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Wayne Cavadi | | October 16, 2019

The winningest teams in DII football history

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Let's take a look at the winningest teams in DII football history.

Before we get to the actual programs, we have to answer an important question: what defines winningest? Is it the school with the most wins? Or is it the school that has done it the best, with the highest winning percentage? Or do all those wins not matter, and only the number of trophies sitting in the display case?

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When looking at each of those three categories — wins, winning percentage, and most national championships — the answer is a different team. So, instead of making this a one-answer question, we'll break down the top teams in each category.

(Note: All numbers below are through Week 6 of the 2019 DII football season. We will update the totals at the conclusion of the DII football championship in December since postseason wins are included in these numbers.)

The winningest teams in DII football history: Total wins

No team in DII history has more wins than Pittsburg State, now at 716 wins through six weeks in 2019. That's an average of 6.5 wins per season over the Gorillas' 111-year history. That's incredible consistency for over a century's worth of DII football.

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Three teams near the bottom of the current top 10 — West Chester, Virginia State, and Northwest Missouri State — are off to great starts in 2019, something that has become much more the norm for those programs. Expect the three to continue to rise up the top 10. 

Truman (578) and Indiana (Pa) (573) are two teams outside these 10 that can possibly jump into the list. Both teams are off to 5-1 starts in 2019 and look to continue their winning ways down the stretch. While it would take a championship run for IUP to break the top 10 this year, next season is in its reach.

Win totals are through Week 6 of the 2019 DII football season, per the NCAA DII football record books on Schools must have at least 20 years of DII football eligibility to make the list.

School Years* Wins
Pittsburg State 111 716
Tuskegee 125 693
Hillsdale 128 643
Carson-Newman 106 637
Central Oklahoma 117 635
Texas A&M-Kingsville 94 611
West Chester 92 611
Northwest Missouri State 103 587
Virginia State 117 581
Wiliam Jewell 125 581

* = Completed seasons, through 2018.

The winningest teams in DII football history:  Winning percentage

Though Pittsburg State owns the most wins, it's Grand Valley State that has won at the best rate. The Lakers have 403 wins in 547 games, winning more than eight games a year over their 48-plus year history. Of course, a record-setting 40-game winning streak will help that total. 

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Here are the 11 winningest schools by percentage in DII football history through Week 6 of the 2019 season. Per the official NCAA DII football record book, teams must be a DII program for a minimum of 20 years, and postseason records are counted. Reminder: we will update these records again at the end of the 2019 DII football championship.

School Years* Percentage Record
Grand Valley State 48 73.95% 403-141-3
Valdosta State 37 70.44% 300-125-3
West Chester 92 68.76% 611-273-17
Indiana (Pa) 92 67.34% 573-271-23
Pittsburg State 111 66.32% 716-352-47
Minnesota Duluth 89 65.82% 533-271-24
Bentley 31 65.78% 210-109-1
Texas A&M-Kingsville 94 65.23% 611-322-16
Carson-Newman 106  64.8% 637-339-31
CSU-Pueblo 33 64.77% 226-122-4
Tuskegee 125 64.29% 693-374-49

*Completed seasons. 

The winningest teams in DII football history: National championships

If the most titles are how you judge the winningest team, then DII football is Bearcats Country. Northwest Missouri State has six titles — more than anyone else in DII lore — with back-to-back undefeated runs coming as recently as 2015-16. 

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Valdosta State tied Grand Valley State amongst active DII programs with the second-most titles at four. The Blazers haven't lost since and could look to get one closer to the Bearcats if their current 21-game winning streak continues to McKinney, Texas on Dec. 21.

Here is the complete list of schools with multiple DII football championships to their names.

School Championships TiTles
Northwest Missouri State 6 1998-99, 2009, 2013, 2015-16
North Dakota State 5 1983, 1985-86, 1988, 1990*
Grand Valley State 4 2002-03, 2005-06
Valdosta State 4 2004, 2007, 2012, 2018
North Alabama 3 1993-95*
Minnesota Duluth  2 2008, 2010
Northern Colorado 2 1996-97*
Pittsburg State 2 1991, 2011
Texas State 2 1981-82*
Troy 2 1984, 1987*

* = No longer a DII football program. 

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