All week on the Big Ten blog, we've been looking at the league's top-5 all-time coaches for every team. Now, it's time to go conference-wide and determine the best Big Ten coaches of all time.
For this list, we're only considering accomplishments that took place in the Big Ten. So you won't see Nebraska's Tom Osborne here. Clarence "Biggie" Munn topped our Michigan State list but only coached one Big Ten season, so he's not included. And it's why another legend will rank lower than you might expect. Keep all that in mind before you send me angry tweets and emails.
Here's our list of the top-10 Big Ten coaches of all time:
1. Woody Hayes, Ohio State (1951-78): His 205 wins while a member of the Big Ten are more than any other coach, as are his 152 conference wins. His 13 league titles are tied for the most ever. Throw in the five national titles, and it's easy to see why he's No. 1 on this list.
2. Fielding Yost, Michigan (1901-06, 1917-23, 1925-26): While he coached in a much different era, his sheer dominance is hard to ignore. Yost went 113-3-3 for an .888 winning percentage that's tops among all coaches who spent at least 10 years in the conference. His first team outscored opponents 555-0, and he claimed 10 Big Ten and six national championships.
3. Bo Schembechler, Michigan (1969-89): He and Hayes are the two figures that in many ways defined the Big Ten. Schembechler's .850 winning percentage in Big Ten play is the best of all time (among coaches who spent at least 10 years in the league), and he tied Hayes for the record with 13 conference titles. His 143 Big Ten wins are also second to Hayes. He dominated the league for more than two decades, though his lack of a national title is a glaring hole in the résumé.
4. Amos Alonzo Stagg, Chicago (1896-1932): You won't find Stagg in any of our top-5 posts since Chicago long ago exited the Big Ten. But Stagg is one of the founders of football as we know it, as his many credited innovations include the linebacker position, the quarterback keeper, uniform numbers and putting a player in motion. Stagg also claimed two national titles and seven Big Ten crowns while amassing 199 total wins as a Big Ten coach.
5. Bernie Bierman, Minnesota (1932-41, 1945-50): He helped turn Minnesota into a national powerhouse before World War II, winning five national titles and seven conference crowns before the war interrupted everything.
6. Bob Zuppke, Illinois (1913-41): Zuppke led the Fighting Illini to four national titles between 1914 and 1927 and coached the legendary Red Grange. He is also credited with inventing the huddle.
7. Jim Tressel, Ohio State (2001-10): We ranked Tressel behind Urban Meyer on Ohio State's all-time list. But if we're really emphasizing Big Ten accomplishments, Tressel deserves a spot in this top 10. He owned the league for nearly a decade; his 106-22 overall record and 66-14 conference mark (we're including the 2010 wins that were vacated by the NCAA because, you know, they actually happened) give him the second-best winning percentage in both categories among coaches with at least 10 years in the league. He also captured seven conference titles (including the vacated one) and went to eight BCS games, while winning a national championship.
8. Joe Paterno, Penn State (1993-2011): Remember, this is only about Big Ten accomplishments, and the much of Paterno's great work -- including his two national titles -- came before the Nittany Lions joined the league. He didn't quite storm through the Big Ten as much as some people expected, but Paterno still won 95 conference games -- fifth most all time -- and three league titles.
9. Hayden Fry, Iowa (1979-98): Fry took a Hawkeyes program that hadn't done much of anything in decades and shaped them into a conference power. His 143 Big Ten wins are fourth-most ever, and only Hayes, Schembechler and Stagg won more conference games.
10. Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin (1990-2005): Like Fry, whom he coached under at Iowa, Alvarez inherited a moribund program when he went to Wisconsin. Within a few years, Wisconsin had won the first of its three Rose Bowls during his tenure. His 118 wins as a Big Ten coach ranks eighth all time.
Very honorable mention: Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty, Minnesota's Henry Williams, Michigan's Fritz Crisler and Lloyd Carr, Ohio State's Urban Meyer