Greatest High School Football Coach of All Time From Every State
Few things can bring a community together like a winning high school football team.
The thing is, those winning teams don't just appear out of thin air. You have to put the right person in charge. And when you do find the right head coach ... hold on to them for dear life because they're going to get very, very popular.
In the history of high school football across the country, the very best head coaches have created dynasties that include state championships, undefeated seasons and, sometimes, players who go on to become college All-Americans and play in the NFL. They've also left indelible marks on their communities.
Here's a look at the greatest high school football coach of all time from every state.
(Note: All statistics are through the 2023 season unless otherwise noted.)
Alabama: Josh Niblett
High Schools: Oneonta High School (Oneonta), Hoover High School (Hoover)
State Championships: 7 (2004, 2009, 2012-14, 2016, 2017)
Overall Record: 236-58 (.803)
Bottom line: Josh Niblett won a Class 3A state championship at Onenota before winning six state championships in his first stint at Hoover from 2009 to 2017.
Niblett is now a high school coach in Georgia, where he led Gainesville High to a Class 6A state runner-up finish in his first season in 2022.
Alaska: Buck Nystrom
High Schools: Ben Eielson High School (Eielson AFB), North Pole High School (North Pole)
State Championships: 2 (1992, 1994)
Overall Record: 150-88 (.630)
Bottom line: Few sports figures in Alaskan high school sports history are as respected as the late Buck Nystrom, who led two Fairbanks-area high schools to state championships — Eielson High in 1992 and North Pole High in 2004.
Nystrom's 1992 title is the stuff of legend as Alaska high school football only had one division at the time and Eielson only had 250 students. Nystrom led Eielson to state runner-up finishes in 1991 and 1993.
Nystrom died in 2006 from heart surgery complications, just three weeks after coaching his final game at North Pole. Nystrom coached his final game on the same day he spent the afternoon in the emergency room after problems with his pacemaker.
Arizona: Jason Mohns
High Schools: Saguaro High School (Scottsdale), Scottsdale Salt River High School (Scottsdale)
State Championships: 7 (2011, 2013-2018, 2021)
Overall Record: 128-22 (.853)
Bottom line: Jason Mohns was part of 11 state championships at Saguaro High School, winning four as an assistant coach and seven as the head coach. Mohns' team won six consecutive state championships from 2013 to 2018 and finished as state runner-up in 2022. Mohns was hired as the tight ends coach at Arizona State in 2023.
Arkansas: Wilson Matthews
High Schools: Rogers High School (Rogers), Little Rock/Little Rock Central High School (Little Rock)
State Championships: 10 (1947-50, 1952-57)
Overall Record: 118-17-3 (.855)
Bottom line: Wilson Matthews won a staggering 10 state championships in 11 seasons as the coach at Little Rock High, which became Little Rock Central High in 1953. That run was capped by back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1956 and 1957, including a mythical high school national championship in 1957.
Matthews left Little Rock Central to become a defensive assistant at Arkansas, where he spent a decade coaching defensive ends and linebackers before moving into administration. Matthews died in 2002, at 80 years old.
California: Bob Ladouceur
High School: De La Salle High School (Concord)
National Championships: 11 (1994, 1998, 1999-2003, 2009-12)
Overall Record: 399-24-3 (.940)
Bottom line: You'll notice a slight change to the criteria for former De La Salle High head coach Bob Ladouceur — his 11 national championships put him in the conversation for the greatest high school football coach of all time. Ladouceur coached 426 career games and won a staggering 94 percent of the time.
How famous did Ladouceur become coaching at De La Salle? Two different books were written about his team and its famous 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2004. He was portrayed by Jim Caviezel in the 2014 film "When the Game Stands Tall."
Colorado: Dave Logan
High Schools: Cherry Creek High School (Greenwood Village), Arvada West High School (Arvada), Chatfield High School (Littleton), Mullen High School (Denver)
State Championships: 11 (1997, 2001, 2004, 2008-10, 2014, 2019-22)
Overall Record: 315-69 (.820)
Bottom line: Colorado native and former University of Colorado and NFL star Dave Logan has one of the more impressive post-playing careers of anyone you'll come across — he's not only the greatest high school football coach in Colorado history but an award-winning radio host and sports broadcaster in Denver.
Logan has coached at four high schools — Arvada West, Chatfield, Mullen and Cherry Creek — and has won state championships at each stop. Logan won his 11th overall state title in 2022 with Cherry Creek.
Connecticut: Lou Marinelli
High School: New Canaan High School
State Championships: 13 (1982, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2006-09, 2013-16, 2022)
Overall Record: 362-105-6 (.772)
Bottom line: Few high school coaches in the U.S. can say they've had a career like Lou Marinelli, who has been New Canaan High's head coach since 1981 and has won 13 state championships in 42 seasons, including the 2022 title.
Marinelli, the winningest coach in Connecticut high school football history, was inducted into the Connecticut High School Hall of Fame in 2009.
Delaware: Butch Simpson
High School: Newark High School (Newark)
State Championships: 9 (1984, 1985, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004))
Overall Record: 284-128-7 (.677)
Bottom line: Butch Simpson coached Newark High for 39 years and won nine state championships, including seven in eight seasons from 1997 to 2004 — he also led his Newark teams to five state runner-up finishes. Simpson was actually the defensive coordinator for Newark's only other state title in 1976.
Simpson's greatest team was likely his 1998 state championship squad, which featured future NFL players Rich Parson, Kwame Harris and Orien Harris. In 2019, Newark High named its football field after Simpson.
Florida: Nick Kotys
High School: Coral Gables High School (Coral Gables)
State Championships: 6 (1956, 1958, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968)
Overall Record: 160-33-9 (.811)
Bottom line: Sometimes a truly great person can transcend the sport they coach — such was the case of Coral Gables High head coach Nick Kotys.
Kotys coached Coral Gables from 1952 to 1971 and won six state championships and four mythical national championships. When Coral Gables High integrated in 1965 under heavy public criticism, Kotys and his assistant coaches stood guard at the doors to let Black students enter safely. On top of that, Kotys faced heavy public criticism when he made Craig Curry the school's first Black starting quarterback in 1967.
The result was one of the greatest high school football teams of all time. Coral Gables went 13-0 with Curry leading the way and was named Florida's Team of the Century by the FHSAA in 2007. Curry went on to star at the University of Minnesota.
"Craig does all the thinking," Kotys said of the 1967 team. "I only nod OK."
Georgia: Larry Campbell
High School: Lincoln County High School (Lincolnton)
State Championships: 11 (1976, 1977, 1985-87, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2006)
Overall Record: 477-85-3 (.847)
Bottom line: Larry Campbell spent a staggering 43 seasons as Lincoln County High's head coach, winning 11 state championships across four different decades. When Campbell retired in 2015, scores of his players came out to honor him, including his greatest player of all time: former All-American and NFL All-Pro running back Garrison Hearst.
Hawaii: Cal Lee
High School: Saint Louis School (Honolulu)
State Championships: 18 (1983, 1986-99, 2016-19)
Overall Record: 241-23-5 (.895)
Bottom line: Cal Lee had two stints as the head coach at powerhouse Saint Louis, from 1983 to 2001 and again from 2014 to 2019. Lee won 18 state championships, including 14 consecutive titles from 1986 to 1999. At one point, Saint Louis won 55 consecutive games from 1985 to 1991. Lee's star pupils included a gaggle of future college and NFL stars, including NCAA career passing leader Timmy Chang and future NFL offensive linemen Olin Kreutz and Dominic Raiola.
Idaho: Tom Harrison
High Schools: Ririe High School (Ririe), Raft River High School (Malta), Snake River High School (Blackfoot), Pocatello High School (Pocatello), Weiser High School (Weiser)
State Championships: 11 (1986, 1990, 1995, 1998, 1998-2002, 2006, 2021)
Overall Record: 296-99 (.749)
Bottom line: Former University of Montana football player Tom Harrison was only 22 years old when he landed his first head coaching job at Ririe High School in 1981, where he went 1-9 in his first season. Harrison dedicated himself to his craft and became a coaching legend in the Pacific Northwest. Harrison has won 11 state championships at four schools across five decades, including five consecutive state titles and a 54-game winning streak at Snake River from 1998 to 2002.
Harrison's teams have made the state championship game 15 times — he won his latest title at Weiser in 2021.
Illinois: Bob Shannon
High Schools: East St. Louis High School (East St. Louis), Alton High School (Alton)
State Championships: 6 (1979, 1983-85, 1989, 1991
Overall Record: 192-34 (.849)
Bottom line: In 20 years at East St. Louis High, Bob Shannon won six state championships and finished as state runner-up twice, including one of the greatest teams in high school football history in 1985.
East St. Louis went 40-0 and won three consecutive state championships from 1983 to 1985 — the last team in that run was led by future Pro Bowl linebacker Bryan Cox, went 14-0 and was named high school football national champions. Shannon was also named USA Today National Coach of the Year.
Off the field, Shannon really was that dude at the most extreme level that you can think of. Two U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, singled Shannon out for his heroic battle against corruption in his own school district in the early 1990s. He was eventually awarded the U.S. Attorney General Award from Janet Reno — an honor rarely bestowed on anyone outside law enforcement.
Indiana: Rick Streiff
High Schools: Cathedral High School (Indianapolis), North Central High School (Indianapolis), Brebeuf Prep School (Indianapolis)
State Championships: 10 (1992, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2010-14)
Overall Record: 242-109 (.689)
Bottom line: Cathedral's Rick Streiff won 10 state championships across two stints at the school that spanned 23 seasons: the first from 1989 to 2001 and the second from 2008 to 2017.
Cathedral won five consecutive state titles under Streiff from 2010 to 2014
Streiff, who was a star wide receiver at Butler University in the early 1980s, should also be known for laying down one of the all-time greatest quotes about retirement when he spoke with the Indy Star in 2017.
“I’m a competitive person,” Streiff said. “That probably will never leave me. My wife gets mad at me because when somebody passes me on the road, she says I naturally accelerate. That’s just me. The competition and competitiveness probably kept me in it a little longer. But it’s time.”
Iowa: Curt Bladt
High School: Harlan Community High School (Harlan)
State Championships: 11 (1982-84, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2003-05, 2009)
Overall Record: 415-63 (.868)
Bottom line: Curt Bladt coached at Harlan High for 51 seasons — 10 as an assistant coach followed by 41 as the head coach. Bladt won 11 state championships, including three in a row from 1982 to 1984 and three in a row from 2003 to 2005.
Bladt's quarterback on his 1997 state championship team is the only Harlan product to make it to the NFL so far — Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff.
Kansas: C.J. Hamilton
High School: Silver Lake High School (Silver Lake)
State Championships: 8 (1981, 1984, 1989, 1991, 1997, 2006, 2010, 2013)
Overall Record: 447-98 (.820)
Bottom line: C.J. Hamilton isn't just the greatest high school football coach in Kansas history — he's one of the greatest high school football coaches to every walk a sideline.
Hamilton coached Silver Lake High for 47 years and his 447 wins are top among all Kansas high school coaches. Retiring in 2022, he won eight state championships and his teams played in the state championship game a staggering 18 times, including 11 out of 12 seasons from 2002 to 2013.
Kentucky: Bob Beatty
High School: Trinity High School (Louisville)
State Championships: 15 (2001-03 2005-08, 2010-12, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020)
Overall Record: 231-43 (.846)
Bottom line: Bob Beatty was a successful college and high school offensive coordinator and head coach in Missouri before he took the job at Trinity High in 2000, reeling off 15 state championships in 20 years. Beatty was named USA Today National Coach of the Year in 2011 after his team went 14-0 and was named national champions.
Louisiana: J.T. Curtis
High School: John Curtis Christian School (River Ridge)
State Championships: 27 (1975, 1977, 1979-1981, 1983-1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1996-1999, 2001, 2002, 2004-2008, 2011, 2012, 2018)
Overall Record: 591-109-6 (.837), through Nov. 1, 2023
Bottom line: J.T. Curtis was just 22 years old when he was hired as the head coach at John Curtis Christian School in 1969 — the school founded by his father. He went 0-10 in his first season. In 1973, John Curtis Christian made the state playoffs for the first time. In 1975, it won its first of 27 state championships under J.T. Curtis.
Through 2023 — J.T. Curtis' 54th year as head coach — he'd seen 14 of his former players make it to the NFL and was closing in on 600 career wins.
Maine: Rod Wotton
High School: Marshwood High School (South Berwick), South Berwick High School (South Berwick)
State Championships: 17 (1966, 1971, 1972, 1974-79, 1981, 1983-86, 1988, 1989, 1992)
Overall Record (New England): 342-81-3 (.802)
Bottom line: Marshwood High head coach Rod Wotton won 17 state championships there from 1996 to 1992, then won an additional four state titles at Saint Thomas Aquinas (N.H.) from 1996 to 2011.
Wotton's Marshwood squad won 45 consecutive games from 1983 to 1987, which was the longest active streak in the nation at the time. Wotton's 342 career wins over 47 seasons is the most of any high school coach in the New England region.
Maryland/District of Columbia: Bill McGregor
High Schools: DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville), Gilman School (Baltimore), St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)
WCAC Championships: 17 (1982, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Overall Record: 304-50-3 (.851)
Bottom line: Bill McGregor has led DeMatha Catholic to 17 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships. While DeMatha Catholic doesn't play for state titles in Maryland, you can argue that WCAC titles are more difficult to win than state titles in most states.
McGregor coached DeMatha from 1971 to 2011, left for eight seasons and returned to coach at DeMatha in 2019. Under McGregor, DeMatha has never had a losing season and has gone undefeated six times, including a stretch from 1997 to 2006 where the Stags went 107-8-1.
Massachusetts: Ken LaChapelle
High School: Northbridge High School (Whitinsville)
State Championships: 10 (1987, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2015)
Overall Record: 388-128-6 (.746)
Bottom line: Ken LaChapelle is closing in on his 50th season as the head coach at Northbridge High, where he's won 10 state championships and became the career leader in wins for Massachusetts coaches in 2014. Northbridge has won multiple state championships in every full decade since the 1980s under LaChapelle, including back-to-back titles three times.
Michigan: John Herrington
High School: Harrison High School (Farmington Hills)
State Championships: 13 (1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997-2001, 2010)
Overall Record: 443-112-1 (.798)
Bottom line: John Herrington was the only football coach in Harrison High history — his first season was in 1970, when the school opened, and he retired following the 2018 season when the school closed its doors for good.
In 49 seasons, Herrington carved out an epic career that included 13 state championships, including six in the 1990s and five consecutive titles from 1997 to 2001. Herrington had 443 career wins, making him the winningest coach in Michigan history.
Minnesota: Mike Grant
High School: Eden Prairie High School (Eden Prairie)
State Championships: 11 (1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2011-14, 2017)
Overall Record: 377-79 (.827)
Bottom line: Mike Grant has been Eden Prairie's coach since 1992 and has won 11 state championships, including multiple titles in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Grant, the son of legendary NFL coach Bud Grant, won four consecutive state championships from 2011 to 2014.
Mississippi: Ricky Black
High Schools: Jackson Prep (Jackson), Kosciusko High School (Kosciusko), Tupelo High School (Tupelo)
State Championships: 13 (1977, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006-08, 2012-18)
Overall Record: 400-76 (.832)
Bottom line: Ricky Black was a head coach at three different schools in Mississippi but is most well-known for his time at Jackson Prep, where he won 13 state championships and set a state record by winning seven consecutive titles from 2012 to 2018. Black, who also spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Mississippi State, was named National High School Coach of the Year in 2018 and was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
Missouri: Pete Adkins
High School: Centralia High School (Centralia, Missouri), Jefferson City High School (Jefferson City, Missouri)
State Championships: 9 (1976-78, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994)
Overall Record: 405-60-4 (.868)
Bottom line: Legendary Jefferson City High coach Pete Adkins is one of several coaches on this list who captured the public's imagination in some pretty amazing ways.
Adkins coached high school football for 43 seasons, from 1951 to 1994, and won nine state championships — but didn't win his first title until 1976
He is widely regarded as one of the best high school football coaches of all time and once guided his team to a 71-game winning streak. He was also the star of Grammy-winning musician and Missouri native Melissa Etheridge's music video for her hit song "Breathe" in 2008. You read that right.
Montana: Harry Dahlberg
High School: Butte High School (Butte), Hamilton High School (Hamilton)
State Championships: 10 (1924, 1927, 1929-1931, 1935, 1937, 1940, 1949, 1950)
Overall Record: 222-81-20 (.687)
Bottom line: Butte native Harry "Swede" Dahlberg was a football star at Butte High and the University of Montana before leaving college to fight in World War I — he returned to his home state and coached high school sports for 45 years.
Dahlberg wasn't just a great football coach, winning 10 state championships. He was the greatest high school coach in Montana history, across all sports. Dahlberg coached at Butte from 1922 to 1966 and won 27 state championships across football, boys basketball, track and field and cross country.
Nebraska: Tom Jaworski
High School: Creighton Prep (Omaha)
State Championships: 9 (1980, 1983, 1985-89, 1999, 2004)
Overall Record: 343-92 (.788)
Bottom line: In 39 seasons as Creighton Prep's head coach, Tom Jaworski won nine state championships, played in the state championship game 15 times and never had a losing season. Jaworski's greatest run with Creighton Prep came during the 1980s when his team won seven state championships including five straight from 1985 to 1989.
Nevada: Tony Sanchez
High School: Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas)
State Championships: 6 (2009-14)
Overall Record: 85-5 (.944)
Bottom line: After turning around a moribund program at San Ramon's California High, Tony Sanchez made the leap to Nevada to become Bishop Gorman's head coach in 2009 — a move that revolutionized high school football in the state.
In six seasons at Bishop Gorman, Sanchez's teams won six consecutive Class 4A state championships.
New Hampshire: Chuck Lenahan
High School: Plymouth High School (Plymouth)
State Championships: 20 (1972, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000-03, 2005-09, 2012, 2013)
Overall Record: 356-70-1 (.833)
Bottom line: Chuck Lenahan's first team at Plymouth High in 1971 went winless. The next year his team won the first of 20 state championships.
Under Lenahan, Plymouth went undefeated 13 times and had two historical winning streaks — 46 consecutive games from 2000 to 2004 and a 56-game winning streak that ended in 2010. Plymouth was never more dominant than in the 2000s when it won nine state championships in 10 years. Lenahan also went out on top, closing his 43 seasons as head coach with back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013.
New Jersey: Greg Toal
High Schools: Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey), Saddle Brook High School (Saddle Brook), River Dell High School (Oradell), Hackensack High School (Hackensack)
State Championships: 16 (1985, 1987, 1992-96, 2002, 2003, 2006–2011, 2015)
Overall Record: 305-55-2 (.842)
Bottom line: Greg Toal is the only coach in New Jersey history to win state championships at three different schools: River Dell High, Hackensack High and Don Bosco Prep. Toal spread his championships across four decades and is most well known for his time at Don Bosco Prep, where his squad became the first team from New Jersey to win a national championship. In 17 seasons at Don Bosco Prep, Toal won nine state championships.
New Mexico: Cooper Henderson
High School: Artesia High School (Artesia), Ruidoso High School (Ruidoso)
State Championships: 14 (1992-94, 1996-98, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015)
Overall Record: 293-103-1 (.738)
Bottom line: Cooper Henderson coached Artesia High from 1989 to 2015, winning 14 state championships in 27 seasons and putting his name among the greatest high school coaches in state history, regardless of sport. Artesia also finished as state runner-up twice under Henderson.
Want to hear something really wild? Henderson's father, L.G. Henderson, won five state championships as Artesia's head coach in the 1960s. Cooper Henderson's nephew, Rex Henderson, coached Artesia for five seasons from 2016 to 2020 and won a state championship in 2017.
New York: Skip Violante
High School: Dobbs Ferry High School (Dobbs Ferry), Rye Neck High School (Mamaroneck), Somers High School (Lincolndale)
State Championships: 8 (1982-85, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2004)
Overall Record: 227-52-8 (.790)
Bottom line: Frank "Skip" Violante won all eight of his state championships in two different stints at Dobbs Ferry High. Hired in 1974, Violante didn't win his first state title until his ninth season and reeled off our state titles in a row from 1982 to 1985. Violante returned to Dobbs Ferry after coaching Somers High from 1994 to 1999 and won two state titles in his final three seasons. Dobbs Ferry went 13-0 in his final season in 2004 and became the first team from Section 1 to win state titles in two different divisions.
North Carolina: Jimmy Teague
High Schools: Eastern Alamance High School (Mebane), Garinger High School (Charlotte), Reidsville High School (Reidsville)
State Championships: 8 (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2016, 2018-20)
Overall Record: 369-141 (.723)
Bottom line: Jimmy Teague went 30-43 over his first seven seasons as a high school football coach at Eastern Alamance High and Garinger High from 1985 to 1991 — hardly indicators of the great success that awaited him in the second half of his career.
Hired at Reidsville High in 1992, it took Teague a decade before he won his first state championship in 2002, kicking off a run of eight state championships in 20 years over two stints at the school, including three consecutive state titles from 2018 to 2020. Teague, who retired after the 2022 season, also finished as state runner-up three times at Reidsville.
North Dakota: Mark Gibson
High School: Bismarck High School (Bismarck)
State Championships: 6 (2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2018)
Overall Record: 202-69 (.745)
Bottom line: Bismarck High has only had two head coaches in the last 50 years. Current head coach Mark Gibson took over for Bob Feeney in 1998 and has won six state championships since, including four titles in a five seasons from 2008 to 2012 and three unbeaten seasons.
Gibson's greatest pupil is arguably former NFL offensive lineman Greg Eslinger, a four-year starter for the University of Minnesota, three-time All-American and 2005 Outland Trophy winner.
Ohio: Gerry Faust
High School: Archbishop Moeller High School (Cincinnati)
State Championships: 5 (1975-77, 1979, 1980)
Overall Record: 178-23-2 (.881)
Bottom line: Gerry Faust was just 27 years old when he became Archbishop Moeller's first head coach. Faust built the program into not just the best in Ohio but the best in the entire nation.
Moeller kicked off a run of five state championships in six seasons under Moeller by winning three consecutive titles from 1975 to 1977, then adding two more titles in 1979 and 1980. Moeller was named national champion four times in that stretch.
After 19 seasons at Moeller, Faust's reputation as a football genius landed him the most coveted job in college football: head coach at Notre Dame.
It was a different world, my friends.
Oklahoma: Allan Trimble
High School: Jenks High School (Tulsa)
State Championships: 13 (1996-2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2012-15)
Overall Record: 242-41 (.855)
Bottom line: One of the greatest high school football coaches of all time, regardless of state, Jenks High's Allan Trimble won 13 state championships and led his team to the state championship game 17 times in 22 seasons and only missed the state semifinals twice.
Trimble spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Jenks, then started off this career as a head coach by winning six consecutive state championships from 1996 to 2001. The coach was diagnosed with ALS in 2016 and Jenks officially renamed its home stadium to Allan Trimble Stadium before the 2017 season. Trimble died in 2019, at 56 years old.
Oregon: Tom DeSylvia
High School: Jefferson High School (Portland), David Douglas High School (Portland), Grant High School (Portland)
State Championships: 2 (1957, 1958)
Overall Record: 63-8 (.887)
Bottom line: Former Oregon State All-American offensive lineman Tom DeSylvia returned to the Pacific Northwest after playing one season in the NFL and reeled off the greatest run of any head coach in Oregon history.
DeSylvia coached Portland Jefferson High from 1953 to 1961, when he won seven Portland Interscholastic League championships and back-to-back state championships and national championships in 1957 and 1958. DeSylvia's 1958 was one of the greatest in high school football history and featured future Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker at quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Mel Renfro at running back.
Pennsylvania: George Curry
High Schools: Berwick Area High School (Berwick), Lake-Lehman High School (Lehman Township), Wyoming Valley West Senior High School (Plymouth)
State Championships: 6 (1988, 1992, 1994-97)
Overall Record: 455-107-4 (.807)
Bottom line: George Curry coached high school football for 46 seasons in Pennsylvania and became most well-known for his time at Berwick Area High. Curry coached at Berwick for 39 seasons and won six state championships, three national championships and was named USA Today National Coach of the Year twice.
Curry died in 2016, at 71 years old.
Rhode Island: Keith Croft
High School: Bishop Hendricken High School (Warwick)
State Championships: 11 (2010-16, 2018-21)
Overall Record: 172-28 (.860)
Bottom line: Keith Croft has won 11 state championships at Bishop Hendricken over the last 16 seasons, including a state record of seven consecutive titles from 2010 to 2016 as his team went 76-6 in that stretch.
Croft added another four state titles from 2018 to 2021. He is a three-time Division I Coach of the Year and in 2014 was named NFHS National Coach of the Year.
South Carolina: John McKissick
High School: Summerville High School (Summerville)
State Championships: 10 (1955, 1956, 1969, 1978, 1979, 1982-84, 1986, 1998)
Overall Record: 621-156-13 (.794)
Bottom line: No high school football coach in American history can claim to be in the same lane as Summerville High's John McKissick — he was truly singular.
McKissick coached Summerville for 63 seasons, from 1952 to 2014, won 10 state championships and was the first coach in football history, on any level, to win 600 games. He is still the national career wins leader for high school football coaches in the U.S. with 612 wins.
McKissick was also a muse for one of America's great novelists, Pat Conroy, who placed him in several of his novels, including his most famous work, "The Prince of Tides," which was adapted into a film version in 1991 and earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
McKissick, to no one's surprise, also made it into the movie. He died in 2019, at 93 years old.
South Dakota: Howard Wood
High School: Sioux Falls Washington High School (Sioux Falls)
State Championships: 17-19 (1910-12, 1917, 1918, 1921-25, 1931, 1933, 1935-38, 1941, 1945)
Overall Record: 246-74-16 (.732)
Bottom line: Howard Wood is unique to this list in a lot of ways — starting with the fact he was born in 1883 in Canada. Wood was 24 years old when he was hired as the head coach at Sioux Falls Washington High and remained there until his death in 1949, at 65 years old, except for the two seasons he was the head coach at North Dakota State.
Wood won at least 17 state championships at Washington (totals vary on where you get your info from ), along with four more state titles in basketball and 16 more in track and field.
Tennessee: Gary Rankin
High School: Alcoa High School (Alcoa), Smith County High School (Carthage), Riverdale High School (Murfreesboro)
State Championships: 19 (1994, 1997, 2001, 2004-10, 2013, 2015-21)
Overall Record: 466-78 (.856)
Bottom line: Gary Rankin coached high school football in Tennessee for 40 seasons and won 19 state championships. He won four at Riverdale High followed by a staggering 15 titles in 16 seasons at Alcoa High to close out his career.
Rankin coached 544 games in his career and won over 85 percent of his games. His star pupil? That has to be Pro Bowl wide receiver Randall Cobb, who led Alcoa to four consecutive state championships from 2004 to 2007 while playing quarterback.
Texas: Todd Dodge
High School: Cameron Yoe High School (Cameron), Newman Smith High School (Carrollton), Fossil Ridge High School (Fort Worth), Southlake Carroll High School (Southlake), Marble Falls High School (Marble Falls), Austin Westlake High School (Austin)
State Championships: 7 (2002, 2004-06, 2019-21)
Overall Record: 234-72 (.764)
Bottom line: Todd Dodge was a record-setting quarterback at the University of Texas and went right into coaching after leaving college.
Dodge's coaching odyssey would see him as the head coach at six different high schools in Texas and one FBS school. After winning three consecutive state championships and national championships at Southlake Carroll High from 2004 to 2006, Dodge was the head coach at North Texas from 2007 to 2010.
Dodge returned to high school football and won three more state championships at Austin Westlake from 2019 to 2021.
Utah: Roger Dupaix
High Schools: Highland High School (Salt Lake City), Skyline High School (Mill Creek)
State Championships: 8 (1990, 1993, 1995-99, 2005)
Overall Record: 301-112 (.728)
Bottom line: Roger Dupaix coached high school football in Utah for over three decades, first at Highland from 1977 to 1985 then Skyline from 1986 to 2011.
Dupaix won all eight of his state championships at Skyline and his 301 career wins are the most in state history. Dupaix's teams had incredible resilience — they lost in the state championship game four consecutive times from 2000 to 2003 then bounced back to win it all in 2005.
Vermont: Mike Stone
High School: Hartford High School (White River Junction)
State Championships: 10 (1986, 1990-93, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012)
Overall Record: 195-86 (.693)
Bottom line: Mike Stone built a high school football dynasty at Hartford High despite being one of the smallest schools in Vermont's largest division the majority of the time.
Stone won a state championship as a rookie head coach in 1986 then won four consecutive titles from 1990 to 1993. Stone won his last two state championships in back-to-back undefeated seasons in 2011 and 2012 — his teams also finished as state runner-up three times.
Virginia: Mike Smith
High School: Hampton High School (Hampton)
State Championships: 12 (1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1995-98, 2005)
Overall Record: 506-100-2 (.832)
Bottom line: Mike Smith coached Hampton High for 51 seasons, from 1971 to 2021, winning 12 state championships — a tenure that spanned 10 U.S. presidents.
Hampton had its greatest run in the 1990s, winning four consecutive state championships from 1995 to 1998, which included back-to-back national championships in 1996 and 1997. Ten of Smith's players made it to the NFL, including Pro Football Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson.
Washington: Butch Goncharoff
High School: Bellevue High School (Bellevue), Cedar Park Christian School (Bellevue)
State Championships: 11 (2001-04, 2006, 2008-13)
Overall Record: 193-14, (.932)
Bottom line: Buch Goncharoff's run at Bellevue High is unlike few others in high school football history. Goncharoff and Bellevue won 11 state championships in 15 seasons even though two of those state titles, in 2012 and 2013, were later stripped for rules violations that led to his dismissal in 2016.
Goncharoff's tenure at Bellevue included a 67-game winning streak that ended with a loss to Eastside Catholic in the Class 3A state championship game in 2014 and a win over De La Salle in 2004 that snapped the California powerhouse's 151-game win streak.
West Virginia: Mike Young
High school: Wheeling Central Catholic High School (Wheeling), St. Clairsville High School (St. Clairsville)
State Championships: 8 (2005-07, 2010, 2011, 2017-19)
Overall Record: 227-91 (.713)
Bottom line: Mike Young became Wheeling Central Catholic High's head coach in 2005 — almost 40 years after he graduated from Central in 1967.
Young has crafted a dynasty at Central over the last two decades, winning eight state championships. One more state title for Central would tie it with Parkersburg as having the most in West Virginia history.
Wisconsin: Bob Hyland
High School: St. Mary's Springs Academy (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
State Championships: 17 (1983, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997-1999, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Overall Record: 512-115-2 (.813)
Bottom line: Bob Hyland was in his 53rd season as St. Mary's Springs head coach in 2023, with 17 state championships and four state runner-up finishes spread across both the WIAA and the WISAA — the public and private school divisions merged into one in 2000. Hyland's career has been a study in perseverance — he went 1-15-2 in his first two seasons and didn't win his first state title until 1983. He's currently trying to win a title in his fifth consecutive decade.
Hyland has always been a winner. He was a star offensive lineman at North Dakota State when it won a national championship in 1969.
Wyoming: Bruce Keith
High School: Sheridan High School (Sheridan)
State Championships: 6 (1982, 1986, 1990-93)
Overall Record: 120-68-1 (.634)
Bottom line: Bruce Keith was a head coach in four different states — North Dakota, Wyoming, Illinois and Colorado — but had his greatest success at Sheridan High.
Keith coached Sheridan from 1978 to 1993 and won six state championships, including four consecutive titles from 1990 to 1993. Keith was named Wyoming Class 4A Coach of the Year four times.