Alabama is storming their way into another college playoff appearance after registering their 16th consecutive double-digit win season. It has been a magnificent run that has seen Nick Saban propel himself up the leaderboard to become one of the greatest Alabama Head Coaches of all time.

He is aiming to better the record of legendary coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, who joins him at the top of the leaderboard. In this article, we will dig into their achievements and explore some of the other head coaches to go down as legends in Alabama Crimson Tide history.

Who is the head coach of Alabama football in the 2023 season?

Nick Saban wrapped up his 17th season in charge of the Crimson Tide. He has registered more wins than losses in every single season, posting double-digit wins in each of the last 16. Across his time in charge, Saban has won 6 National Titles and 11 SEC Championships, making him one of the most successful coaches in Alabama school history.

After his retirement announcement in January 10th 2024, many believe that he will become the best coach in Alabama football history. Spoiler, he features near the top of our list of top 10!

Alabama Football Head Coach History

The Crimson Tide have won 18 National Championships across their incredible history, which means there are plenty of impressive Alabama football coaches to talk about. As one of the most successful programs of all time, it should come as no surprise that they have their fair share of Hall of Fame inductees amongst their ranks, with the likes of Bear Bryant, Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings and Wallace Wade all being recognized.

There are plenty of other names who have played their part in the Crimson Tide’s impressive history without being honored in the Hall of Fame. From Harold ‘Red’ Drew’s record-setting 55-0 victory over bitter-rivals Auburn to Xen Scott’s 110-0 win in 1922, there is a lot to be intrigued by. We cover it all in our list of the top 10 best Alabama football coaches below.

Ranking the 10 Greatest Head Coaches of Alabama Football History

  1. Bill Curry (1987-89)

Record: 26-10-0

Bill Curry took over a Crimson Tide side that had won 19 games and lost only 5 times over its previous two seasons. His job was to continue the success of one of college football’s most successful college programs.

A 7-5 record in his first year wasn’t anything to be too impressed by, but the team improved to 9-3 and then 10-1 in 1989. Unfortunately, Alabama would lose in the 1990 Sugar Bowl to Miami, but a successful season up to that point saw the Crimson Tide win a share of the SEC title and Curry win the SEC Coach of the Year Award.

He finished with a record of 26-10, but three losses and no wins to fierce rivals Auburn would be a frustrating blemish on what was otherwise a successful coaching career.

  1. Ray Perkins (1983–1986)

Record: 32-15-1

Ray Perkins had the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of legendary Alabama football head coach Bear Bryant. Perkins got off to a good start, but in 1984 he would oversee the team’s first losing season since 1957.

He got the team back on track in 1985 and 1986, improving each year to help him finish with a record of 32-15-1. His tenure featured three bowl game successes and the school’s first-ever win over Notre Dame, but it ultimately fell short of what Alabama football fans were after.

  1. Mike DuBose (1997–2000)

Record: 24-23-0

Mike DuBose’s 24-23 record is not particularly eye-catching, but his tenure did feature an impressive SEC Championship-winning season in 1999. DuBose’s time as the head coach of the Crimson Tide got off to a tough start as the team struggled to handle the loss of 30 scholarships thanks to NCAA violations in previous years.

This led to a 4-7 record in 1997 and a 7-5 record in 1998, neither of which lived up to the lofty standards of Alabama football. Thankfully, after two years of rebuilding efforts, DuBose led the Crimson Tide to a 10-3 record in 1999. During this season, Alabama beat Florida to end the Gators’ five-year home winning streak, before defeating rivals Auburn in the Iron Bowl. This was a significant victory as it not only earned the team their Bowl Game success but denied Auburn from winning three on the bounce.

The Tide went on to defeat Florida yet again in the SEC Championship game, capping off a season that saw DuBose win SEC Coach of the Year. DuBose was a hero in Alabama, but not for long. The team went 3-8 in their 2000 season and DuBose was fired.

  1. Harold ‘Red’ Drew (1947–1954)

Record: 54-28-7

The Alabama Crimson Tide were a consistently competitive unit under Harold ‘Red’ Drew. He started strong, by leading the team to an 8-3 record and a Sugar Bowl appearance in his first year.

He became a fan favorite in 1948, leading the team to a 55-0 victory over Auburn. This was the biggest margin in any game between the two rivals, making him very popular with Alabama’s Auburn-hating fans.

Drew’s best season in charge of Alabama came in 1952 when he led the team to a 10-2 record and the team’s first Bowl victory since 1945.Their 61-6 win over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl still stands as the largest victory in the history of the Orange Bowl. For his efforts in 1952, Drew was named the SEC Coach of the Year.

An SEC Championship followed in 1953, but a 4-5-2 record in 1954 would see the team place 6th in the SEC. It was a dip in form that Drew could not survive, with that being his final year in charge. Drew finished with a 54-28-7 record and a 1-2 record in Bowl Games. He was inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame in 1970.

  1. Xen Scott (1919–1922)

Record: 29-9-3

Xen Scott helped to take Alabama football up a notch, overseeing their rise from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association into the Southern Conference in 1922. He was known for his forward-thinking strategies and ability to develop players, boasting an impressive record over his time as the head coach.

In 1920, the Crimson Tide achieved a 10-1 record, but some of his biggest achievements came in 1922. During the 1922 season, the Crimson Tide produced a shock defeat of Penn State, who were an Ivy League powerhouse at the time. This signaled that Alabama was a team to be taken seriously. They also defeated Marion Institution 110-0, which stands as the record for the most points in a game by the Crimson Tide.

Cruelly, Scott was unable to capitalize on the success in 1922. He was forced to retire from the Alabama football coaching staff early after being diagnosed with cancer of the mouth and tongue. He died in 1924.

  1. Gene Stallings (1990–1996)

Record: 70-16-1
Titles: 1 National

Gene Stallings oversaw a relentless period of winning football for the Crimson Tide. He took over the head coaching role after years of varying success for Alabama, with pressure on him to restore the program to winning ways.

After finding their feet in 1990, Alabama quickly stormed to an 11-1 record in 1991. This season would provide the foundations for years of success, giving the team their first of four consecutive Bowl Game victories. The team improved to go undefeated in 1992, led by a fearsome defensive unit that helped the Crimson Tide achieve a number 1 ranking and a National Championship title.

Four double-digit win seasons, 5 Bowl Game victories and a National Championship will secure Stallings' place as one of the greatest-ever coaches for Alabama football, but his career wasn’t without controversy. An investigation between 1993 and 1995 found Alabama guilty of four major rules violations, in which Stallings was implicated. The team were barred from postseason action in 1995, docked 30 scholarships from 1995 to 1998, and forced to forfeit 8 wins.

Despite this, Stallings's impressive record of 70-16-1 (not including the forced forfeits) makes him a worthy inclusion on this list.

  1. Frank Thomas (1931–1946)

Record: 115-24-7
Titles: 2 National

Frank Thomas’s 115 wins give him the third-most wins in Alabama football coaches history. His long tenure between 1931 and 1946 will go down as one of the most successful periods in the program’s history, as it secured several titles and established Alabama as a true powerhouse in college football.

Thomas took over the reins as Alabama were emerging as a competitive force in the college game. The team only suffered four losses across his first three seasons, before going an unbeaten 10-0 in 1934 to win the National Championship title. He followed this up with another 7 winning seasons before winning his second National title in 1941.

His 15-year career featured 115 wins and just 24 losses, resulting in 4 SEC titles and two National titles. He won the SEC Coach of the Year award in 1945, before being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. It was a period of immense success for Alabama, solidifying their status as one of the best teams in the college game.

  1. Wallace Wade (1923–1930)

Record: 61-13-3
Titles: 3 National

Wallace Wade put Alabama’s name on the map, leading the team to their first-ever National Championship title in 1925. This came in his third year as the team’s head coach and was followed by two more titles in 1926 and 1930.

Wade was a master strategist who built his team around a formidable defense and efficient, ground-based offense. Not only did the 1925 season give Wade and Alabama their first-ever national title, but it also made them the first-ever team to win from the South, which completely shifted the way that people viewed Southern football.

Another National title in 1925 solidified Alabama’s status at the top of the college game, but some down years in 1928 and 1929 would pile the pressure onto Wade. He agreed to resign in 1930, but only on the understanding that he could coach for one final season.

In the ultimate show of character and stubbornness, Wade led the Crimson Tide to a perfect 10-0 record in 1930, outsourcing opponents 271-13.  The year finished with a 24-0 victory in the Rose Bowl and the team’s third National Title with Wade at the helm. It was an incredible way to finish his head coaching career, helping to earn him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.

  1. Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant (1958–1982)

Record: 232-46-9
Titles: 6 National

It was only in the last decade that Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was moved down from the number one spot on the all-time list of Alabama head football coaches. He was a savior of Alabama football, taking over at a time when the team had won only four games in three seasons and taking them on one of the most incredible campaigns in sporting history.

His incredible career at Alabama will go down as not only one of the greatest in school history but also one of the most impressive in college football history. After two consecutive 2-win seasons, Bryant took over the Crimson Tide and immediately got them back to winning ways. The team registered three winning seasons on the bounce, before going unbeaten with an 11-0 record in 1961, which was the first National Title won by Bear Bryant as head coach.

The success continued in 1962, now with Joe Namath at the quarterback position. The team went 10-1 before defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl and earning a 5th-place ranking. National Championship number two would come in 1964 on the back of another undefeated season, and National Championship number three came one year later in 1965.

Bear Bryant’s incredible 25-year career as the Head Coach of Alabama Football featured 232 wins and just 46 losses. His Crimson Tide teams won 6 National Championships and 13 SEC Championships. He received a long list of coaching awards and was, unsurprisingly, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Alabama is one of the biggest names in College Football history, and Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant is a big reason why. Of all the former Alabama football coaches, he is the most successful by far.

  1. Nick Saban (2007–2024)

Overall Record: 189-27-0 (.875)
Titles won: 6 National

Nick Saban was the current head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, proudly sitting on a win percentage of .875 and 6 National titles, which ties Bear Bryant’s school record. Saban’s success has come in 10 years less than Bryant's, which helps him reach the number one spot on our list.

It took just one season for Saban to build a formidable unit, taking the team from a 7-6 record in 2007 to a 12-0 record in 2008. The team would unfortunately lose in both of their postseason matches, but the foundations were there for a period of dominance.

Nick Saban and Alabama rebounded from the postseason disappointment in 2008 to post an incredible 14-0 undefeated record in 2009, which saw the team defeat the Florida Gators to win the SEC Championship Game before defeating the Texas Longhorns to win the National Championship. The rapid rise to success was unprecedented and would mark the beginning of a golden era for Alabama football.

With Nick Saban at the helm, Alabama has registered double-digit wins in every season since 2008 up to the present day. During this incredible stretch, Saban has led the team to 6 National Championships and 11 SEC titles. For his efforts, he has received the SEC Coach of the Year award four times at Alabama, along with a whole host of other coaching awards.

At the time of writing, Alabama was set to challenge for their 7th national title under Nick Saban. After the lost against Michigan, he was not successful to surpass the 6 national titles won by Bear Bryant to solidify his status as the greatest-ever in the history of Alabama football coaches.

On January 10th, 2024, Nick Saban announced his retirement after an historic memorable career. 

Parameters of Rankings

These Alabama Head coaches have been ranked based on the length of their tenure and the success they had in it, including titles and win percentage.


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