They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders from the players to the media, but it’s special to have a head coach that knows how to win through it all.
It’s more to coaching than having a clipboard and calling plays. Coaches are mentors. They are called upon to groom and mature players into being better athletes and people.
To be a successful head coach at Alabama requires three things: class, winning titles and strong recruiting skills. Of course, it’s always a plus to defeat Auburn as an Alabama head coach. Here is a list of the top 10 best coaches in Crimson Tide history.
Top 10 Coaches of All-Time
10. Mike DuBose (1997-00)
- DuBose became Alabama’s head coach after Gene Stallings left in 1996.
- His best coaching seasons were in 1998 and 1999.
- In his second year, DuBose guided the Crimson Tide to a 7-5 season.
- In 1999, Alabama notched a 10-3 record under DuBose.
- DuBose won a SEC title with Alabama in 1999 and was named SEC Coach of the Year in the same season.
- He led the Tide to the 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl. (Alabama lost to Michigan 35-34)
- Alabama finished the 1999 season ranked No. 8 in the nation. DuBose guided the program to its first top-10 finish in five years.
- DuBose placed Shaun Alexander, Chris Samuels, Cornelius Griffin, Deshea Townsend, Curtis Alexander and Fernando Bryant in the National Football League.
- Overall, DuBose was 24-23 in his tenure at Alabama.
9. Mike Shula (2003-06)
- Shula took the reins as the Tide’s head coach after Mike Price was terminated in 2003.
- His finest coaching performance was in 2005.
- After a 6-6 season in 2004, Shula coached Alabama to a 10-2 record in 2005.
- He made three bowl appearances as the Tide’s head coach. (Alabama won the 2006 Cotton Bowl 13-10 against Texas Tech)
- Under Shula, Alabama finished No. 8 in the nation in 2005.
- Shula placed 13 Crimson Tide players in the NFL, including DeMeco Ryans, Brodie Croyle, Roman Harper and Charlie Peprah.
- Overall, Shula was 26-23 in his tenure with the Tide.
8. Dennis Franchione (2001-02)
- Franchione coached two seasons at the Capstone, but posted an overall record of 17-8.
- He led Alabama to winning record in his two seasons at the helm.
- In 2001, the Crimson Tide notched a 7-5 record under Franchione.
- Alabama defeated Iowa State 14-13 in the 2001 Independence Bowl.
- In his second season, Franchione guided the Tide to a 10-3 record.
- The Crimson Tide defeated Hawaii 21-16 in the Aloha Bowl.
- Franchione placed Saleem Rasheed, Jason McAddley, Terry Jones and Freddie Milons in the NFL.
7. Walter R. Perkins (1983-86)
- Perkins succeeded the legendary Paul Bryant in 1983.
- In four seasons, Perkins compiled a 32-15-1 record.
- His best seasons were in 1985 and 1986.
- In 1985, Perkins coached Alabama to a 9-2-1 season, including a 25-23 victory over Auburn in the 1985 Iron Bowl.
- The Crimson Tide defeated Southern California 24-3 (Aloha Bowl) in the same season.
- Alabama achieved a 10-3 season in 1986 under Perkins.
- The Crimson Tide defeated No. 12 Washington in the Sun Bowl 28-6.
- Perkins placed nine players in the NFL, including Joey Jones, Emanuel King and Jon Hand.
6. William A. “Bill” Curry (1987-89)
- Curry became Alabama’s head coach in 1987.
- He posted a 26-10 record in three seasons as head coach.
- Curry’s finest coaching performance was in 1989.
- Alabama had a 10-2 record in 1989 and won a share of the SEC title.
- Curry was honored in 1989 as the SEC Coach of the Year and received the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.
- He made bowl appearances in all three seasons. (Alabama won the 1998 Sun Bowl against Army 29-28)
- Curry’s 26-10 (72.2 percent) record gave him the highest winning percentage among Alabama coaches since Paul Bryant.
- Curry put 12 Crimson Tide players in the NFL, including Derrick Thomas, Keith McCants and Bobby Humphrey.
5. Eugene C. “Gene” Stallings (1990-1996)
- Stallings was a Bryant disciple.
- He was Alabama’s defense coordinator from 1958-64.
- Stallings was on Bryant’s staff for two national titles in 1961 and 1964.
- His best seasons were in 1991-92, 1994 and 1996.
- In 1992, Alabama defeated Florida 28-21 and won an SEC title.
- Stallings guided the Tide to the 1993 Sugar Bowl against No. 1 Miami.
- Alabama defeated Miami 34-13 and notched its first national title since Bryant.
- Stallings coached the Crimson Tide to six SEC West Division titles (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996).
- He won SEC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1994.
- Stallings won numerous awards in 1992, including Walter Camp Coach of the Year, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award.
- Stalling placed 29 players in the NFL including, Siran Stacy, Mark McMillian, John Copeland, Eric Curry, Derrick Lassic, Antonio Langham, David Palmer and Jay Barker.
4. Frank Thomas (1931-46)
- Thomas took the helm at the Tide’s head coach in 1931.
- In 15 seasons, Thomas compiled a 115-24-7 record.
- Thomas never coached a losing season.
- His finest coaching season was in 1934 and 1941.
- Alabama finished the 1934 season undefeated (10-0) as SEC Co-Champions.
- Thomas coached the Crimson Tide to 1935 Rose Bowl Game.
- Alabama defeated Stanford in the Rose Bowl 29-13 and won a national title.
- In 1941, Thomas guided the Tide to a 9-2 season. Alabama defeated Texas A&M 29-21 in the Cotton Bowl Classic and notched a national title.
- Thomas made six bowl appearances as Alabama’s head coach, including wins in the Rose Bowl (1935, 1946), Cotton Bowl Classic (1942) and Orange Bowl (1943).
- He was the coach and mentor to Hall of Fame coach Paul Bryant.
- Thomas placed 47 players in the NFL, including Paul “Bear” Bryant.
3. William W. Wade (1923-30)
- Wade became Alabama’s head coach in 1923.
- In seven seasons, Wade posted a 61-13-3 record.
- His best coaching seasons were in 1925, 1926 and 1930.
- In all three seasons, Alabama won a national title under Wade.
2. Nicholas L. “Nick” Saban, Jr. (2007-present)
- Saban took the helm as the Tide’s head coach in 2007.
- After finishing 7-6 in 2007, thing started to take shape for Saban and Alabama in 2008.
- His finest coaching performances thus far were in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
- The dynasty started for Alabama in 2008 under Saban.
- Alabama has won three national titles (2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons) in a five-year span.
- Under Saban, the Crimson Tide has brought in the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in six seasons.
- He’s coached Alabama’s lone Heisman winner, Mark Ingram (2009).
- Saban has collected numerous awards, including SN Coach of the Year (2008), Home Depot Coach of the Year (2008), Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year (2008) and Walter Camp Coach of the Year (2008).
- At Alabama, he’s a two-time SEC Coach of the Year recipient (2008, 2009).
- Overall, Saban has posted a 79-15 as Alabama’s head coach.
- Since 2007, Saban has put 44 Alabama players in the NFL Draft. 16 of the 44 players were first-round picks and four of them are Super Bowl Champions.
- 1. Paul W. “Bear” Bryant (1958-82)
- a. It’s been 31 years, yet Bryant is still the most revered public figure in Alabama sports history.
- b. He started as an assistant coach from 1936-40.
- c. Under Frank Thomas, Bryant compiled a 29-5-3 record at Alabama.
- d. In 1958, Bryant returned to Alabama and became the Tide’s head coach.
- e. In 25 seasons, Bryant was the epitome of class, winning and college football for Alabama.
- f. He compiled a 323-85-17 record with six national titles (1961, 1964-65, 1973, 1978-79).
- g. Bryant coached the Tide to 13 SEC titles (1961, 1964-66, 1971-75, 1977-79 and 1981).
- h. He was a 3x AFCA Coach of the Year recipient (1961, 1971 and 1973).
- i. At Alabama, Bryant was a 10x SEC Coach of the Year recipient (1961, 1964-65, 1971, 1973-74, 1977-79 and 1981).
- j. Bryant was the winningest head coach in college football history upon his retirement in 1982.
- k. He brought fashion to football with his signature houndztooth hat.
- l. Bryant placed 84 players in the NFL, including Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Lee Roy Jordan, Ozzie Newsome, Ray Perkins, Johnny Musso Woodrow Lowe and Barry Krauss.