Dartmouth, September 20, 2023 – Dartmouth College is mourning the loss of legendary football coach Eugene F. “Buddy” Teevens, who passed away on Tuesday, succumbing to complications from injuries sustained during a bicycle accident in March.
Teevens, 66, was renowned for his groundbreaking efforts to enhance the safety of football and had an illustrious coaching career, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.
Teevens, affectionately known as Buddy, was Dartmouth’s most successful coach in history, amassing an impressive record of 117 wins, 101 losses, and 2 ties during two tenures as head coach at his alma mater. He also led the team to five Ivy League championships. However, his career was marked by more than just victories; Teevens was a pioneer of innovative methods to make football safer for players.
In March of this year, tragedy struck when Teevens was struck by a truck while cycling in Florida. The accident resulted in spinal cord injuries, and doctors were compelled to amputate his right leg. Dartmouth announced in May that assistant coach Sammy McCorkle would assume the role of interim head coach for the 2023 season, as Teevens relocated to Boston for intensive rehabilitation.
Teevens’ family expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support in a statement released through Dartmouth: “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. We are confident and take comfort in the fact that he passed away knowing how much he was loved and admired.”
The AFCA is saddened to hear about the passing of legendary Coach Buddy Teevens. Our thoughts go out to his family & friends.
Thank you to Coach Teevens for all you did for the game of football. pic.twitter.com/1ZAoFgmzYH
— AFCA (@WeAreAFCA) September 20, 2023
After Tuesday’s practice, Coach McCorkle, along with Dartmouth’s athletic director Mike Harrity, broke the heartbreaking news of Teevens’ passing to the team. Teevens had been at the helm of Dartmouth football since 2005, having previously led the program from 1987 to 1991. Under his guidance, Dartmouth secured shared Ivy League championships in 1990, 2015, 2019, and 2021, as well as an outright title in 1991.
Teevens’ dedication to player safety was a hallmark of his career. In 2010, he became the first coach to eliminate full-contact practices throughout the year, a practice later adopted throughout the Ivy League in 2016. His efforts even led Dartmouth’s engineering school to create the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic tackling device now utilized by numerous college teams and in the NFL.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell praised Teevens’ contributions, stating during the 2023 NFL draft, “His impact both on college football and the NFL has been enormous. 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’ coaching journey began at Maine in 1986, with subsequent stints at Tulane and Stanford. While his FBS record was not as successful, his impact on the game extended beyond wins and losses.
Teevens was not only a football coach but also a standout athlete during his college years, playing quarterback for Dartmouth and earning Ivy League Player of the Year honors in 1978 when the Big Green clinched the conference title. Additionally, Teevens was a skilled hockey player during his college days.
Dartmouth College will pay tribute to Buddy Teevens with a moment of silence before this week’s home game against Lehigh. Dartmouth president Sian Leah Beilock and athletic director Mike Harrity jointly remarked, “This is tragic news for Dartmouth and the entire football world. 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.”
The passing of Buddy Teevens leaves an indomitable void in the world of football, but his legacy of innovation and dedication to player safety will continue to influence the sport for years to come.