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"Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained proved too challenging for even him to overcome,” the Teevens family said in a statement
Dartmouth's all-time winningest head football coach, Eugene F. "Buddy" Teevens, died Tuesday following injuries he sustained from a bike accident, the college confirmed. He was 66.
Teevens' death comes six months after he was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike in Florida. He was left to navigate a "challenging" spinal cord injury in addition to having his right leg amputated. Ultimately, he succumbed to those injuries, his family said.
"Our family is heartbroken to inform you that our beloved 'coach' has peacefully passed away surrounded by family. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained proved too challenging for even him to overcome," the Teevens family said in a statement shared by 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," they added. "We are confident and take comfort in the fact that he passed away knowing how much he was loved and admired."
It is with heavy hearts that we share that Buddy Teevens '79, the Robert L. Blackman Head @DartmouthFTBL Coach, has died. A Dartmouth original, he will be greatly missed.
Our hearts go out to his loved ones. https://t.co/8r5gSgZbNa
— Dartmouth 🌲 (@dartmouth) September 20, 2023
The Dartmouth football team was told on Tuesday evening after their practice by interim head coach Sammy McCorkle and Mike Harrity, Haldeman Family Director of Athletics and Recreation at the school. They were also notified that support resources were available to help them process his death, Dartmouth said.
"This is tragic news for Dartmouth and the entire football world," Harrity and Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock said in an email to the Dartmouth community. "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 team is set to play its game against Lehigh University on Saturday at Memorial Field. There will be a moment of silence prior to the game with a gathering of remembrance in honor of Teevens taking place afterward.
Additionally, eight Ivy League football teams previously announced they would also wear a decal with Teevens initials on their helmets this fall to show support for the family.
At the time of the crash, Valley News reported that Teevens was apparently not wearing a helmet when he was struck by a 40-year-old female driver around 8:40 p.m. on March 16 while riding his bike home with his wife Kirsten. Since then, he had been receiving treatment at a Florida hospital before he was moved to Boston in the summer to continue his rehabilitation and be closer to family and friends, Dartmouth said.
Teevens, a native of Pembroke, Massachusetts, grew up in an athletic family with many ties to the Ivy League college. His father, Eugene F. Teevens II, played hockey at Dartmouth, and his brother, Shaun, also played football and hockey at the college.
He went on to follow in their footsteps, playing football at Dartmouth as a quarterback and was named Ivy League Player of the Year in 1978 when he led the school’s team, Big Green, to the Ivy League title. He also helped take Dartmouth to a third-place finish at the 1979 NCAA championship in hockey.
Teevens then became a head football coach for two years at the University of Maine before returning to his alma mater to coach football from 1987 through 1991, leading the team to an Ivy League title tie in 1990 and win in 1991.
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He then coached at Tulane and Stanford Universities, before returning to Dartmouth in 2005 and leading the team to Ivy League crowns in 2015, 2019 and 2021, the college shared, adding that he was named the New England Coach of the Year in 1990, 2015 and 2019, and Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2021.
He was also known for trying to protect players from concussions by reducing full-contact practices, which led to the development of the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic tackling dummy now used by other colleges and NFL teams. He also championed the hiring of female coaches like Callie Brownson, who became the first full-time female Division I coach in football, per Dartmouth.
"His impact both on college football and the NFL has been enormous," Dartmouth recalled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying about Teevens at 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."
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