The Texas Longhorns have had 28 head football coaches since 1893, when they started organized football. Many of these coaches have led Texas to great seasons, and only one coach, Jack Chevigny, has ever had a winning percentage below .500.
The Longhorns did not have a coach in their first season; they have played 1,208 games in 118 seasons and have been led to bowl games by eight different coaches. These are the 10 best coaches who I believe have ever led the Orange and White, whether they won a national championship or helped shape the program into what it is today, these 10 coaches have left the biggest impact on Texas Longhorns football history.
10. R.D. Wentworth: 1894
Our 10th best coach in Texas Longhorns history is Reginald DeMerritt Wentworth. He only coached the Longhorns in seven games. With a 6-1 record, he a winning percentage of .857, which is one of the highest in school history.
Why is a man with only seven games of college football coaching experience even considered in my list you may ask. Wentworth was the first football coach at the University of Texas, and he kept the program running. After their first season in 1893, they were without a coach, yet again, and were considering cutting their football program. Wentworth is the first stepping stone in a very rich history of University of Texas football.
9. Eugene Van Gent: 1916
Eugene Van Gent is another man on my list who didn't coach the Longhorns in very many games, nine to be exact, and finished with a 7-2 record. But of course, there is a very important reason why this man is on the list. Van Gent led the 1916 Longhorns to their first Southwest Conference championship. The Longhorns have moved on to win many more conference championships over the years, both in the Southwest Conference and the Big 12, but this man got it all started.
8. Fred Akers: 1977-1986
Fred Akers boasted a .731 winning percentage at the University of Texas, but his inability to win in the postseason seats him in the eighth spot. Akers came to Texas with expectations high. Texas fans wanted to see another Darrell Royal, but were not pleased with Akers overall performance. Akers was 86-31-2 coaching the Longhorns, and led them to two postseason wins. Two postseason wins is great, but Akers also had seven postseason losses (four in a row from 1982-1985).
7. Clyde Littlefield: 1927-1933
Clyde Littlefield was the first coach to lead the Longhorns to two conference championships (both in the Southwest Conference). Littlefield had a .691 winning percentage, which is pretty average when you look at their coaching history. Although Littlefield was a good football coach, he became one of the best track and field coaches of all time, leading the Longhorns to 25 conference championships between 1920-1961.
6. Ed Price: 1951-1956
After Blair Cherry's unexpected resignation, Ed Price, Texas native and former Longhorns player, stepped in as the new head coach at the University of Texas. Price compiled a very average 33-27-1 record, but had two conference championship wins, one Cotton Bowl win and no postseason losses. In 1954, Texas went 4-5-1, its first losing season in 15 years. After capping off three losing seasons in a row with a 1-9 season, the worst record in school history, Price tendered his resignation in 1956.
5. Berry Whitaker: 1920-1922
Berry Whitaker is another coach who really helped Texas establish themselves in the NCAA, and take root in football history. Whitaker won one conference championship at Texas, while compiling a 22-3-1 record. He has the best winning percentage of any coach in UT history with a .865 (besides Frank Crawford, who went 5-0 in 1895, and H.R. Schenker, who only coached one season).
4. Blair Cherry: 1947-1950
Blair Chery was originally a head coaching candidate for the team in 1937, but lost the job to Texas superstar Dana X. Bible. Coach Bible later hired Cherry as an assistant, and groomed him into somebody who could lead the Longhorns to success. Cherry went 32-10-1 in his stint at Texas, leading the 'Horns to one conference championship, one Sugar Bowl win and one Orange Bowl win. He later lost in the 1950 Cotton Bowl Classic, his only postseason loss. After playing Tennessee, Cherry announced his retirement mid-season, having been suffering from ulcers and insomnia.
3. Dana X. Bible: 1937-1946
Dana X. Bible is in the College Football Hall of Fame and the Longhorn Hall of Honor for a reason. Bible was 63-31-3 with the University of Texas, won two postseason games and led the Longhorns three Southwest Conference championships. Although, he was nearly unstoppable at Texas, his most impressive coaching season was at Texas A&M, a season in which the team was undefeated, untied and outscored its opposition 275–0, was retroactively named a national champion by the Billingsley Report and the National Championship Foundation.
2. Mack Brown: 1998-Present
Mack Brown is credited with reviving the Texas football program, and has the track record to prove it. Brown is the highest salaried coach at a public institution with an annual salary of $5.1 million. On Nov. 27, 2008, Brown achieved his 200th career win, making him the first Texas coach to reach that mark.
Brown has a .796 winning percentage at Texas. He has had 20 consecutive winning seasons, 18 consecutive bowl game appearances, posted back-to-back 11-win seasons, nine consecutive 10-win seasons and 10 consecutive nine-win campaigns for the first time in school history, though it must be noted that Texas played a maximum of only 11 games per season up until 1975 and only 12 games per season up until 1995 (including conference championship and bowl game).
Brown led the Longhorns to the national championship in 2005 and was the NCAA Coach of the Year. He is one of the best coached in college football statistically, and will probably find himself as the third Texas coach to be in the College Football Hall of Fame.
1. Darrell Royal: 1957-1976
Darrell Royal is the best football coach ever for the University of Texas Longhorns. Royal, another College Football Hall-of-Famer, was 184-60-5 at UT, leading the Longhorns to 16 postseason appearances and nine victories. Royal won national championships in 1963, 1969 and 1970, and won or shared 11 Southwest Conference championships.
Royal never had a losing season at Texas, and was awarded the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award in 1961 and 1963, and was the AFCA Coach of the Year in 1963 and 1969.