Best SEC Football Coach in History: General Robert "Bob" Neyland vs. Paul "Bear" Bryant

by David
(Tennessee)

Lengthy but if you want to compare the 2 greatest SEC coaches, read on ...


Background

Robert Neyland coached at Tennessee for a total of 21 years, twice interrupted. He coached from 1926-34, 1936-1940, and 1946-52.

Paul “Bear” Bryant coached a total of 38 years at 4 different schools; He was at Maryland in 1945, Kentucky 1946-53, Texas A&M 1954-57, and Alabama 1958-82.

Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Maryland were among the 21 team Southern Conference when Neyland became head coach at Tennessee in 1926. Duke joined in 1929 to make it 22 teams. The 13 team SEC started in 1933. Sewanee left after 1940, Georgia Tech after 1963, and Tulane after 1965. Maryland was in the Southern Conference when Bryant coached there. Texas A&M was in the SWC.

Except where the percent of games tied is listed separately, ties count as ½ win and ½ loss when calculating winning percentages.


Overall Record

Games won, lost, and tied (winning percentage) in number of seasons:

*Neyland Career (at Tennessee): 173-31-13 (82.9%) in 21 seasons
Neyland in Southern: 61-2-5 (93.4%) in 7 seasons
Neyland in SEC: 112-29-8 (77.9%) in 14 seasons
*Bryant Career: 323-85-17 (78.0%) in 38 seasons
Bryant at Maryland and in Southern: 6-2-1 (72,2%) in 1 season
Bryant at Texas A&M and in SWC: 25-14-2 (63.4%) in 4 seasons
Bryant in SEC: 292-69-15 (79.7%) in 33 seasons
Bryant at Kentucky: 60-23-6 (70.8%) in 8 seasons
Bryant at Alabama: 232-46-9 (82.4%) in 25 seasons

Portion of Games Won, Lost, and Tied:

Neyland Career: 79.7%, 14.3%, 6.0%
Bryant Career: 76.0%, 20.0%, 4.0%
Bryant at Alabama: 80.8%, 16.0%, 3.1%

*Neyland’s winning percentage is best among SEC head coaches, minimum 10 years (7th among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision coaches). Bryant’s is 3rd (15th). Bryant’s win total is best among SEC head coaches (3rd NCAA FBS). Neyland’s is 11th (40th).

Overall Outstanding Seasons

Neyland Career (21 years):

6 undefeated seasons (1 perfect with no ties / 5 with one tie each)
6 one-loss seasons (no ties)
0 losing seasons (Two .500 seasons)

Bryant Career (38 years):

4 undefeated seasons (3 perfect with no ties / 1 with one tie)
11 one-loss seasons (9 with no ties / 2 with one tie each)
1 losing season (first year at Texas A&M)

Bryant at Alabama (25 years):

3 undefeated seasons (all perfect with no ties)
10 one-loss seasons (8 with no ties / 2 with one tie each)
0 losing seasons

In Neylands first 7 years, 1926-1932, he lost one game in 1926, one game in 1930 and had one tie each of the other 5 years for a cumulative record of 61-2-5 (93.4%). The 3 consecutive and 5 out of 6 undefeated seasons is unmatched in the history of any current SEC team.

National Championships Claimed

Neyland (4) – 1938, 1940, 1950, 1951

Bryant (6) – 1961, 1964-65, 1973, 1978-79

AP Polls (Beginning 1936)

Neyland Career (12 years)
1st – 1
Total Top 5 – 5
6-10th – 2
11th – 20th – 2
Unranked – 3

Bryant Career (38 years)
1st – 5
Total Top 5 – 13
6th-10th – 9
11-20th – 6
Unranked – 10

Bryant at Alabama (25 years)
1st – 5
Total Top 5 – 12
6th-10th – 7
11-20th – 2
Unranked – 4

Bowls

There were fewer bowls in the earlier years. Alabama is 1st in bowl appearances. Tennessee is tied for 2nd. Neyland has fewer appearances because he coached in the earlier era. During the time when their careers overlapped (1946-1952), Neyland and Bryant each coached in 4 bowl games.

Neyland: 4-4 in 8 appearances
Bryant: 15-12-2 in 29 appearances


Conference Record

Neyland Career: 103-17-10 (83.1%) in 21 seasons
Neyland in Southern: 41-2-5 (90.6%) in 7 seasons
Neyland in SEC: 62-15-5 (78.7%) in in 14 seasons

Bryant Career: 185-51-10 (77.6%) in 38 seasons
Bryant in Southern: 3-2 (60%) in 1 season
Bryant in SWC: 14-9-1 (60.4%) in 4 seasons
Bryant in SEC: 168-40-9 (79.5%) in 33 seasons
Bryant in SEC at Kentucky: 22-18-4 (54.5%) in 8 seasons
Bryant in SEC at Alabama: 146-22-5 (85.8%) in 25 seasons

Conference Outstanding Seasons

Neyland Career (21 Years)
11 seasons undefeated in conference (6 with tie)
2 seasons with SEC losing record
Neyland in SEC (14 Years)
6 seasons undefeated in conference (one with tie)
2 seasons with SEC losing record

Bryant Career (38 Years)
12 seasons undefeated in conference (each perfect with no tie, 1 in SWC)
5 seasons with losing record in conference (4 SEC, 1 SWC)
Bryant in SEC (33 Years)
11 seasons undefeated in SEC (each perfect with no tie, all at Alabama)
4 seasons with SEC losing record (3 at Kentucky)

Conference Championships

Neyland (21 years)
Total – 7
2 Southern – 1927(1/3), 1932(1/3)
5 SEC – 1938, 1939(1/3), 1940, 1946(1/2), 1951(1/2)

Bryant Career (38 years)
Total – 15
14 SEC – 1950 (KY), 1961(1/2), 1964, 1965, 1966(1/2), 1971-75, 1977-79, 1981(1/2)
1 SWC – 1956

In 1950, Kentucky won the conference with a 5-1 record, despite the loss being to Tennessee who was 4-1. Tennessee finished 4th in the AP, then defeated #3 Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Kentucky finished 7th in the AP, then defeated #1 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. So, while counting conference titles is an indicator of success, the method used to determine champions, especially in the earlier years, should be considered. The Southern Conference had as many as 22 teams. Some years, the champion played as few as 4 conference games – other years as many as 8 so scheduling was a big factor.

Among current SEC teams, Alabama’s 5 straight conference championships is matched only by Vanderbilt who won 5 straight (the first one shared) from 1903-1907 in the SIAA (a larger conference).

Bryant vs. Neyland, Head-to-Head (record indicated is for entire season)

1946 Tennessee (9-2) defeated Kentucky (7-3) 7-0 at Tennessee
1947 Tennessee (5-5) defeated Kentucky (8-3) 13-6 at Kentucky
1948 Tennessee (4-4-2) tied Kentucky (5-3-2) 0-0 at Tennessee
1949 Tennessee (7-2-1) defeated Kentucky (9-3) 6-0 at Kentucky
1950 Tennessee (11-1) defeated Kentucky (11-1) 7-0 at Tennessee
1951 Tennessee (10-1) defeated Kentucky (8-4) 28-0 at Kentucky
1952 Tennessee (8-2-1) tied Kentucky (5-4-2) 14-14 at Tennessee

Total: Neyland 5, Bryant at Kentucky, 0, 2 ties

Neyland vs. Alabama
12-5-2 (68.4%)

Bryant vs. Tennessee
17-13-4 (55.9%)
0-5-2 (14.3%) at Kentucky
0-1-0 (0%) at Texas A&M (Gator Bowl)
16-7-2 (68%) at Alabama



Editor's Note: Wow. Thanks David, terrific post! In fact, it will be the Sept. '08 "Post of the Month" on our SEC Sports Fan Forum. And, even better, that entitles to you to a free SEC Sports Fan T-shirt. If you want one, just let me know.

I'm a Tennessee fan and really didn't realize he had such great stats.

But, I still have a question: Who do you think was the best SEC football coach ever? Bear Bryant or Robert Neyland?

Comments for Best SEC Football Coach in History: General Robert "Bob" Neyland vs. Paul "Bear" Bryant

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Sep 10, 2008
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Great Comparison of Coaches
by: Tex/1st-N-Goal (IFRA)

David...

You have really made some great points on comparing these coaches, both legendary and well deserving of all honors.

I always enjoy reading other's statresearch.

You presented the stats and made excellant comparison of the two coaches...with each stat that you used was factual and presented the comparison well, without bias.

As editor of "The College Football Historian" newsletter; I would like to have your permission to publish it in a future issue of the newsleter.

I will send you a copy of the issue which it will be published in.

Please feel-free to submit other stories/analysis on any other areas of college football.

Please email me, using the form at College Football Association and I will get back with you.

Tex/1st-N-Goal
Editor, The College
Football Historian

Nov 30, 2008
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Neyland Was The Best
by: Kolton Johnson

Robert Neyland had a better record then Paul Bear Byant

Feb 16, 2009
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Get This Article In PDF
by: Mo Johnson

You can read the above article in the February 2009 edition of The College Football Historian at Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association.

May 24, 2009
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Statistics a leading indicator!
by: Anonymous

And The Bear NEVER beat the General!

Jul 22, 2009
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neyland
by: Anonymous

the bear was great but neyland was greatest the bear never beat him and neyland had a better record and neyland would have won more if he did not have a war to fight

Jul 29, 2009
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Neyland vs Bryant
by: Anonymous

One of the most biased comparisons I have ever seen. The south was considered inferior football before Bear Bryant coached the SEC. Some would argue that Bear Bryant put the SEC on the map.
To compare Bryant at Ky against Neyland at Tn is like comparing apples and oranges. Kentucky has never been a football school. That would be like comparing Ky basketball with SC basketball. Neyland coached mainly at Tn, a football school. Bryant built winners out of historically losing schools.

The only thing you got right was Bryant had six national champions as opposed to Neylands 4.
I think that is the important stat. Did you bother to include the total wins by each coach?
I think you would find Bryant wins.

Shame on your biased opinion.


Aug 28, 2009
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Reading Comprehension?
by: David

It?s good that you posted anonymously. I wouldn?t claim that reply, either. I hope your were joking.

?The south was considered inferior football before Bear Bryant coached the SEC. Some would argue that Bear Bryant put the SEC on the map.?
? Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas would be sad to hear that. Ever heard of them?

?To compare Bryant at Ky against Neyland at Tn is like comparing apples and oranges. Kentucky has never been a football school. That would be like comparing Ky basketball with SC basketball. Neyland coached mainly at Tn, a football school. Bryant built winners out of historically losing schools.?

- Prior to Neyland?s arrival at Tennessee, its success was modest at best. Prior to Bryant?s arrival at Alabama, they had already had a quarter century of success under legendary coaches. (That would be Wade and Thomas, who delivered Alabama?s first several championships). Bryant did have to rebuild from the ?Ears? years. He also built Kentucky. During the years Neyland and Bryant battled, if you exclude the games against each other, Kentucky had a slightly better record than Tennessee. Two fairly equal teams ? seems like a reasonable comparison to me. If you don?t accept that the teams were comparable, then, logically, it flows that Bryant built his record against inferior competition. (Otherwise, they wouldn?t have had a similar record over 7 years).

?The only thing you got right was Bryant had six national champions as opposed to Neylands 4.?
- Simply not true. Everything in the post is fact.

?Did you bother to include the total wins by each coach??
? Yes. Did you read the post?

?Shame on you're biased opinion?.
- There is absolutely no opinion in the post. Read the post again and point out even one item that?s opinion. It?s nothing but facts. I never even stated who I think is the better coach.

I don?t know why I bother. If you can?t comprehend the original post as an information piece, you won?t understand this response.

Sep 21, 2009
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Great posts, some other thoughts
by: gohorns

Regardless, of who's the best coach, Neyland may have left the greatest mark on the game of any coach, and his stats are hard to argue with.

However, I don't think the head to head comparison holds as much water as it normally would, given that all the matchups were when Bear was at Kentucky where hoops was king and Rupp was determined to keep it that way.

Many years ago I heard it said that Neyland's response to the charge that he scheduled patsies was "When you go 9-1, nobody ever asks who the 9 were." Any verification, one way or the other?

Dec 07, 2009
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Statistics
by: Anonymous

Are like bikinis. They reveal a lot but cover up some important things.

Neyland and Bryant coached mostly in different eras. What would be Bryant's percentages had he not taken on losing programs? What would be Neylands percentages if he had gone to four schools with losing programs?

Feb 27, 2010
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21 year comparison
by: scalafan

Bear Bryant lost to Neyland 5 time's out of 7 games and the total margin of victory in 6 of those game's,including of course 1 tie, was 17 point's -- less than 3 point's a game. This when Neyland was at the end of his career and Bear had just started his. Neyland never coached in the era of unlimited substitution,so just using the fact of Neyland's record against a semi-rookie coach, in no way prove's he was better. In every other category Bear either matches or surpasses Neyland. Let's just say they were both Great CFB coach's

May 21, 2010
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Kentucky v Duke
by: David

"However, I don't think the head to head comparison holds as much water as it normally would, given that all the matchups were when Bear was at Kentucky where hoops was king and Rupp was determined to keep it that way." - Gohorns
---
I would point out that Alabama's own Wallace Wade left Alabama to go to Duke. At Duke, he at least managed to go 3-7-2 against Neyland. Duke hasn't been a football school either, except under Wade and Spurrier. Also, 1946-49 were some of Neyland's worst years. (This is true of Wade, too, BTW. Also, Bryant took longer than his usual time to build KY during these post-war years). At least recordwise, Bryant's KY teams were comparable to Neyland's during this time.

May 21, 2010
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Perspective
by: David

"What would be Bryant's percentages had he not taken on losing programs? What would be Neylands percentages if he had gone to four schools
with losing programs?" - Annonymous
---
I think we know the answer to the first question. Alabama was an established national power despite the recent slide before Bryant's tenure. It took only a couple of years to rebuild. Bryant's percentage at Alabama was 82.4%. You could bump that up slightly if you want to take out the rebuilding years.
-
I'll counter by asking what would Neyland's percentages have been if he had not had left Tennessee twice because of military service?

May 21, 2010
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Margins
by: David

"Bear Bryant lost to Neyland 5 time's out of 7 games and the total margin of victory in 6 of those game's,including of course
1 tie, was 17 point's -- less than 3 point's a game." - scalafan
---
Incorrect. The cumulative was 61-6 (75-20 if you throw in the ties). That's an average of 12.2 to 1.2 or 11 points a game (10.7 to 2.9 / 7.8 points per game (all 7)). There were 4 shutouts plus the scoreless tie.

May 21, 2010
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Football Schools
by: David

When Bryant took over at Kentucky, Kentucky had a 57% all-time winning percentage. When Neyland took over at Tennessee, Tennessee had a 58% all-time winning percentage. Granted Tennessee's immediately preceding years in '26 were better than Kentucky's in '45 but I don't think it could be said that Tennessee was an established football power.

Jul 09, 2010
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in Bear's own words
by: Anonymous

why don't we just take Bear's word for it...

"People think I'm the greatest damn coach in the world," said the great Bear Bryant, "but Neyland taught me everything I know."

The Bear coached against Bob Neyland's Tennessee teams seven times and never beat him. "I never beat him," he said, "but I learned a lot from playing him."


Oct 10, 2010
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David tried, but so obvious
by: John

Aside from the out and out lie about Bryant saying Neyland taught him everything..., David's
interpretation is heavily biased and my good friend TN expert counts 16 errors so far.

Anon clearly stated 6 of 7 games in the 3 points
or less margin so David is again WRONG!

The head to head is null just because Bryant was
beginning and Neyland was in his prime, let alone the other 10 obvious reasons it is an idiotic comparison.

Clearly David is basically wrong about all the conclusions he tries to draw and doesn't understand the South or football.

I finished school at Knoxville 1985, born and raised in W TN. Bryant gained respect for the South, pure and simple, like no coach ever did.
He will always be known and respected by many more people than Neyland. 'nuf said

Oct 10, 2010
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David's bias
by: John

just one example of how biased David's conclusions are. When comparing Neyland's arrival at TN and Bryant's arrival at KY he lists their overall record. How absurd is that? How can an overall record of 50+ years possibly show the state of a program at a certain time. Bryant arrived at Alabama in 1958. Do you know Bama's record in 1957? 0-7. They lost every game. TN was not a nat'l program when Neyland arrived, but they had been riding high for a long time.

And don't twist the Numbers. My neighbor is a sports historian and says your numbers are off 20% or more in places according to TN official records.

Oct 10, 2010
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DAVID'S BIAS
by: JOHN

TN is tied for fifth, not second in bowl wins.

"When Bryant took over at Kentucky, Kentucky had a 57% all-time winning percentage. When Neyland took over at Tennessee, Tennessee had a 58% all-time winning percentage"

How absurd can you be? What does a programs' all-time winning percentage have to do with their state at a certain time? Bryant took over in 1958, In 1957 AL was 0-7. You really are clueless.

Oct 10, 2010
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not David
by: JOHN

my mistake, David. It was anonymous, and not you that told the lie that Bryant said Neyland taught him everything he knew. Sorry.

Oct 24, 2010
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DH
by: Anonymous

First of all John...do a little research. The Bear did say "Neyland taught me everything I know." Google search is your friend. It has been well known for many years Bear said that about Neyland. And furthermore, who cares about what your neighbor says? These stats are 100% accurate. They are not off by any amount. Look it up yourself, instead of asking your sports historian neighbor to do so. Accept reality...Davids post is that. And don't forget to look up the quote about Neyland.

Nov 13, 2010
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pissing in the wind
by: Leo

ok. will you idiots stop fighting back and forth, take a deep breathe, and think for a minute? you want to argue this, he wants to argue that. the simple fact is these are the greatest 2 coaches in the history of non professional football. not just the sec.

Neyland was a savior for the tennessee program in his day. brought in just to beat the mighty powerhouse vanderbilt. not only a football legend but a war hero. lets have a little respect for the man.

Bryant is arguably the most well known name in sports. when you think of football, you think bear bryant. the only way to truely know who was the better coach would to have them coach in the same era. bryant in the 30's neyland in the 70's, but obviously we can't do that.

we should stand back and be proud that the sec has the honor to call these great legnds their own. and the reason bryant is more well known is noot for what he did on the field but when he did it, 30 years later. if you ask a modern coach, historian, or fan who is the great coach of all time they will probably say bryant, but if you ask them if neyland or bryant is the best. then with a little research the answer would be different, instead of 95% for bryant i would bet it to be more like 50%.

oh, and as far as the "quote" you two have been squabling about. look it up! it's not hard to find. and if bear bryant was here today he would probably kick your ass for calling him a lier.

take the coaches who started in the 50's and ask them why they coach? or where they learned what they did? you'll find a lot of answers to be the same as the great bear. takes nothing away from him to respect another coach.

Dec 01, 2010
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New General Neyland Bio
by: Mo Johnson

Thanks all for your comments. Some of them were discussed in this Robert Neyland Biography.

Dec 08, 2010
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Bryant vs Neyland Head to Head
by: Mo Johnson

We've gotten a few questions about this, so figured I'd just post it clearly for the record.

Bear Bryant never beat General Robert Neyland. In head to head match-ups Neyland won 5; lost 0 and there were 2 ties (including a 0-0 tie).


Jan 12, 2011
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Bowl Appearances
by: rexreese

Oct 10, 2010
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DAVID'S BIAS
by: JOHN

TN is tied for fifth, not second in bowl wins.

==================================
As of January 11, 2011, UT has 49 bowl appearances, which is one more than USC's 48 (and holding) and tied with #2 Texas. Alabama is #1 at 58.

Jan 12, 2011
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Bear Had the Advantage
by: Color TV

Most folks on this board never saw a Neyland team on TV, let alone color TV.
We have tons of color footage of Bryant's Alabama games, and many of his players in the NFL.
At 82.9%, Neyland has the highest Div. 1 winning percentage of ANY coach -- min. 20 years.
That's got to count for something.
Also, the Gen. won 4 NCs in 21 years. Bear had 6, but it took him 38 years.
Old Alabama fans know the deal.

Jan 12, 2011
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The Book
by: rexreese

http://www.secsportsfan.com/support-files/top-sec-football-coaches-by-career-win-percentage.pdf

Jul 04, 2012
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that quote by Bryant was made up by
by: Anonymous

Tennessee fans. I have Bryant's autobiography where everyone says he is quoted as saying neyland taught him everything he knows... He actually only said that he was glad when Neyland retired. Bryant had alot of respect for him and actually traveled to Knoxville for a retirement ceremony for Neyland but that quote is made up. They never coached together.

Jul 04, 2012
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bryant never was quoted as saying he learned
by: Anonymous

Everything he knew from Neyland. He said he was glad he retired. Ive got the book that Tennessee fans say the quote came from. bryant and neyland never coached together.

Jan 13, 2013
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Bear v General
by: Anonymous

I am a huge Bama fan and it pains me any time I have to say someone or some team is better than The Tide or The Bear, but the stats do show that The General had a better record.

I think what we're missing in the question "Who is the better coach?" is the word coach. Both of these men were football master minds. The General did have a better record, probably due to the simple fact that he was with the Vols the entire time and they were an established program. Thats not taking ANYTHING away from his acomplishments, but Bear was hired by multiple losing programs to turn them around, which he did.

Another thing I would like to point out about Bear is the fact that he purposely went out to California and played USC, knowing that he would probably lose the game in order to prove to Alabama (as well as every other southern school and fan) that he and other coaches should be able to desegregate thier schools in order to compete with the power houses out west. He knew that the only thing that southerners hated worse than desegrigation was losing at football. He later invited USC to Alabama (after he brought on Bama's first black player) resulting in Bama beating USC. By doing this Bear opened the door and changed a whole way of thinking.

So If you realy get down to it, the Bear and the General appear to be more of eachother's equal than anything.

Oct 09, 2013
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COMPARISION
by: PHIL

Seems everyone omits that the General's career was interrupted twice. If you look at the win / lost of these times, It's easy to see the team went down during his absence and he rebuilt them each time. Hoe ever he did cost him some defeats along the way. I hope you will look at the records. No doubt if his career had not been interrupted, his record would be possibly in the 90% win ratio. A defensive genius , 17 un scored on regular season games in a roll. Yes, a different time, But did anyone else come close to that record? NO ! Love the Bear, he was great, But the cold hard fact is, he was 2nd best to the General. He respected him and learned from him from their competition, If he didn't learn anything from it, he wasn't the bear we knew. And at the Retirement banquet the Bear stated ( THANK GOD THE OLE GUY IS QUITTING )
Long live their memory's. the two best the sport has ever known.

Sep 05, 2014
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We Should All Be Happy and Proud
by: Tracy

Arguably, these two were the greatest coaches in SEC history. There were all the other SEC coaches here on Earth---and these two guys were somewhere up in the stratosphere. When you are that good, arguments like the ones here are kind of pointless because you are talking about very thin "shavings" of difference that are hard to balance out and sort out in really meaningful ways.

I think this would be the most meaningful thing. If we were to bring these two guys back to life secretly for a year of coaching (no one knowing about it except the players). Then, one Saturday afternoon where Notre Dame or Michigan are No. 1 and undefeated---and its the last game of the season where it is all on the line---and that game is against Alabama and Tennessee---let Bear Bryant and Bob Neyland run their teams out onto the field. Resurrection issues aside, the coaches of the other two teams would poop their britches in fear.

That's all anyone needs to know.

Sep 20, 2014
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Quote
by: Tom

As gracious as Bear Bryant was, he was also equally direct and truthful. He said of Neyland. "He can take his and beat yours or yours and beat his"

That is how good of a coach a great coach thought The General was.

Oct 11, 2014
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The general
by: phiilip

There really no comparison. Neylands was on a totally different level than Bear. In a class by himself. His record speaks for itself and when you add that he did it and served his county in the military advancing to the rank of General. Come on people. No one will ever be in his class.

Feb 15, 2015
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asessment my choice as a credit to college football
by: bob ellis

with all due respest don't forget john howard vaught, who one losing season in 25 years, also note that ole miss only played alabama about four times in a 30 year period. i concurr with your asessment, but think about this coaches resume, 255 wins 49 losses and 3 ties in 25 years 25 bowl games 83.6 percent winning pct. a 60-3 record in final five years,a 95.2 winning pct. won 10 games or more 15 times ranked 24 out of 25 years and ranked 24th the other time, 7-0 against the sec and 1 and 1 vs bear bryant in regular season,3 national champships and should have been at least 7 examples leading 16-15 with less than 2 minutes and miss a field goal wide right and going 2 in another and lose 31 to 30, won 250 games faster than any coach in history team of the 90's with 102 wins. 3nd all time in wins with 837 respectfully ala 7th and tenn. 9th i give you tom osborne and the u. of nebraska or the big red.

Jan 18, 2016
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Coach Bryant Will Always Rank 1st
by: Anonymous

First, Genl. Neyland coached 1 perfect season: 1938. He never had another season without a loss or a tie. Coach Bryant had 3 perfect--no losses and no ties--seasons: 1961, 1966, and 1979.

Second, it is laughable reading comments comparing Coach Bryant's KY record to Genl. Neyland's TN record. Everyone knows KY has never been a football school, and it never will be. It has never come close to its success when Coach Bryant was there over 60 years ago, and it never will. In 1958, Bryant inherited an Alabama team that had a 3 year combined record of 4-24-2. In 1926, Neyland inherited a Tennessee team that had a 3 year combined record of 13-11-2. Bryant's rebuilding task was thus more difficult. Yet Coach Bryant's record at Alabama is superior to Neyland's record at Tennessee.

Would Coach Bryant have beaten Neyland if Bryant had coached Alabama during the 40s and 50s? Alabama's Coach Thomas, Coach Bryant's mentor, had a 7-4-2 record against Tennessee, and a record of 3-4-1 record against Neyland. Coach Bryant was a better coach than Coach Thomas.

Genl. Neyland's bowl record was 2-5. His winning % at UT was .829 with 4 titles. Coach Bryant's Alabama bowl record was 12-10-2. His winning % at UA was .824 with 6 titles.

Both Neyland and Bryant were great coaches. But Coach Bryant was the greatest. Only in Tennessee do people believe Neyland to be superior. The rest of the nation believes Coach Bryant to be the greatest. When Sports Illustrated named The Best of the 20th Century, it chose Genl. Neyland as defensive coordinator, but it chose Coach Bryant as head coach.

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