Eugene “Buddy” Teevens, who led Dartmouth College to five Ivy League championships and was the school’s winningest coach, died Tuesday. He was 66.
Doctors were forced to amputate his right leg a month later, according to Bleacher Report.
“We are saddened to share the passing of legendary Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens ‘79,” Dartmouth officials said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.”
“Our family is heartbroken to inform you that our beloved ‘coach’ has peacefully passed away surrounded by family,” Teevens’ family said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained proved too challenging for even him to overcome, throughout this journey, we consistently relayed the thoughts, memories, and love sent his way. Your kindness and letters of encouragement did not go unnoticed and were greatly appreciated by both Buddy and our family.”
Dartmouth announced in May that assistant coach Sammy McCorkle would serve as interim coach during the 2023 season, ESPN reported. Teevens moved to Boston this summer to continue his rehabilitation from the accident and live closer to his family, WCAV reported.
Teevens had two stints as head coach at his alma mater, going 117-102-5 overall, ESPN reported. According to Dartmouth’s football media guide, Teevens piloted the Big Green from 1987 through 1991 in his first stint as head coach.
He returned as Dartmouth’s head coach in 2005.
Teevens coached the Big Green to an outright Ivy League title in 1991 and shared four championships in 1990, 2015, 2019 and 2021, ESPN reported. He was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2021, USA Today reported.
Teevens was instrumental in implementing safety measures to make the sport safer, according to the cable sports network. In 2010, he became the first coach to eliminate full-contact practices throughout the year, ESPN reported.
The idea was adopted by the Ivy League in 2016, and Teevens’ efforts led to the creation of a robot tackling device by Dartmouth’s engineering school. The Mobile Virtual Player would be used in the NFL and by other college football teams, the sports news organization reported.
“His impact both on college football and the NFL has been enormous,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of Teevens during the 2023 NFL draft. “He has been a leader in making our game safer through breakthrough innovations. He is a pioneer in hiring female coaches, two of whom are currently coaching in the NFL.”
Teevens played quarterback at Dartmouth from 1976 to 1978, according to Sports-Reference.com. He threw for 1,808 yards and six touchdowns during his career at the Ivy League school.
As a senior, he led Dartmouth to an Ivy League championship and was named the Ivy League Player of the Year, according to the school’s football media guide.
Teevens was also a head coach at Tulane (1992-86) and Stanford (2002-04) according to Sports-Reference.com.
He served as the offensive coordinator and receivers coach at the University of Illinois in 1997 and 1998, and from 1998 to 2001, rising to assistant offensive coordinator in 2001, according to the Dartmouth football media guide.
Dartmouth will hold a moment of silence for Teevens before this week’s home game against Lehigh, ESPN reported.
“This is tragic news for Dartmouth and the entire football world,” Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock and athletic director Mike Harrity said in a joint statement. “Buddy not only was synonymous with Dartmouth football, he was a beloved coach and an innovative, inspirational leader who helped shape the lives of generations of students.”
Teevens is survived by his wife, Kirsten Teevens, children Lindsay and Buddy Jr., and their four grandchildren, USA Today reported.
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