Alabama’s Nick Saban is still one national title away from making history. Saban and the Tide lost to Clemson in the 2019 National Championship Game, keeping Saban tied with Bear Bryant for the most titles in history.
Saban will get a chance to break the record once again tonight, when Alabama plays Ohio State for the 2021 CFP national title.
LSU’s Ed Orgeron won his first title in the 2020 CFP national title game. The win kept Clemson coach Dabo Swinney from jumping onto the three-timers list.
College football coaches with the most national championships
Bear Bryant, 6
The Alabama legend won all six of his national titles with the Tide: 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979. As a testament to his longevity, Bryant’s final title, in 1979, came in his 22nd season with the Tide.
Nick Saban, 6
Five of Saban’s titles are from his Alabama tenure (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017). His first was in 2003, when he was at LSU and split with Southern California — the Trojans won the AP crown while the Tigers won the BCS title.
Bernie Bierman, 5
Bierman was Minnesota’s coach in 1932-41 and again from 1945-50. He led the Golden Gophers to four unbeaten and untied seasons. He also won seven Big Ten titles.
Woody Hayes, 5
Hayes coached at Ohio State from 1951-78, winning his titles in 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968 and 1970. Hayes went 205-61-10 with the Buckeyes, won 13 Big Ten titles and famously battled with Bo Schembechler’s Michigan in The Ten Year War.
Frank Leahy, 4
Leahy went 107-13-9 with the Irish, good for the second-best win percentage in history (.864, behind only fellow Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne). Leahy played for Rockne from 1928-30, winning two titles, and then won titles as a coach in 1943, 1946, 1947 and 1949.
John McKay, 4
In 16 seasons as Southern California’s coach, McKay won four titles: 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1974. After a disappointing 1975 season, McKay left to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL.
Howard Jones, 3
Jones won his first national title with Yale in 1909 before winning his next three with Southern California (1928, 1931, 1932). The Trojans also went 8-0-2 in 1939 to claim a title, though AP crowned Texas A&M.
Walter Camp, 3
Camp played and coached at Yale, leading the Bulldogs to national championships as their coach in 1888, 1891 and 1892. His record at Yale? 67-2.
Urban Meyer, 3
After a two-year stint at Bowling Green, Meyer went undefeated at Utah in his season season with the Utes in 2003. He won his first title at Florida in 2006, upsetting Ohio State. He then won another title two years later, beating Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. Meyer’s third title came in the 2014 season, when Ohio State became the first College Football Playoff national champion.
Tom Osborne, 3
For much of his Nebraska head coaching career, Osborne was known for failing to win the big one, as the Huskers fell short of a title from 1973 through the 1993 seasons. Then the dam broke. Nebraska won in 1994, 1995 and 1997 (splitting the last with Michigan), with Osborne then retiring. He went 49-2 in his final five seasons.
Knute Rockne, 3
Rockne went a stunning 105-12-5 with the Irish, winning titles in 1924, 1929 and 1930. His last title season was his last; Rockne died in a plane crash in 1931.
Darrell Royal, 3
The Texas coach won it all in 1963, 1969 and 1970, going undefeated in two of those seasons. In 1969, that version of the “Game of the Century” pitted No. 1 Texas against No. 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Dec. 6. U.S. President Richard Nixon attended the game.
Barry Switzer, 3
Switzer and the Oklahoma Sooners won national crowns in 1974, 1975 and 1985 and won six Orange Bowl games as OU’s coach from 1973 through 1988. Switzer then won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1995 season.
Glenn “Pop” Warner, 3
Warner won two titles at Pittsburgh (1916 and 1918) and then at Stanford (1926) and revolutionized the sport with the single-wing formation. He was part of the inaugural College Football Hall of Fame class in 1951.
Bud Wilkinson, 3
Wilkinson’s Sooners famously won 47 games in a row between 1953 and 1957, still the longest winning streak at the highest level in the sport. Wilkinson won his championships in 1950, 1955 and 1956.