Frank Leahy, Second only to Rockne, as Best College Football Coach of All Time

by James
(whereever the Navy sends me)

People always forget Frank Leahy

Only one other coach can come close to Rockne and that IS NOT BEAR BRYANT! Why Frank Leahy is either #1 or #2 (I think #2).

He coached the same number of years as Rockne (13) and their records were almost identical. Rockne was 105-12-5 (.881) with three national titles, while Leahy was 107-13-9 (.864) with four CONSENSUS national titles (1940/minnesota, 1948/michigan, and 1953/maryland were splits which Notre Dame doesn't count). They are 1 and 2 on the major college football all-time chart for winning percentage.

In his 13 seasons (two at Boston College and 11 at Notre Dame), Leahy finished unbeaten SEVEN times (1940, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1953). Think about how difficult that is to achieve. For example, Bear Bryant, had THREE UNBEATEN SEASONS in his 25 YEARS at Alabama (1958-82). Bobby Bowden who had an NCAA record 14 straight top 4 finishes from 1987-2000, had one unbeaten season during that time.

Leahy had a 23-6-3 record against teams that finished in the final top 10 (13-6-3) or final top 20 (10-0). That .765 winning percentage is by far the greatest among any college football coach on Sporting News top 50 list. Leahy's nearest rival from the list is Oklahoma's Bud Wilkinson with a .618 percentage (20-12-2). Leahy defeated Wilkinson's Sooners both times they met.

No school ever played a more difficult schedule than Leahy's 1943 Irish. They confronted the teams that FINISHED 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 13. Guess what they still won the national title!

Leahy's four national titles are eclipsed only by Bryant's six. However, Bryant is credited with national titles in 1964 and 1973. In both cases, Alabama lost its bowl game (to Texas in 1964 and Notre Dame in 1973). But because there was no voting by either the AP or UPI in 1964 after bowls, or by the UPI in 1973, they're still counted as national title seasons.

Leahy led Boston College to an 11-0 record in 1940, capped with a Sugar Bowl win versus 10-0 Tennessee and its Hall of Fame head coach, R.R. Neyland. Try going unbeaten at BC. No one has done it since then.

Now to the Heismans...

Bryants Heismans
... (chirp, chirp, chirp)


Undefeated Seasons
Leahy beats Bryant

National Titles
Leahy ties Bryant, but the % of titles to seasons coached is not even close (4 consensus, 7 total in 13 season) vs (4 consensus, 6 total in 25 years

Win %
Leahy beats Bryant

Record against top 10 teams (%)
Leahy beats Bryant

Record against top 20 teams (%)
Leahy beats Bryant

Overall Wins
Bryant beats Leahy but loses to Paterno

If you STILL DO NOT believe Bear Bryant isn't even #2 let alone topping Rockne I don't know how much more evidence you will need.

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Oct 05, 2010
Ara Parseghian
by: Anonymous

Bear could not beat ND and Ara Parseghian in 4 tries

Dec 15, 2010
Ara won three games against Bear, not four.
by: Anonymous

Ara wasn't coaching ND when Alabama lost 7-0 in 1980. That was Dan Devine at the helm.

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