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Buddy Teevens, longtime Dartmouth College football coach, dies at 66

Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens in 2021
James M. Patterson / Valley News
Dartmouth College Football Head Coach Buddy Teevens holds practice on Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News file — James M. Patterson

This story was originally produced by the Valley News and first pubilshed Sept. 19, 2023. NHPR is republishing it in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative.

Eugene F. “Buddy” Teevens III, who led Dartmouth College football to 1970s prominence as a player and restored its luster during two separate coaching stints, died Tuesday, six months after he and his bicycle were struck by a pickup truck in Florida. He was 66.

The college announced the news at 8 p.m., about 90 minutes after Dartmouth football players and staff were rushed off Memorial Field at the end of Tuesday’s practice and told of Teevens’ death in the Floren Varsity House auditorium. Athletic director Mike Harrity later emerged in tears but declined comment and was not available Wednesday.

“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,” Harrity and college president Sian Leah Beilock said in a release, noting that Saturday’s game against visiting Lehigh will be played as scheduled. “We know the greater Dartmouth athletic family will join the Teevens family in mourning the loss of this vibrant, energetic, visionary man.”

Photo of Buddy Teevens, former coach of Dartmouth Football
Geoff Hansen / Valley News
Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim (14) and coach Buddy Teevens sing the school alma mater after yesterdayís win over Sacred Heart. Valley News - Geoff Hansen Valley News file

Teevens had been hospitalized since the crash, first in Florida and more recently in the Boston area near his native Pembroke, Mass. Public information on his status was limited. His wife, Kirsten, gradually revealed that her husband had suffered a spinal cord injury and had a leg amputated and that he would not return to work this season.

“Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained proved too challenging for even him to overcome,” the Teevens family said in the Dartmouth release. “Your kindness and letters of encouragement did not go unnoticed and were greatly appreciated by both Buddy and our family.

“We take comfort in the fact that he passed away knowing how much he was loved and admired.”

Teevens, the oldest of nine children, was the son of a Dartmouth hockey letter winner and 1952 graduate. He was a three-sport athlete at Silver Lake Regional High and Deerfield Academy before arriving at Dartmouth in 1975 as one of 10 quarterbacks on the freshman team.

After seeing varsity playing time during the 1977 season, Teevens took over as the full-time starter in 1978, leading the Big Green to the Ivy League title and helping the offense earn the nickname “Eugene’s Machine.” An honorable mention All-American, Teevens was also a hockey player, helping Dartmouth to a third-place national finish as a senior.

Teevens, a history major, was honored as Dartmouth’s outstanding athlete for the 1978-79 school year. He jumped immediately into coaching as a graduate assistant and then the running backs coach at DePauw (Ind.) University, where he met his future wife. They had two children and four grandchildren.

Teevens moved on to Boston University, where he rose to offensive coordinator before becoming the country’s youngest NCAA Division I head coach at the University of Maine in 1985. Success there brought him back to Dartmouth in 1987, and he took the Big Green from the league basement to share the 1990 Ivy title and win the 1991 crown outright.

After rebuilding a moribund Tulane University program, Teevens was nonetheless fired and moved on to assistant coaching stints at Illinois and Florida before serving as Stanford’s head coach. When that too ended in a firing, he was welcomed back to Dartmouth in 2005. He endured a winless 2008 season before building teams that shared Ivy titles in 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Teevens was honored as the New England coach of the year in 1990, 2015 and 2019, and as Ivy League coach of the year in 2019 and 2021. His Dartmouth record was 117-101-2 overall and 83-70-1 in league play.

During his second stint with the Big Green, Teevens worked to reduce head injuries in football, limiting contact in practices and helping develop a robotic tackling dummy. He was also director of the nationally known Manning Passing Academy for high school prospects, held in Louisiana during the summer, and he hired the first full-time female coach in Division I football.

Dartmouth plans to hold a moment of silence for Teevens before Saturday’s game and host a gathering of remembrance afterward.

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