I raised this topic in another thread months ago.
There USED to be MANY football and basketball coaches who were iconic, whose names were widely synonymous with the colleges they coached at. Joe Paterno was just one- Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Darrell Royal, Eddie Robinson, Bo Schembechler, Dean Smith, Bobby Knight, Adolph Rupp, Knute Rockne and John Wooden were some of the others.
But right now, I would argue that there’s NOBODY in college football coaching today with that kind of power or stature. A Nick Saban may make a ton of money, but he can NEVER be to Alabama what the Bear was. Whenever he retires or moves on to another team, fands may miss him, but they won’t weep as they did for the Bear. Saban will NEVER be the first thing people think of when “Alabama” is mentioned, as the Bear once was.
There are many great coaches now, but there just aren’t any who are “bigger” than the colleges that employ them. Mack Brown is richer than Darrell Royal ever was, but he’ll never have the same stature. John Calipari may win numerous titles at Kentucky, but he will NEVER be the icon Adoplh Rupp was. Even the richest, most successful college coaches dodn’t command the power or automatc loyalty older coaches did.
I would say that, right now, only ONE collegiate coach in ANY sport has the same kind of stature as the other guys I’ve mentioned: Mike Kryszewski. Jim Boeheim came close, but I think he’s been knocked off his pedestal for some of the same reasons Paterno was.