Everybody can recite who’s the all-time winningest coach in the SEC. Bear Bryant won 232 career games at Alabama and became one of the most iconic figures in college football along the way. To this day, Bryant’s name is mentioned with reverence around the Capstone.
But even if you take his 232 career wins out of the equation, the Crimson Tide would still have 582 wins.
So while the guy with the Houndstooth hat carved out a legendary career at Alabama, the Crimson Tide’s success on the football field hasn’t been defined solely by the Bryant years.
Frank Thomas won 115 games. Gene Stallings won 62 games. Wallace Wade won 61 games. Nick Saban -- in just five seasons -- has already won 55 games.
All five men, including Bryant, have also won national championships at Alabama.
In surveying the winningest coaches at all 14 SEC schools, some of what you find, especially when you take away each school's all-time wins leader, is telling.
For instance, Bryant is actually the winningest coach at two different SEC schools. He was 60-23-5 at Kentucky from 1946-53, and led the Wildcats to eight consecutive winning seasons.
Since Bryant’s departure from the Bluegrass following the 1953 season, the Wildcats have had 10 other head coaches, but only one of them compiled better than a .500 record, Blanton Collier, who succeeded Bryant, was 41-36-3 in eight seasons.
Steve Spurrier could join Bryant this coming season as the second coach to earn the distinction of being the winningest coach at two different SEC schools.
Spurrier owns that distinction at Florida. He won 122 games in 12 seasons in Gainesville from 1990-2001. He’s 55-35 in seven seasons at South Carolina, and can pass Rex Enright as the Gamecocks’ winningest all-time coach with 10 wins this season. Enright was 64-69-7 in two different stints at South Carolina from 1938-42 and 1946-55.
Since Enright stepped down following the 1955 season, the Gamecocks have had 13 head coaches. Spurrier is one of five since Enright to post a winning record. Other than Enright and Spurrier, only two other coaches have won more than 40 games at South Carolina -- Jim Carlen (45) and Paul Dietzel (42).
Georgia and Tennessee are the only schools in the SEC with three head coaches in their history to have won 100 or more games.
Vince Dooley is Georgia’s all-time leader with 201 wins. Wallace Butts won 140, and Mark Richt has won 106. Georgia has 747 wins all-time.
Gen. Robert Neyland is Tennessee’s all-time leader with 173 wins. Phillip Fulmer won 152, and John Majors 116. That’s a total of 441 of the Vols’ 794 wins.
In fact, Tennessee is the only SEC school that still has 600 or more wins if you take away the winningest coach’s win total. The Vols would still have 621 even if you didn’t count Neyland’s 173 wins.
Only eight other schools nationally would have more than 600 wins if you took away their winningest coach -- Miami (Ohio), Michigan, Navy, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and USC.
Florida has won 669 games, and 187 of those wins have come courtesy of two of the Gators’ past four head coaches. In addition to Spurrier’s 122 wins, Urban Meyer won 65 in six seasons from 2005-10.
At Ole Miss, John Vaught won career 190 games. Nobody else has won more than 67 there (Billy Brewer). Anybody want to guess who is No. 3 on the Rebels’ all-time wins list? David Cutcliffe was 44-29 (.603) from 1999-2004.
The biggest difference in the SEC when you start taking the winningest coach out of the equation can be found at Vanderbilt. Dan McGugin was 197-55-19. But without him, the Commodores would be just 367-519-31 all-time. McGugin last coached at Vanderbilt in 1934. Nobody else at Vanderbilt has won more than 39 games.
At some schools, there simply hasn’t been much longevity by coaches.
Charles McClendon is LSU’s all-time winningest coach with 137 career wins in 18 seasons from 1962-79.
But since McClendon retired, the only LSU coach to last longer than five seasons has been current coach Les Miles, who’s won 75 games in seven seasons.
Below is a look at the win totals for all 14 SEC schools and the winningest coach at all 14 schools:
Alabama – 814 (Bear Bryant 232)
Tennessee – 794 (Gen. Robert Neyland 173)
Georgia – 747 (Vince Dooley 201)
LSU – 733 (Charles McClendon 137)
Auburn – 711 (Shug Jordan 176)
Texas A&M – 681 (R.C. Slocum 123)
Arkansas – 680 (Frank Broyles 144)
Florida – 669 (Steve Spurrier 122)
Missouri – 625 (Don Faurot 101)
Ole Miss – 621 (John Vaught 190)
Kentucky – 578 (Bear Bryant 60)
Vanderbilt – 564 (Dan McGugin 197)
South Carolina – 555 (Rex Enright 64)
Mississippi State – 506 (Jackie Sherrill 75)