College Football: The Mount Rushmore of head coaches

Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Who should be on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches?

The Mount Rushmore of college football coaches is an exclusive group as only four people can make it.

Certainly, Nick Saban has made his claim after another national championship has given him seven titles overall, which is the most all-time of any college football coach.

Surely, he makes the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches, but who else is worthy of this honor?

Walter Camp

Yale (1888-92), Stanford (1892, 1894-95)

I am going to take this Mount Rushmore quite literally.

Just as George Washington was the father of this country, Walter Camp is the father of American football.

He literally wrote the book on football as he was the first person to publish a book about it.

In the early days of the game, Walter Camp starred as a halfback and captain of the Yale varsity teams from 1877 to 1882, and not long after, he became the team’s head coach from 1888 until 1892.

Even though Yale was a powerhouse back in his day, he is not typically considered to be one of the greatest coaches for his success on the field but rather for his innovations to the game. Along with his disciple Amos Alonzo Stagg, Camp helped to lay the groundwork that turned a game that more closely resembled rugby into the sport that we recognize today.

Some of his innovations include:

  • Reducing the number of players per side from fifteen to eleven
  • The points system for different scoring plays
  • The line of scrimmage
  • Down and distance
  • The quarterback

After coaching, he continued to serve on the sport’s rules committee and played an important role in the adoption of the forward pass in the early 20th century.

However, he remains most famous for his annual All-American teams, a tradition which he still credited with to this day.