Honoring Trailblazing Football Coach Buddy Teevens '79

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Teevens’ life will be celebrated May 18 at the stadium to be named in his honor.

Buddy Teevens
The late Buddy Teevens ’79 was Dartmouth’s winningest football coach and an innovator in the game, helping to make it safer. (Photo by John and Matt Risley)

Dartmouth will host a community celebration of the life of Eugene F. “Buddy” Teevens ’79 on May 18, in partnership with the Teevens family.

The celebration will take place at the Memorial Field athletic complex where, at a dedication ceremony in October, the stadium will be named the “Buddy Teevens Stadium at Memorial Field” in his honor. (Memorial Field will continue to honor students and alumni who lost their lives in wars.)

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Teevens, the former Robert L. Blackman Head Football coach and the winningest coach in Dartmouth football history, died in September at 66.

“As a coach, a colleague, a classmate, and a teammate, Buddy Teevens was a leader who encouraged people to perform at their best, not just on the football field but in life,” says President Sian Leah Beilock. “Naming the stadium for Buddy will help that legacy endure for generations to come.”

The Board of Trustees recently approved the stadium name to honor Teevens, who was a mentor to hundreds of players and also brought innovative safety improvements to the game itself.

“Buddy had a national impact in making practices safer and reducing concussions, but he also was at the heart of what makes Dartmouth such a strong community,” says Trustee Chair Elizabeth Cahill Lempres ’83, Thayer ’84. “I know many of his players, teammates, and friends across generations will cherish the opportunity to remember and celebrate his life together.”

The May celebration of life, which will begin at 10 a.m., will include special guest speakers from the Teevens family, friends, and the Dartmouth community. It will be held at Memorial Field and be open to the public. 

A full schedule of events will be released in the coming months. Those planning to attend are asked to register by May 13.

“Buddy loved Dartmouth and his players, and our family is looking forward to celebrating his life with the Dartmouth community,” says Kirsten Teevens, who played an important supporting role in the football program alongside her husband.

A scholarship fund has been established honoring Buddy and Kirsten Teevens’ dedication to Dartmouth and Big Green football. (See details below.)

A Storied Career at Memorial Field

Memorial Field was a treasured place for Teevens, who was known for regularly grabbing a shovel and clearing off the “D” at midfield after snowstorms.

“It’s respect for Dartmouth, for the institution, certainly for our program,” he told The Dartmouth last year.

The playing field, with a cinder track, was originally constructed in 1892-93. It was rebuilt and dedicated in 1923, when it was christened Memorial Field in a tribute to the 112 alumni who died in World War I. Other memorials have also been added in remembrance of alumni and students who died in service to the country during the Civil War, World War II, and other conflicts.

Memorial Field
Fans in the stadium at Memorial Field enjoy the Homecoming game in 2021. Coached by Buddy Teevens ’79, Dartmouth defeated Yale that day, 24-17 in overtime, en route to a share of the Ivy League title. (Photo by Robert Gill)

Over time, the Memorial Field complex has been enhanced by the 400-meter Rhodes track, East stands, FieldTurf surface, Floren Varsity House, the Stephen Lewinstein Family Video Scoreboard, a press box, and lights.

Dartmouth plans to dedicate the stadium in Teevens’ honor on Oct. 5, when the football team takes to the field for its first Ivy League game of the season vs. Penn. The existing signage for Memorial Field and the war memorials will be untouched and continue to be preserved to share with future generations.

“Remembering Buddy Teevens, and the Dartmouth football coaching tradition he epitomized, at Memorial Field seems especially fitting,” says Peter Frederick ’65, one of the founders of Dartmouth Uniformed Service Alumni, aka the veterans group DUSA, and former president of the Sphinx Foundation, Dartmouth’s oldest senior society. “Buddy, a member of Sphinx, was an outstanding example of the organization’s tenet, loyalty to Dartmouth.”

“He brought a lot of glory for Dartmouth, along with pride and excitement for all of us attending games in the stands and on the sidelines. Leading his teams with the singing of the Dartmouth Alma Mater after every game, win or lose, made a lasting impression on every alumnus and Dartmouth supporter.”

An Ivy League Player of the Year as quarterback at Dartmouth—he led the Big Green to the Ivy title in 1978—Teevens was the head coach at Dartmouth for 22 years, sharing the Ivy League title in 1990 and winning it outright the following year. After coaching at Tulane and Stanford, he returned to Dartmouth in 2005 and led the team to a share of the Ivy League crown in 2015, 2019, and 2021. While at Dartmouth, Teevens was honored as the New England Coach of the Year three times, in 1990, 2015, and 2019, and Ivy League Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2021.

All told, his record as Dartmouth head coach was 117-101-2, including 83-70-1 in Ivy League play.

Teevens was known as an innovator in many ways, including in the area of player safety. He became the first coach to eliminate traditional tackling in practices in a move to cut down on concussions. He worked with Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering to create the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic tackling dummy that is being used by teams at all levels, including the NFL.

The eight teams in the Ivy League wore decals with Teevens’ initials on their helmets this past fall in tribute to his contributions.

Teevens was a crucial part of the Manning Passing Academy for 25 years. It is where he met Callie Brownson and recruited her to Dartmouth, where she became the first full-time female Division I coach in football. Both Brownson and another Teevens hire, Jennifer King, have gone on to coach in the NFL.

Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning last month announced on ESPN that a national award named for Teevens would be given to a coach who makes a lasting impact on the game of football, on and off the field.

And the NCAA awarded Teevens the 2024 Pat Summitt Award posthumously at its convention last month. The award, established in 2017, honors people in the NCAA who have demonstrated their devotion to the development of student-athletes.

Community Builds on the Teevens Legacy

The life celebration and stadium dedication are the first steps Dartmouth is taking to honor Teevens. Community members can donate to the Kirsten and Eugene F. “Buddy” Teevens ’79 Scholarship Fund, named in appreciation of the pair’s caring and support of Dartmouth students. (Gifts to the Teevens Scholarship Fund are subject to the terms of the fund.)

Gifts may also be made to the Friends of Football program in support of football excellence at Dartmouth. 

Given the outpouring of community interest in Teevens’ legacy, Dartmouth has tapped a committee of community leaders to guide the realization of these plans in the coming months. Joining Kirsten Teevens on the committee are co-chair Chris Jenny ’77, co-chair Jane Goodell, whose two daughters graduated from Dartmouth in 2023, Byron Anderson ’76, Jeff Blackburn ’91, Murry Bowden ’71, Brian Conroy ’86, Bob Downey ’58, Peggy Tanner ’79, and Reggie Williams ’76.

“It is fitting that the community will come together to be with Coach Teevens’ family and friends to celebrate his life and his many accomplishments,” says Mike Harrity, the Haldeman Family Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Buddy was one of Dartmouth’s most talented educators. Honoring him is a reminder that a Dartmouth education takes many forms, and lasts a lifetime.”