Nebraska Football: Power Ranking All the Coaches in School History
For a football team that began in 1890, has five national championships, three heisman trophy winners, and a monstrous 834 wins, the University of Nebraska could be called a historic program to say the least. Compiling these illustrious numbers takes more than just top notch talent, it takes coaches that know how to get the job done and that's exactly the type of men the cornhuskers hire. With 31 coaches helping keep this university at the top of the game, who is their most successful coach, and who contributed but could have done more?
31. J. S. Williams
Despite only coaching in two games in 1892, Willimas has a solid record of 1-1 by beating rival Illinois but falling the following week to an over-powering Denver Athletic Club.
30. T.U. Lyman
He didn't last long but Lyman was the man at the helm in 1891 losing the only game he coached at Iowa.
29. Pete Elliot
Coaching one full season for the Cornhuskers in 1956, Elliot went 4-6 finishing the year in 4th place in the conference. He went on to coach at several other schools.
28. William G. Kline
Coaching Nebraska in 1918 was William G. Kline. He posted a record 2-3-1 that year which might have been the reason he was not hired back for any additional seasons. He later coached basketball and baseball at the collegiate level.
27. Alonzo Edwin Branch
Going 1-7-1 during his tenure at Nebraska which only lasted one season in 1899, Branch was unsuccessful to say the least as a head coach.
26. Glenn Presnell
Head coach in 1942, Presnell had an unfortunate losing record of 3-7 that year but managed to go 3-0 in conference play.
25. Adolph J. Lewandowski
The first coach on the list to coach more than one season, Lewandowski made it two years as the head coach of the program from 1943-1944 after being an assistant from 1937 up until then.
24. Amos Foster
Calling the shots in 1906 for the Huskers, was Amos Foster, who like others only lasted a dismal one season. Unlike the other coaches on the list he was a winning coach with a record of 6-4.
23. Charles Thomas
1895 seems like centuries ago, but for Nebraska it was the early years of their football program. That year the team was coached by Charles Thomas, a guy who made it one season with the team in a year they finished 6-3 and 1st in the conference.
22. Bernard Masterson
He coached the Huskers in 1946 and 1947, Bernard Masterson was a losing coach at 5-13 in two seasons but was nonetheless inducted into the Nebraska football Hall of Fame in 1977.
21. George Clark
Clark had two stints with Nebraska, one in 1945 going 4-5, and another in 1948 going 2-8 helping him finish his coaching career at Nebraska with a total of six wins and thirteen loses.
20. Bill Jennings
Lasting from 1957-1961, Jennings did not live up to expectations a head coached needs to have. In five seasons in Lincoln, Jennings had an awful record of 15-34-1 giving him a winning percentage of .310. Unfortunately for him, these numbers didn't help him last long as the head coach.
19. Henry Schulte
Schulte was the man in charge for two seasons at Nebraska tallying a 3-3-2 record in his first season, and 5-3-1 record during his second season. He was an offensive lineman during his playing days, which may have contributed to his lack of coaching ability.
18. Bill Glasford
From 1949-1955 Bill Glasford ran the Cornhusker program. At 31-35-3, the program gave Glasford a chance to shine but after five seasons and a losing record it was time for him to go.
17. Frank Crawford
Coaching a total of fifteen games while at Nebraska, Crawford was 10-4-1 after the 1893-1894 seasons as head coach. He was the first paid coach in Nebraska history, making $300-$500 for the season.
16. E.J. Stewart
From 1916-1917 Stewart was the head football coach at Nebraska going 11-4 leading the team to the Missouri Valley Conference title. He then went on to coach the basketball team from 1917-1919.
15. Fielding H. Yost
A college football hall of fame coach, Yost coached the huskers in 1898 season going 8-3. Following Nebraska, Yost coached Kansas, Stanford, San Jose State, and Michigan while winning one bowl game.
14. Eddie N. Robinson
Another college football hall of fame coach for Nebraska, Eddie N. Robinson was the head coach in 1896 and 1897. In 1897 he led the team to the conference title with a 5-1 record. He had a brief stint in the NFL going 4-4-3 for the Providence Steam Rollers.
13. Langdon Frothingham
The guy who started it all, Langdon Frothingham was the first coach in the history of the Nebraska football program. He led the team in 1890 where the team went 2-0 that year and were called the Old Gold Knights. He only lasted one season but will always be remembered as the coach that set this historic program in motion.
12. Ernest Bearg
Under Bearg, Nebraska won its first Big Six Conference titile in 1928 when the team went 7-1-1. They were conference runners up in 1926 and 1927, the two previous years under Bearg. He was the coach for four years total, but fans disliked his strategy leading to his resignation following the 1928 season.
11. Fred Dawson
In his first three seasons at Nebraska, Dawson led the team to a first place finish in the conference going undefeated in conference play the first two years followed by a 3-0-2 record in conference his third season. His final season at Nebraska, in 1924, the team finished second in the conference with a 5-3 record adding to his final record of 23-7-2 at Nebraska.
10. W.C. Cole
William C. "King" Cole was hired by Nebraska in 1907 to be the head football coach for the program. From 1907-1910 he totaled a winning record of 25-8-3 winning the Missouri Valley Conference title in his first season and final season as the man in charge. In his final season, he purchased land in Montana forcing him to be unable to be a part of the program year round, leading to his departure from Lincoln.
9. Ewald O. Stiehm
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From 1911-1915, Stiehm coached the Nebraska Football team, compiling a 35-2-3 record. From 1913-1915 his teams went undefeated and he has the highest winning percentage of any coach in Nebraska history that coached more than two games. He also won five conference championships with the team.
8. Bill Callahan
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After being fired by the Oakland Raiders, Callahan came to the Huskers with the west coast offense approach to a team that had relied on a strong running attack for many years. He was widely disliked by fans as the worst coach in team history by having two losing seasons after the team had not had one in 40 years.
Despite all this, he managed to have a winning record while at Nebraska of 27-22, but a losing record in conference of 15-17. Sorry Callahan.
7. Biff Jones
Lawrence Mcceney "Biff" Jones finished his coaching career at Nebraska from 1937-1941 going 28-14-4. He took the Huskers to a Rose Bowl in 1940 despite losing the game. In his first season as head coach, Jones won the conference with a record of 6-1-2 and an 11th AP ranking.
In the Rose Bowl season at Nebraska the team finished 7th in the AP poll, which was the highest during his tenure. He won two Big Six Conference titles and finished his coaching career a highly successful coach.
6. Walter C. Booth
Another Nebraska coach with a nickname, Walter C. "Bummy" Booth headed the team from the turn of the century, 1900-1905. Nebraska was his only coaching job and he compiled a phenomenal record of 46-8-1 and a .845 winning percentage.
He holds the Nebraska record for consecutive victories including exhibition games at 27 and the second longest not including exhibition games at 24. 1900 was the first year the Nebraska football program would be called the Cornhuskers and every game of the season was a shutout until the last game of the season loss to Minnesota.
To say the least, Booth was exceptionally successful during his only head coaching job and helped establish the huskers as a force not to be reckoned with.
5. Dana X. Bible
Bible was another three sport coach who found his way to Nebraska from 1929-1936 where he totalled a winning record of 50-15-7. As the head coach, he won the conference title six out of eight times and had his team ranked as high as 9th in the AP poll his final season.
4. Frank Solich
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A Nebraska fullback from 1963-1965, Frank Solich was an All Big Eight player and team captain in 1965. He graduated fro Nebraska and went on to coach high school football before deciding to return to his alma mater in 1979. He spent nineteen seasons as an assistant under Tom Osborne, coaching the freshman players for four seasons and the running backs for fifteen seasons.
While an assistant at Nebraska, the team won eleven conference championships and three nationals championships. He was fortunate enough to coach prominent college football running backs in Calvin Jones, Ahman Green, and Lawrence Phillips.
Osborne retired in in 1997, naming Solich as his successor who took over and led the the Huskers to an 11-0 start his first season but got blown out in their final game versus Colorado. Solich went 2-6 in bowl games, won Big 12 coach of the year in 99 and 01, and was Big 12 champions in 99 and 01. Needless to say he was one of the best coaches in Nebraska history.
3. Bo Pelini
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Widely regarded as the future long term coach of Nebraska, Bo Pelini took over in 2008 after being the team's defensive coordinator in 2003. In his first season, the team went 9-4 which was the best record on any Division 1 school with a new head coach and staff, leading to a salary increase on a contract that has him locked up until 2014.
In his first three seasons, he has had the Huskers atop the conference division and won his first two bowl games although he unfortunately lost a heartbreaker this season to a Washington team they blew out earlier in the year.
Pelini is a strong head coach with a outstanding supporting cast and the ability to be successful through 2014 and beyond at Nebraska.
2. Bob Devaney
Finishing his coaching career at Nebraska, Devaney lasted ten illustrious seasons in Lincoln where he was Eddie Robinson and Walter Camp coach of the year in 1971. He led Nebraska to two national championships in 1970 and 1971 along with eight Big Eight conference titles from 1963-1966 and 1969-1972.
Devaney was inducted into the college football hall of fame in 1981 after the great work he accomplished with the Huskers and a winning record of 101-20-2. In seven of out his eleven seasons at Nebraska he had them ranked in the AP ton ten at the end of the season and top fifteen in eight out of eleven.
Devaney also served as athletic director at Nebraska for 26 years and will forever be known as a great man in the history of Nebraska athletics.
1. Tom Osborne
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By far the most famous and illustrious coach in Nebraska football history is Tom Osborne. Not only did he have an astounding record of 255-49-3, but he won three national championships, compiled thirteen conference titles, and won coach of the year awards nine times.
Osborne coach the Huskers from 1973-1997 building the tenured program into a national powerhouse while coaching numerous top notch talent and consistently sending players to the NFL. Osborne was 12-13 in bowl games throughout his career and had the Huskers in the top 25 AP poll at seasons end 25 times.
He will always be known as the greatest coach in University of Nebraska football history. Upon ending his coaching career, he took a few years off only to return Nebraska as the current athletic director, which he has been since 2007. 1999 college football hall of fame inductee, Tom Osborne.