Best college sports dynasties ever: Where does Alabama football fit in?
Around these parts, when you talk about college sports dynasties, football of course is king. Alabama football and coach Bear Bryant immediately springs to mind, and throw in the current program’s success with coach Nick Saban.
But there are other dynasties in other sports that are equally impressive, if you let your mind wander. Kentucky basketball and coach Adolph Rupp on the men’s side and Tennessee Lady Vols basketball with coach Pat Summitt on the women’s side, also occupy space. And how about Arkansas track and coach John McDonnell. Heck you could even throw in Georgia’s GymDogs and coach Suzanne Yoculan if gymnastics is your thing.
And that’s just in the SEC. What about the greatest college sports dynasties ever?
If you look at it objectively, Alabama’s football dynasties wouldn’t make the top five on list of greatest college dynasties.
A look at the Top 5
Arkansas men’s track (1984-2000): One would be hard-pressed to top Arkansas’ stretch, when it won 16 of 17 NCAA indoor championships, including 12 consecutive from 1984-1995. They also added eight consecutive NCAA outdoor championships from 1992-99.
Iowa wrestling (1975-2000): The Hawkeyes captured an astounding 20 national titles over 26 years, including nine consecutive (1978-86), and had nine undefeated seasons over that span.
North Carolina women’s soccer (1982-2012): The Tar Heels won 21 NCAA Tournament titles in 31 years, including nine consecutive (1986-94).
UCLA men’s basketball (1964-75): The Bruins won 10 national championships in 12 seasons under Hall of Fame coach John Wooden, including seven straight (1967-73). They finished undefeated in four season s (1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, and 1972-73). Their famous 88-game win streak is the longest in men’s college basketball history. They were led by NBA Hall of Famers Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton.
UConn women’s basketball (2000-present): The Huskies have won nine national championships in 16 years, including three consecutive twice (2002-04 and 2013-15) and are in line for a fourth consecutive title this season having advanced to the Final Four, all under coach Geno Auriemma. They recorded a 90-game win streak and have had five undefeated seasons (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2014) and are currently undefeated heading into this year’s Final Four.
Best of the rest
USC baseball (1958-78) and the dynasty it enjoyed is probably even more impressive that what Tide football put together. Over a 20-year span, the Trojans won 10 College World Series titles, including five straight (1970-74) under coach Rod Dedeaux.
Then, perhaps, comes Alabama football (1961-65, 1971-81). The Tide went 60-5-1 under Bryant and won three national championships (1961, 1964, 1965), in a five-year span and posted two undefeated seasons. The dynasty was rekindled in 1971 and for 11 seasons the Tide dominated the SEC, winning three more national championships including back-to-back (1978-79) titles. Alabama won nine SEC championships in 11 years. The Tide posted a 116-15-1 record over that span.
Alabama football (2009-15) is next on the list. Saban resurrected the dynasty, winning three national championships (2009, 2011, 2012) in four years and adding his fourth in the past seven seasons in January.
No, we’re not forgetting Oklahoma football (1953-57). The Sooners won a record 47 consecutive games under coach Bud Wilkinson, a mark that still stands. The streak included 27 shutouts and back-to-back national championships (1955-56). But for longevity some of the others are more impressive.
Either way, they’re all impressive eras and awe-inspiring dynasties. So when you talk about all-time college dynasties try to remember that Alabama and SEC football aren’t the only programs with a storied history.