Sam Houston is the latest first-time FCS national champion after defeating South Dakota State in the 2020-21 title game. Twenty-two different schools have now lifted the trophy since 1978.

Before SHSU, North Dakota State won eight of the previous nine NCAA FCS national football titles. That’s good enough to put the Bison two titles ahead of the next closest program for most all-time FCS national championships.

North Dakota State broke a tie with Georgia Southern (now an FBS Sun Belt member) with its seventh national title in 2018 over Eastern Washington. One year later, the Bison added an eighth championship with a win over James Madison

FCS CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP: Sam Houston beats South Dakota State for 2020-21 title| Final bracket

Here is a list of every institution to win an FCS championship, ranked in order from most titles to least.

Schools with the most NCAA FCS football championships:

School Number of titles Year(s)
North Dakota State 8 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
Georgia Southern 6 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000
Youngstown State 4 1991, 1993, 1994, 1997
Appalachian State 3 2005, 2006, 2007
Eastern Kentucky 2 1979, 1982
James Madison 2 2004, 2016
Marshall 2 1992, 1996
Montana 2 1995, 2001
Boise State 1 1980
Delaware 1 2003
Eastern Washington 1 2010
Florida A&M 1 1978
Furman 1 1988
Idaho State 1 1981
Louisiana-Monroe 1 1987
Massachusetts 1 1998
Montana State 1 1984
Richmond 1 2008
Sam Houston 1 2020
Southern Illinois 1 1983
Villanova 1 2009
Western Kentucky 1 2002


6 FCS football facts worth knowing:

  • Of the 21 different schools to claim at least one title, seven no longer play at the FCS level. Appalachian State, Boise State, Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, Massachusetts and Western Kentucky are all current members of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Appalachian State won the most recent title by a program no longer in the FCS, with the Mountaineers winning three in a row from 2005-07.
  • Four schools have won titles in at least two consecutive seasons. North Dakota State owns the longest streak at five in a row (2011-15) while also currently three-peating as champs from 2017-19. Appalachian State won three straight titles from 2005-07. Georgia Southern (1985-86,1989-90, 1999-00) and Youngstown State (1993-94) are the other two schools to go back to back. 
  • Jim Tressel (Youngstown State) and Chris Klieman (North Dakota State) are tied for the most championship wins among head coaches in FCS history at four apiece. Klieman matched Tressel in 2018 before leaving to coach Kansas State in the FBS. Craig Bohl (North Dakota State), Jerry Moore (Appalachian State) and Erk Russell (Georgia Southern) all won three championships as head coach.
  • KC Keeler became the first coach to win FCS titles at multiple schools — one at Delaware (2003) and one at Sam Houston (2020).
  • North Dakota State (8-0) and Georgia Southern (6-2) have the most all-time championship game appearances at eight. Youngstown State (4-3) and Montana (2-5) follow, having been to the finals seven times each.
  • Thirty-five different programs have appeared in the FCS national championship game. Only one school — McNeese — has reached that level twice without a trophy to show for it. Sam Houston was previously on this list before its 2020 title, having finished runner-up in 2011-12.

RELATED: Complete FCS championship history | Future sites and dates



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