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Bryant, Claiborne and Brooks among top 100 coaches of the last 50 years

Three of Kentucky’s most successful coaches make the cut.

Kentucky v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Three former Kentucky Wildcats head coaches made the cut in a list of the top 100 college football coaches of the last 50 years.

The list was put together by ESPN’s Bill Connelly, who put Bear Bryant, Jerry Claiborne and Rich Brooks on the list.

Bear Bryant checked in at No. 2. Despite being better known for his time at Alabama, Bryant led the 1950 Wildcats to a Sugar Bowl victory that some claim as a national championship.

“He nearly won national titles at Kentucky and A&M, and when “Mama called,” he came home to his alma mater, won three national titles in five years, then responded to a late-1960s funk by integrating his roster, adopting the Wishbone and ripping off seven top-fives in eight years,” Connely wrote.

Claiborne, who coached the Wildcats from 1982-1989, checked in at No. 74. Kentucky went just 41-46-3 with Claiborne at the helm but did post a 9-3 1984 season that ended with a Hall of Fame Classic Bowl win.

Claiborne is better known for his 61–39–2 record at Virginia Tech and 77–37–3 record at Maryland.

Finally, Brooks came in at No. 81. Despite an overall record of 39-47 while leading the Wildcats from 2003-09, he went 30-22 in his final four seasons, took the team to four straight bowl games, winning three, and coached the Cats to an upset win over No. 1 and eventual national champion LSU in 2007.

Here’s a look at Connelly’s top 10:

  1. Nick Saban: Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama
  2. Bear Bryant: Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama
  3. Bobby Bowden: Samford, West Virginia and Florida State
  4. Tom Osborne: Nebraska
  5. Urban Meyer: Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State
  6. John McKay: USC
  7. Dabo Swinney: Clemson
  8. Bill Snyder: Kansas State
  9. Barry Switzer: Oklahoma
  10. LaVell Edwards: BYU