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Mike Gundy Moves into Top 5 for Wins among Active Coaches with Saban’s Retirement

OSU was the last team to play Alabama before Nick Saban took over.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

It’s a monumental day in the college football landscape, as seven-time national champion coach Nick Saban has reportedly retired.

Arguably the greatest college football coach of all time, Saban finishes his career with 297 wins, good for fifth all time behind legends Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden, Bear Bryant and Pop Warner. Saban was the sport’s winningest active coach (in the FBS), a title that now belongs to North Carolina’s Mack Brown with 276 wins. Saban’s retirement also pulled Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy into the top five of the category:

1. Mack Brown (North Carolina) — 276
2. Kirk Ferentz (Iowa) — 196
3. Brian Kelly (LSU) — 186
4. Dabo Swinney (Clemson) — 170
5. Mike Gundy (OSU) — 166

Among that group of five, Gundy’s 0.678 winning percentage ranks third behind Swinney (.798) and Kelly (.729), ahead of Brown (0.657) and Ferentz (0.622).

Gundy was the last person to coach against an Alabama squad that didn’t feature Saban on the sideline. Oklahoma State beat the Crimson Tide in the 2006 Independence Bowl. Alabama had fired Mike Shula, and Joe Kines coached the Tide in the game.

That game is the only time OSU and Alabama have met on the gridiron, but that should change in the coming years (unless all this conference shuffling messes with future schedules, anyway). The Crimson Tide will come to Stillwater in 2028 before the Cowboys make a return trip to Tuscaloosa in 2029.

Gundy took part in an Alabama coaches clinic in 2022 and spoke highly of Saban after it.

“Well, he and I have had quite a few conversations over the years on the phone,” Gundy said. “We’re never in the same place at the same time, so we don’t have like face-to-face, but we spent a good, quality hour together, and I enjoyed him. Hopefully he enjoyed me. I learned some stuff. I would be willing to guess he learned some things about what we do. So, it was good to meet with him.

“There’s just a lot of similarities in what they do and what we do behind the scenes and belief and things that we think our culture things that we feel like are important in successful long-term. He feels the same way in a lot of areas that are important to success.”

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