Dana received a B. A. degree in 1912 from Carson-Newman College, where he played quarterback on the football team. Bible pursued graduate studies in physical education at the University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, and Centre College.
Bible served as athletic director and football coach at Brandon Prep School in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and occasionally entered the lineup. His coaching skills were developed by consulting the era's great collegiate mentors: Fielding Yost, Robert Zuppke, Henry Williams, Glenn Warner, and Amos Alonzo Stagg. In 1913, Mississippi College hired Bible as head football coach, Latin professor, and athletic director. Mississippi College compiled eighteen wins, eight losses, and one tie from 1913 through 1915 under Bible and upset Tulane University, 20-8, in 1915. Texas A&M University appointed Bible its freshman football coach in 1916 and loaned him that October to Louisiana State University, which had lost its head coach. The Bengals finished 2-0-2 under Bible. Bible returned to Texas A&M as head football coach from 1917 through 1928 with a 72-19-7 record. His 1917 Aggies won all eight games, outscoring opponents 270-0.
Bible spent 1918 as a flight instructor in the United States Army. His 1919 Aggies shut out all ten opponents, averaging over twenty-seven points per contest; his 1920 team, with a record of 6-1-1, surrendered only one touchdown. Texas A&M garnered five Southwest Conference crowns (1917, 1919, 1921, 1925, 1927) under Bible and often routed opponents, trouncing Dallas by 98-0 in 1917 and Daniel Baker College by 110-0 in 1920. Bible's biggest thrill came in the Dixie Classic on January 1, 1922, when the Aggies upset heavily favored Centre College, 22-14. The Cadet Corps started a tradition of providing the players with a "twelfth man" by standing and cheering throughout the contest. His 1927 Aggies, led by halfback Joel Hunt, finished 8-0-1. The Minnesota shift, single wingback, and double wingback were his basic formations, with the fake punt and run play on third down his favorite strategy.
From 1929 to 1936, Bible coached the University of Nebraska football squads to a 50-15-7 record. The Cornhuskers won six Big Six Conference titles (1929, 1931-1933, 1935 - 1936), lost only three conference games altogether, and fared well except against the University of Minnesota and the University of Pittsburgh. Nebraska fullbacks George Sauer (1933) and Sam Francis (1936) were named All-Americans. Bible restored the University of Texas as a national football power with a 63-31-3 mark as head coach from 1937 through 1946. In 1937 he signed a ten-year contract as head football coach and athletic director at $15, 000 annually, one of the best coaching contracts up to that time. The Texas legislature raised the university president's salary by $7, 000 to match Bible's. Bible pledged to make the last-place Longhorns a championship team within five years, but Texas finished last in the Southwest Conference in his first two seasons. Texas steadily improved under Bible, winning three Southwest Conference titles (1942, 1943, 1945) and appearing in three Cotton Bowls.
The Longhorns defeated Georgia Tech, 14-7, in 1943; tied Randolph Field, 7-7, in 1944; and trounced the University of Missouri, 40-27, in 1946, with the teams' sixty-seven combined points establishing a Cotton Bowl record. Texas quarterback Bobby Layne figured in all Longhorn points, completing eleven of twelve passes for two touchdowns, running for three touchdowns, catching a long pass for a sixth score, and kicking four extra points. Ends Mal Kutner (1941) and Hubert Bechtol (1945 - 1946), an All-American, also starred for Texas. Altogether, Bible's thirty-three seasons as a head football coach produced 205 wins, 73 losses, and 20 ties with 14 conference championships and three Cotton Bowl appearances.
Bible's book, Championship Football (1947), remains a classic text for molding a winning team. He described his intricate system of scouting potential recruits and future opponents. His scouts answered forty-two mimeographed pages of questions on each future game and completed eight more pages with comments and diagrams involving offensive and defensive strategies. Bible advised teams to employ running plays within their own forty-yard line, passes or runs between the two forty-yard lines, passes between their opposition's forty- and twenty-yard lines, special plays (backward and lateral passes, double reverses, and fake run and pass plays) between their opposition's twenty- and five-yard lines, and running plays for the remaining yardage.
Bible spent twenty-seven years on the NCAA Rules Committee and helped modernize football after World War II. As Texas athletic director from 1937 to 1957, he built the Longhorns' athletic program into an excellent, very profitable enterprise. His successful Bible Plan utilized alumni to recruit players throughout Texas, stressing the importance of athletes as students.
Dana Bible was president of the American College Football Coaches Association.
The bald, lip-smacking Bible impressed others as confident, astute, poised, sportsmanlike, expressive, and resolute. A perfectionist, Bible commanded discipline and respect, admonished players who performed without enthusiasm, and organized his teams into loyal, spirited groups. He adeptly used psychology, challenging his team's desire to win and courage to fight adversity. His bullfrog voice mellowed over time, as he frequently quoted Scripture and preached solid, fundamental football.
Dana Bible married Rowena Jones on December 19, 1923; the couple had two children.