Legendary Dartmouth Football Coach, Buddy Teevens, Dies 6 Months After Bicycle Accident

Dartmouth’s interim head coach, Sammy McCorkle, and athletic director, Mike Harrity, had to deliver a somber message to their football team after practice on Tuesday (September 19) – Eugene ‘Buddy’ Teevens, the team’s longtime and beloved head coach up until this season, had died at 66 years old.

McCorkle had spent 17 years as an assistant under Buddy Teevens, but was forced into the spotlight when Teevens was hit by a pickup truck while riding his bicycle in March. Teevens suffered spinal cord injuries and had to have his right leg amputated as a result of the accident, but the worst was yet to come.

Complications from those injuries ultimately led to his death on Tuesday – six months after the accident occurred. He goes down as the winningest head coach in campus history, having led the team to a 117-101-2 record over his 22 seasons as head coach between 1987 and 1991, and 2005 and 2022. 

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“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,” Buddy Teevens’ family wrote in a statement published by Dartmouth.

Teevens was surrounded by family at the time of his death and they ‘consistently relayed the thoughts, memories, and love sent his way’ throughout the duration of his recovery. It was a devastating loss for the Big Green football team, the college at large, and the Dartmouth community – who rallied around Buddy. 

He first captured the hearts of that community in 1975, when he joined the team as a quarterback out of high school. He spent several years as a backup quarterback before leading the team to an Ivy League title in 1978. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in History before starting his coaching career.

He was a running backs coach at DePauw University, an offensive coordinator at Boston University, and a head coach at the University of Maine before his first stint as head coach at Dartmouth. He then had short stints with Tulane, Stanford, and other schools before returning to Dartmouth as head coach in 2005. 

Buddy Teevens Had an Enormous Impact on the Game

Legendary Dartmouth Football Coach, Buddy Teevens, Dies 6 Months After Bicycle Accident
via Dartmouth College

The Dartmouth Big Green football team went just 2-8 in their first season under Buddy Teevens in 1987, but he helped turn the team around and had back-to-back 7-2-1 seasons before his first stint came to an end. When he returned in 2005, they suffered back-to-back 2-8 seasons, but he turned it around again. 

By 2014, he led them to an 8-2-0 record and followed that up with a 9-1-0 record en route to his first Ivy League title as head coach. The team went 35-5-0 between 2017 and 2021 and won three more Ivy League titles before a disappointing season last year. He knew how to get the most out of his players. 

It was his success on the practice field that garnered national attention, though. An advocate for player safety, Teevens eliminated full-contact practices in 2010 – the first coach to do so – and implemented a Mobile Virtual Player (robotic tackling device) that was created by Dartmouth’s engineering school.

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“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,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of Buddy Teevens in April.

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