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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 31, 2020

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 he 2019 DII football season. We will update the totals at the conclusion of the DII football season)

The winningest teams in DII football history: Total wins

No team in DII history has more wins than Pittsburg State, now at 717 wins per the NCAA record book. That's an average of 6.5 wins per season over the Gorillas' 112-year history. That's incredible consistency for over a century's worth of DII football.

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Truman began the 2019 season outside these 10 and jumped onto the list. Indiana (Pa) could break the top 10 next season if it can continue its strong winning ways. 

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

School Years* Wins
Pittsburg State 112 717
Tuskegee 126 696
Hillsdale 129 645
Carson-Newman 107 642
Central Oklahoma 118 638
West Chester 93 614
Texas A&M-Kingsville 95 612
Northwest Missouri State 104 599
Virginia State 118 589
Truman 117 583

* = Completed seasons, through 2019.

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 406 wins in 552 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 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 DII football season.

School Years* Percentage Record
Grand Valley State 49 73.8% 406-143-3
Valdosta State 38 70.6% 304-126-3
West Chester 93 68.6% 614-276-17
Indiana (Pa) 93 67.5% 578-272-23
Bentley 32 66.3% 215-209-1
Pittsburg State 112 66.1% 717-356-47
Minnesota Duluth 90 65.8% 536-273-24
CSU-Pueblo 34 65.2% 232-123-4
Texas A&M-Kingsville 95 65.0% 612-326-16
Carson-Newman 107 64.8% 642-341-31

*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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