2008.
Stoops is one of the best head coaches currently in the game. He's consistently produced teams that win 10 or more games, and has been able to take the Sooners to a bowl game in every one of his seasons with Oklahoma. As long as he is the head coach, Oklahoma will be in the Big 12 title hunt, with regular runs at a national title.
Hire Date: December 3, 1997
When Mack Brown was hired on as the head coach at Texas, Bill Clinton was the U.S. President, and the Dallas Cowboys were still somewhat relevant. It's been a while.
Brown has been excellent for Texas, leading them to a national title and some excellent seasons. However, he has been owned by Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Texas has only beaten the Sooners five times while Stoops and Brown have been at their respective schools.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
From 2001 to 2009, Brown's teams were the epitome of consistent. They won more than 10 games each of those seasons, and Texas was easily one of the top programs in college football. It has now been three full seasons since the Longhorns have reached 10 wins.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 14/10
Say what you will about Brown and his inability to win without an elite quarterback, the man wins bowl games.
Conference/National Titles: 2/1
For all his success, Brown has only been able to win the conference twice during his tenure. This is mostly thanks to Bob Stoops and his domination of the Big 12. The Longhorns' title in 2005 is the crowning point of Brown's career so far, and though Texas missed a bowl game in 2010, they have been back in the post season for each of the past few seasons.
You will find no argument here that Brown is not an excellent coach. His record speaks for itself, and there are not a whole lot of active coaches that have a national title to their credit. That said, his career has been hampered by his inability to knock Oklahoma form its semi-regular perch atop the Big 12.
Hire Date: December 3, 1990
Larry Blakeney has been with the same program for 22 years. The Trojans were D-II Troy State when he took over as head coach and transitioned into FBS football in 2001.
Record: 168-99-1, 70-65 FBS
Blakeney started his career at Troy with a 98-34 record. The transition to FBS football has been rough, though, as Troy is barely above .500 since making the move.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999
Troy was one of the strongest teams at the D-II level before their transition, since the move things have been worse. The team hasn't won more than nine games since making the big jump.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 5/2
Since moving up to FBS, Blakeney's Trojans have played in five bowl games, coming away with two victories. For a program that transitioned into FBS fairly recently, Troy has enjoyed some solid successes.
Conference/National Titles: 5/0
Blakeney led the Trojans to Sun Belt conference titles every season from 2006-2010.
Blakeney should be credited for his ability to sustain success on a regular basis, as well as successfully transition a football program into the FBS ranks. He is beloved by Troy fans, and has the program on its way back up after a couple of difficult seasons.
Hire Date: December 22, 1986
Frank Beamer is the patriarch of college football. He began coaching at Virginia Tech when "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles was the number one hit, Top Gun was number one in the box office and Ronald Reagan was in his second term as president. He has been the model of consistency during his time with Virginia Tech and will be as long as he remains at the helm.
Obviously, Beamer has more wins than anyone on this list. He's led the Hokies with tremendous consistency for a long time and been extremely successful doing so.
Double Digit Win Seasons: 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
When Virginia Tech finished 7-6 last season, it was the first time the team hadn't reached at least 10 wins since 2003. There is no BCS program that has been as consistent during that time span.
Bowl Appearances/Wins: 20/9
For the past 20 seasons, Beamer has led the Hokies to a bowl game. Every year. For the past two decades. That is amazing. While he could be more consistent in winning these bowl games, just the fact that he has led the same team to the postseason since the Reagan administration is impressive.
Conference/National Titles: 7/0
The Hokies have only won even conference titles under Beamer, three as Big East members, and four as part of the ACC. The one national title appearance from Beamer and the Hokies featured Michael Vick, but the Hokies fell to Florida State.
While not tremendously successful in winning bowl games or reaching national championship games, Frank Beamer is an incredible example of consistency and loyalty. He's been the head coach at Virginia Tech for the past 26 seasons and posted double digit win totals in eight of the past nine seasons.