College football has been an American passion for most of the twentieth century and has sustained its large following throughout the twenty-first century. The game has undergone many changes during its long tenure, some that have transformed the fundamentals of the game throughout every level. One aspect that has remained consistent is the importance of the team’s figure head, the coach. This project examines the evolution of the college football coach from 1945 to present day. Using the prominent coaching careers of Paul “Bear” Bryant (1945-1982), Ara Parseghian (1951-1974), and Steve Spurrier (1987-2015) as case studies, the principles and methods of each coach is investigated in order to show how coaches form their philosophies and adapt them over time under a variety of circumstances. By placing these coaches in comparison with each other, this project uncovers the significant ways in which the position has evolved as a result of changes within the game and larger American society. This project also shows the characteristics that coaches exude regardless of the time period they coach during. Coaches are given the credit when their teams emerge victorious on the gridiron, but also receive the blame when their teams suffer the agony of defeat. Through an understanding of how the position has evolved, current and future coaches can formulate their own time-appropriate philosophies as well as incorporate the themes that successful coaches have highlighted throughout the game’s existence.


Biro Walters, Jordan



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Daniel S. Gorzynski