10 Greatest Coaches In Alabama Football History

Thad Novak@@ThadNovakCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2011

10 Greatest Coaches In Alabama Football History

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    Coach Bear Bryant of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his players during a game.
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    When you talk about the head coaching job in Alabama football, there’s really only one name that comes to mind. But Bear Bryant didn’t build the Tide’s great tradition from nothing, and some of his successors have turned in some pretty fair performances themselves. Read on for a roll call (roll Tide call?) of the program’s best.

10. Mike DuBose (1997-2000)

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    24 Oct 1998: Head coach Mike Dubose of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches the field during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville Tennessee. Tennessee defeated Alabama 35-18. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran  /Allsport
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    DuBose makes this list almost entirely on the strength of his lone SEC championship, a 10-3 campaign in 1999. Unfortunately for DuBose, a former Tide defensive coordinator, he followed that up with a dismal 3-8 campaign and was summarily ousted.

    A 24-23 overall record doesn’t exactly shine compared to the titans of Alabama football.

9. Ray Perkins (1983-1986)

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    22 Jul 1997:  Offensive coordinator Ray Perkins of the Oakland Raiders during the Raiders training camp at the Napa Mariott Hotel in Napa, California. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Perkins (seen here during a brief stint with the Oakland Raiders in 1997) had the impossible task of replacing Bear Bryant in 1983. He then suffered through the Tide’s first losing season in 28 years in 1984.

    Nevertheless, he finished with a solid 32-15-1 overall record at Alabama.

    He also made himself, at worst, a footnote to history when he became the first Tide coach to beat Notre Dame, in 1986.

8. Bill Curry (1987-1989)

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    Allen Steele/Getty Images

    Though an 0-3 career record against Auburn left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, Curry’s tenure at Alabama was largely successful. He finished with a 26-10 record overall, including a share of the SEC title in 1989. 

    He also put up an impressive 3-0 mark against Joe Paterno and Penn State.

7. Harold "Red" Drew (1947-1954)

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    With 54 victories, Drew places fourth all-time among Alabama head coaches. 

    Unlike some of his more-heralded colleagues, though, he never managed to win a national championship.  In fact, despite eight fine seasons as head coach, he brought home just one SEC title, in 1953.

    (Photo courtesy of www.ashof.org)

6. Xen Scott (1919-1922)

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    Less memorable to the average fan than some coaches on the list, Scott deserves credit for raising Crimson Tide football to national prominence.

    A 1922 road upset of Penn (from the then-powerhouse Ivy League) served notice that Alabama was ready to compete with any school in the country. Cancer forced his retirement after that season, but Scott had built the foundation for future greatness.

    His 1922 team also holds the record for most points in a game by the Tide, a ludicrous 110-0 victory over Marion Institution.

    (Photo courtesy of www.rollbamaroll.com)

5. Nick Saban (2007-Present)

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Already in elite company after just four years in Tuscaloosa, Saban has a real chance to move up this list before he’s done.

    Not only has Saban already brought a national title to ‘Bama, but he’s winning consistently, posting a 38-11 record so far. Considering that he’s compiled that record in a conference so tough that it’s produced the last five national champs, Saban looks poised to keep the Tide in the national title picture for the long haul.

4. Gene Stallings (1990-1996)

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    16 Sep 1995: Coach Gene Stallings of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his players during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks in Tucsawosa, Alabama. Arkansas won the game 20-19.
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Although NCAA violations committed by one of his players (Antonio Langham) tarnished Stallings’ legacy somewhat, he still put up an outstanding seven years as head coach.

    Four seasons of double-digit victories are highlighted by a national championship in 1992. 

    Despite several Langham-induced forfeits, Stallings compiled an impressive 62-25 mark before retiring after the 1996 season.

3. Frank Thomas (1931-1946)

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    A former quarterback under Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, Thomas became a big-time success as a coach in his own right. He won 108 games at Alabama, including a convincing 5-1 record in bowl games. That postseason success brought ‘Bama two national titles, in 1934 and 1941. 

    Among Thomas’ players were Don Hutson, one of history’s great wide receivers, and a lesser-known end by the name of Paul Bryant.

    (Photo courtesy of www.collegefootball.org)

2. Wallace Wade (1923-1930)

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    Even at a program as storied as Alabama’s, three national titles are enough to get a coach noticed. 

    Wade’s teams earned the first conference championship (1924) and the first national championship (1925) in Tide history. Two more national titles followed in 1926 and 1930.  The 1926 season was capped by a Rose Bowl victory over Washington, making Wade (a former guard at Brown) the first man to play and coach in the Rose Bowl.  Like Thomas, he earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.   

    (Photo courtesy of www.collegefootball.org)

1. Paul "Bear" Bryant (1958-1982)

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    Coach Bear Bryant of the Alabama Crimson Tide watches his players during a game.
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Never mind Alabama; the Bear can make a reasonable case for the best coach in football history, period. 

    His 323 victories (a record at the time of his 1983 retirement) and six national titles speak for themselves. 

    Then, too, you know a coach is an icon when he can be identified solely by his hat.

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