List of college football head coaches with non-consecutive tenure
This is a list of college football head coaches with non-consecutive tenure, meaning that an individual was a head coach at a college or university for a period, departed, and then returned to the same college or university in the same capacity.
This list includes only head coaches. This list does not include head coaches whose break in tenure was due to a temporarily suspended football program for World War I (including the flu pandemic linked to that conflict) or World War II and with no other coach during the break in tenure. It also does not include coaches that left and returned into an administrative capacity in the title of "head coach" but did not coach any games, such as when Tom Osborne temporarily named himself head coach while athletic director for the Nebraska Cornhuskers until Bo Pelini was hired in 2007.
Several College Football Hall of Fame coaches have made the list, accenting not only their return to the same program but the success their return brought to the program. Critics have pointed out that returning coaches appear to be less successful at producing winning teams and programs during their second tenure and make comparisons to previous records of coaches attempting to return to a prior coaching job.
|Abbott, EliEli Abbott||Alabama||1893–1895, 1902|
|Abraham, A. A.A. A. Abraham||Alcorn State||1936, 1938, 1941–1942|
|Adams, HobbsHobbs Adams||Kansas State||1940–1941, 1946|
|Allen, George E.George E. Allen||Maine||1941, 1946–1948|
|Allen, WilliamWilliam Allen||Washington State||1900, 1902|
|Alvarez, BarryBarry Alvarez||Wisconsin||1990–2005, 2012, 2014||Alvarez, who stepped down from coaching after the 2005 season to concentrate on his second role as athletic director and entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010, has been interim coach for two Wisconsin bowl games after the Badgers' head coach left for another school. He coached in the 2013 Rose Bowl (part of the 2012 season) after Bret Bielema left to take the head coaching vacancy at Arkansas, and the 2015 Outback Bowl (part of the 2014 season) following Gary Andersen's departure for the Oregon State vacancy (though Alvarez coached the bowl game in 2015).|
|Anderson, Carl "Swede"Carl "Swede" Anderson||Western Kentucky||1929, 1934–1937|
|Anderson, EddieEddie Anderson||Holy Cross||1933–1938, 1950–1964||Member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Coached six years at Holy Cross in the 1930s, moved on to Iowa which he interrupted to serve in the U.S. Army. He then returned first to Iowa then to Holy Cross for 13 seasons.|
|Arbuckle, PhillipPhillip Arbuckle||Rice||1912–1917, 1919–1923|
|Ault, ChrisChris Ault||Nevada||1976–1992, 1994–1995, 2004–2012||Stepped down and returned twice during his tenure at Nevada, each time to focus on his (now-relinquished) second role as athletics director. Ault was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002, during his second break in tenure.|
|Balliet, D. M.D. M. Balliet||Purdue||1893–1895, 1901|
|Bankart, LaurenceLaurence Bankart||Colgate||1910, 1913–1916|
|Bayne, T. L.T. L. Bayne||Tulane||1893, 1895|
|Bell, MattyMatty Bell||Southern Methodist||1935–1941, 1945–1949|
|Bender, John R.John R. Bender||Washington State||1906–1907, 1912–1914|
|Benet, ChristieChristie Benet||South Carolina||1904–1905, 1908–1909|
|Bennett, CurtCurt Bennett||Sterling||1966–1973, 1980, 1997–2000|
|Bezdek, HugoHugo Bezdek||Oregon||1906, 1913–1917|
|Bierman, BernieBernie Bierman||Minnesota||1932–1941, 1945–1950|
|Bloss, BillBill Bloss||Oregon State||1893, 1897|
|Bocock, BranchBranch Bocock||Virginia Tech||1909–1910, 1912–1915|
|William & Mary||1928–1930, 1936–1938|
|Borleske, StanleyStanley Borleske||North Dakota State||1919–1921, 1923–1924, 1928||Co-head coach with Casey Finnegan in 1928|
|Bradshaw, JimmyJimmy Bradshaw||Fresno State||1936–1942, 1946||Fresno State did not play in 1943, but resumed in 1944.|
|Brewer, ChesterChester Brewer||Michigan State||1903–1910, 1917, 1919||Michigan State played its 1918 season.|
|Briggs, ArthurArthur Briggs||Missouri State||1912, 1914–1917, 1919–1933||Missouri State, then known as the Fourth District Normal School, played in 1918.|
|Bronson, ReubenReuben Bronson||Idaho State||1915–1916, 1919||Idaho State played in 1917, but not in 1918.|
|Brown, JohnJohn Brown||Alabama State||1943, 1945–1948||Alabama State played in 1944.|
|Bullock, MatthewMatthew Bullock||Massachusetts||1904, 1907–1908|
|Butova, HenryHenry Butova||American International||1948, 1952–1955|
|Busbee, PerrinPerrin Busbee||North Carolina State||1892, 1896–1897|
|Cain, JohnnyJohnny Cain||Louisiana–Lafayette||1937–1941, 1946|
|Camp, WalterWalter Camp||Stanford||1892, 1894–1895|
|Campbell, V. M.V. M. Campbell||Memphis||1917, 1919||Memphis, then the West Tennessee Normal School, played in 1918.|
|Cannell, JackJack Cannell||Dartmouth||1921–1922, 1929–1933|
|Carson, GilbertGilbert Carson||Eastern Illinois||1936–1937, 1939–1941|
|Church, BillBill Church||Georgetown||1899, 1901|
|Clark, GeorgeGeorge Clark||Nebraska||1945, 1948|
|Clark, LouisLouis Clark||Dayton||1913, 1917–1918|
|Clark, TomTom Clark||Catholic||1994–2000, 2004–2005|
|Cromwell, DeanDean Cromwell||Southern California||1909–1910, 1916–1918|
|Cross, H. P.H. P. Cross||Stanford||1896, 1898|
|Daly, Charles DudleyCharles Dudley Daly||Army||1913–1916, 1919–1922|
|Dean, MarkMark Dean||Indiana State||1951–1954, 1956|
|DeHart, JamesJames DeHart||Washington & Lee||1922–1925, 1931–1932|
|Devore, HughHugh Devore||Notre Dame||1945, 1963|
|Dickinson, Marvin D.Marvin D. Dickinson||Georgia||1903, 1905|
|Dillon, ChetChet Dillon||Samford||1919, 1927–1928|
|Jacksonville State||1938–1939, 1945|
|Donahue, MikeMike Donahue||Auburn||1904–1906, 1908–1922|
|Ducote, MoonMoon Ducote||Spring Hill||1919, 1921–1922, 1933–1934|
|Duggins, E. C.E. C. Duggins||Appalachian State||1947–1950, 1952–1955|
|Dunlop, JohnJohn Dunlop||Boston College||1897–1899, 1901|
|Dupree, RonRon Dupree||Kansas Wesleyan||1979–1980, 1996|
|Dyche, Schubert R.Schubert R. Dyche||Montana State||1928–1935, 1938–1941|
|Eck, ThomasThomas Eck||Massachusetts||1945, 1947–1951|
|Edwards, George R.George R. Edwards||Kansas Wesleyan||1914, 1917|
|Ely, HarryHarry Ely||Fordham||1892, 1903|
|Enright, RexRex Enright||South Carolina||1938–1942, 1946–1955|
|Erickson, DennisDennis Erickson||Idaho||1982–1985, 2006||21 years between coaching periods|
|Faber, JackJack Faber||Maryland||1935, 1940–1941|
|Fagg, DaveDave Fagg||Davidson||1970–1973, 1990–1992|
|Fambrough, DonDon Fambrough||Kansas||1971–1974, 1979–1982|
|Farley, WellsWells Farley||Maine||1901, 1903|
|Faurot, DonDon Faurot||Missouri||1935–1942, 1946–1956|
|Fessenden, DougDoug Fessenden||Montana||1935–1941, 1946–1948|
|Folsom, FredFred Folsom||Colorado||1895–1899, 1901–1902, 1908–1915|
|Forbes, TedTed Forbes||UC Davis||1949–1953, 1955|
|Foster, DixonDixon Foster||South Carolina||1917, 1919|
|Floyd, RedRed Floyd||Middle Tennessee||1917, 1935–1938|
|Franchione, DennisDennis Franchione||Texas State||1990–91, 2011–2015||20 years between coaching periods|
|Fulmer, PhillipPhillip Fulmer||Tennessee||1992, 1993–2008||Fulmer was named interim head coach for the first three games of the 1992 season in Johnny Majors' absence. He returned to his position as offensive coordinator upon Majors' return. Following Majors' resignation after the season, Fulmer was promoted to head coach.|
|Gammons, J. A.J. A. Gammons||Brown||1902, 1908–1909|
|Gardner, MikeMike Gardner||Tabor||2004–2005, 2010–present|
|Gargan, FrankFrank Gargan||Fordham||1916, 1922–1926|
|Gilbert, RufusRufus Gilbert||Kalamazoo||1905, 1907–1908|
|Graham, OttoOtto Graham||Coast Guard||1959–1965, 1974–1975|
|Graham, RalphRalph Graham||Wichita State||1942, 1946–1947|
|Graves, Sr., ErnestErnest Graves, Sr.||Army||1906, 1912|
|Green, RobRob Green||Missouri Southern||1997, 2003||Green had no wins in nine games as head coach.|
|Griffin Sr., JamesJames Griffin Sr.||Hampton||1941–1942, 1947–1948|
|Griffith, John G.John G. Griffith||Idaho||1902–1906, 1910–1914|
|Hamilton, TomTom Hamilton||Navy||1934–1936, 1946–1947|
|Harbaugh, A. G.A. G. Harbaugh||Montana State||1901, 1905|
|Harding, JackJack Harding||Miami (Fla.)||1937–1942, 1945–1947|
|Hargesheirner, WalterWalter Hargesheirner||Massachusetts||1941–1942, 1946|
|Harman, HarveyHarvey Harman||Rutgers||1938–1941, 1946–1955|
|Hare, Lyle W.Lyle W. Hare||Black Hills State||1906, 1911–1919|
|Harris, L.L. Harris||Alcorn State||1937, 1939–1940|
|Harlow, DickDick Harlow||Harvard||1935–1942, 1945–1947|
|Hartsell, HarryHarry Hartsell||North Carolina State||1917, 1921–1923|
|Helton, ClayClay Helton||USC||2013, 2015–present||Helton was interim coach for the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl and for seven games after Steve Sarkisian's firing in 2015. He was named permanent head coach after the 2015 UCLA game.|
|Hess, FredFred Hess||Wyoming||1892, 1894, 1898||Hess was co-head coach with Justus Soule in 1894.|
|Hinch, Nick E.Nick E. Hinch||Eastern Washington||1908, 1912|
|Hinkle, TonyTony Hinkle||Butler||1926, 1935–1941, 1946–1969|
|Hollenback, BillBill Hollenback||Penn State||1909, 1911–1914|
|Hoskins, GeorgeGeorge Hoskins||Bucknell||1899–1906, 1909|
|Hucles, Henry B.Henry B. Hucles||Virginia Union||1919–1920, 1926–1942|
|Hughes, Harry W.Harry W. Hughes||Colorado State||1911–1941, 1946|
|Hunt, Claude J.Claude J. Hunt||Washington||1917, 1919||Washington played in 1918.|
|Hunthausen, JohnJohn Hunthausen||Carroll (MT)||1957, 1959–1961|||
|Jackson, EdwardEdward Jackson||Delaware State||1933–1936, 1939, 1941–1942, 1945, 1953–1956|
|Kennedy, A. R.A. R. Kennedy||Washburn||1903, 1916–1917|
|Kenyon, William C.William C. Kenyon||Maine||1942, 1944–1945|
|Kern, BillBill Kern||West Virginia||1940–1942, 1946–1947|
|Kimball, EddieEddie Kimball||Brigham Young||1937–1941, 1946–1948|
|King, PhilipPhilip King||Wisconsin||1896–1902, 1905|
|Kitts, JamesJames Kitts||Virginia Tech||1941, 1946–1947|
|Lahar, HarlHarl Lahar||Colgate||1952–1956, 1962–1967|
|Lantz, CharlesCharles Lantz||Eastern Illinois||1911–1934, 1944||No season in 1918.|
|Leahy, FrankFrank Leahy||Notre Dame||1941–1943, 1946–1953|
|Lee, JohnJohn Lee||Fordham||1891, 1893|
|Little, GeorgeGeorge Little||Miami (Ohio)||1916, 1919–1921|
|Lotter, WillWill Lotter||California–Davis||1954, 1956–1957, 1959–1963|
|Majors, JohnnyJohnny Majors||Pittsburgh||1973–1976, 1993–1996||Won a national title at Pittsburgh in his first tenure.|
|Mann, OliverOliver Mann||Rutgers||1903, 1905|
|Marks, WallyWally Marks||Indiana State||1927–1930, 1933–1941, 1946–1948|
|Mayser, CharlesCharles Mayser||Franklin & Marshall||1919–1914
|McAvoy, WilliamWilliam McAvoy||Delaware||1908–1916, 1922–1924|
|McBirney, Sam P.Sam P. McBirney||Tulsa||1908, 1914–1916|
|McCann, DanDan McCann||Duquesne||1970–1983, 1988–1992|
|McCarty, TimTim McCarty||East Central||2004–2005, 2009–present|
|McClairen, JackJack McClairen||Bethune–Cookman||1961–1972, 1994–1997|
|McCorkle, SamSam McCorkle||Livingston/West Alabama||1985–1990, 2004–2005|
|McGugin, DanDan McGugin||Vanderbilt||1904–1917, 1919–1934|
|McLaughry, TussTuss McLaughry||Dartmouth||1941–1942, 1945–1954|
|Westminster College||1915–1916, 1918, 1921||Co-head coach with Park in 1915|
|McKay, JackJack McKay||Butler||1907–1908, 1910|
|Michie, DennisDennis Michie||Army||1890, 1892|
|Miller, John O.John O. Miller||New Mexico State||1899, 1901–1907|
|Miles, AlfredAlfred Miles||Middle Tennessee||1913–1916, 1919–1923|
|Mobley, T. R.T. R. Mobley||Louisiana–Lafayette||1916, 1919, 1921–1930|
|Moore, JimJim Moore||Murray State||1941, 1946–1947|
|Morrison, EdwardEdward Morrison||Howard||1920–1924, 1928|
|Morrison, RayRay Morrison||Southern Methodist||1915–1916, 1924–1934|
|Morrow, David C.David C. Morrow||Washington & Jefferson||1908–11, 1919–20, 1924–25|||
|Mullins, MoonMoon Mullins||Saint Ambrose||1940, 1947–1950|||
|Murray, FrankFrank Murray||Marquette||1922–1936, 1946–1949|
|Myers, DennyDenny Myers||Boston College||1941–1942, 1946–1950|
|Myers, HowdyHowdy Myers||Johns Hopkins||1946–1949, 1979||Myers had a 30-year break in tenure at Johns Hopkins|
|Nielson, BobBob Nielson||Minnesota–Duluth||1999–2003, 2008–2012||Won two Division II national titles in his second tenure.|
|Neyland, RobertRobert Neyland||Tennessee||1926–1934, 1936–1940, 1946–1952||Interrupted his coaching twice to serve in the U.S. Army|
|Nichols, RalphRalph Nichols||Washington||1895–1896, 1898|
|Obrien, HarveyHarvey O'Brien||The Citadel||1916–1918, 1920–1921|
|Obrien, MaynardMaynard O'Brien||Eastern Illinois||1946–1950, 1952–1955|
|Odaniels, HowieHowie O'Daniels||Cal Poly||1933–1941, 1946–1947|
|Oneill, FrankFrank "Buck" O'Neill||Colgate||1902, 1904–1905|
|Syracuse||1906–1907, 1913–1915, 1917–1919|
|Oliver, TexTex Oliver||Oregon||1938–1941, 1945–1946|
|Parker, WallaceWallace Parker||Central Michigan||1921–1923, 1926–1928|
|Parker, WillieWillie Parker||Alabama State||1973–1975, 1984, 1986|
|Pecarovich, MikeMike Pecarovich||Loyola Marymount||1928, 1939|
|Pelini, BoBo Pelini||Nebraska||2003, 2008–2014||Pelini coached the final game (the Alamo Bowl) of the 2003 season after Frank Solich was fired.|
|Peters, MartyMarty Peters||Benedictine||1937–1941, 1946–1947|
|Petrino, BobbyBobby Petrino||Louisville||2003–2006, 2014–present|
|Pierson, AlvinAlvin Pierson||Fresno State||1945, 1949|
|Pitts, BoozerBoozer Pitts||Auburn||1923–1924, 1927|
|Potts, FrankFrank Potts||Colorado||1940, 1944–1945|
|Pray, IrvingIrving Pray||Louisiana State||1916, 1919, 1922|
|Prince, Percy S.Percy S. Prince||Louisiana Tech||1909–1915, 1919|
|Reed, EddieEddie Reed||Loyola (LA)||1926, 1935–1936|
|Reese, RedRed Reese||Eastern Washington||1930–1941, 1946|
|Reid, WilliamWilliam Reid||Harvard||1901, 1905–1906|
|Richards, JohnJohn Richards||Wisconsin||1911, 1917, 1919–1922|
|Riggs, WalterWalter Riggs||Clemson||1896, 1899|
|Riley, MikeMike Riley||Oregon State||1997–1998, 2003–2014||Returned to Oregon State after coaching in the NFL|
|Robinson, Eddie "Robbie"Eddie "Robbie" Robinson||Brown||1898–1901, 1904–1907, 1910–1925|
|Robinson, JohnJohn Robinson||Southern California||1976–1982, 1993–1997||Won a national title in his first tenure|
|Robinson, MertonMerton Robinson||Howard||1908, 1918–1919|
|Rockafeller, HarryHarry Rockafeller||Rutgers||1927–1930, 1942–1945|
|Rodgers, IraIra Rodgers||West Virginia||1925–1930, 1943–1945|
|Rogers, GeorgeGeorge Rogers||The Citadel||1913–1915, 1919|
|Roper, BillBill Roper||Princeton||1906–1908, 1910–1911, 1919–1930||Three undefeated seasons and four national championships at Princeton|
|Ryder, Frederick Bushnell "Jack"Frederick Bushnell "Jack" Ryder||Ohio State||1892–1895, 1898|
|Rynearson, EltonElton Rynearson||Eastern Michigan ("Michigan State Normal College" at the time)||1917, 1919–1920, 1925–1948||No season in 1944. He is considered the most successful coach in the program, leading the team to several undefeated seasons. Eastern Michigan's current stadium bears his name.|
|Henry Russell Sanders||Vanderbilt||1940–1942, 1946–1948|
|Don Salls||Jacksonville State||1946–1952, 1954–1964|
|Herb Schmalenberger||California–Davis||1958, 1964–1969|
|Clark Shaughnessy||Maryland||1942, 1946|
|Clarence A. Short||Delaware||1902, 1906|
|Fred Smith||Fordham||1901, 1904, 1906–1907||Smith was co-head coach with Maurice McCarthy in 1901.|
|Sid Smith||McPherson||1953–1966, 1971–1972|
|Warren W. Smith||Oregon||1901, 1903|
|Carl Snavely||North Carolina||1934–1935, 1945–1952|
|Norm Snead||Apprentice||1977–1984, 1988–1989|
|Snyder, BillBill Snyder||Kansas State||1989–2005, 2009–present|
|Frank Spaziani||Boston College||2006, 2009–2012||Spaziani coached the final game of the 2006 season (the Meineke Car Care Bowl) after Tom O'Brien left.|
|J. W. Stephenson||Jacksonville State||1920–1921, 1929–1930|
|Roy Stewart||Murray State||1932–1940, 1942–1945||No season in 1943.|
|Tony Storti||Montana State||1952–1953, 1956–1957|
|Arthur Strum||Indiana State||1923–1926, 1932, 1942|
|Fred Sullivan||Ohio||1899, 1903|
|Jim Sweeney||Fresno State||1976–1977, 1980–1996|
|Charles Tambling||Central Michigan||1902–1905, 1918|
|Jim Tatum||North Carolina||1942, 1956–1958|
|Teevens, BuddyBuddy Teevens||Dartmouth||1987–1991, 2005–present|
|Thomas, JesseJesse Thomas||Western Kentucky||1933, 1946–1947|
|Thompson, JohnJohn Thompson||Arkansas State||2012, 2013||Thompson has been an interim head coach for two Arkansas State appearances in the GoDaddy Bowl. He was first named interim coach after the 2012 regular season when Gus Malzahn left to take the head coaching vacancy at Auburn, and coached in the 2013 game. Thompson again became interim coach after the 2013 regular season when Bryan Harsin left for Boise State, and coached in the 2014 game.|
|Toop, MikeMike Toop||Davidson||2001–2004, 2008|
|Merchant Marine||2005–2007, 2009–present|
|Thomas Trenchard||North Carolina||1895, 1913–1915|
|Washington & Lee||1899, 1902|
|Otto D. Unruh||Bethel Threshers||1919–1942, 1967–1969||25 years and nine other head coaches held the post between times of service, including his son David Unruh|
|Johnny Vaught||Mississippi||1947–1970, 1973|
|Wallace Wade||Duke||1931–1941, 1946–1950|
|Bill Walsh||Stanford||1977–1978, 1992–1994|
|Charles W. Wantland||Central Oklahoma||1912–1919, 1921–1930|
|W. Rice Warren||Virginia||1913, 1920–1921|
|Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner||Cornell||1897–1898, 1904–1906|
|Whipple, MarkMark Whipple||Massachusetts||1998–2003, 2014–present||Whipple won a Division I-AA (FCS) national title in the first year of his first tenure.|
|Bob Williams||Clemson||1906, 1909, 1913–1915|
|C. H. Williams||Hampton||1914–1917, 1919–1920|
|Jimmy Wilson||Buffalo||1932–1933, 1950–1951|
|Edgar Wingard||Susquehanna||1916–1917, 1919, 1924–1925|
|Frank N. Wolf||Waynesburg||1921–1922, 1928–1941|
|James J. Yeager||Colorado||1941–1943, 1946–1947|
|Louis Yeager||West Virginia||1899, 1901–1902|
|Donzell Young||Arkansas–Pine Bluff||1973–1975, 1984–1986|
|Fielding H. Yost||Michigan||1901–1923, 1925–1926|
|Don Young||Black Hills State||1948–1950, 1953–1958, 1967|
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