Where are they now: football coach Buddy Teevens ‘79

by Taylor Malmsheimer | 6/20/13 10:00pm

6.21.13.sports.2column.Teevens_ZACH INGBRETSEN
by Zach Ingbretsen / The Dartmouth

What's your favorite memory from your time with the team?

Just being a part of the team coming in. Just a group of people I knew right off the bat. Like most athletes, just kind of the memories of the practices and relationships. Winning the championship against Princetonthe final game down at Palmer Stadium. It was on national television. That was the "game of the week." It was Dartmouth vs. Princeton, and that was a pretty cool deal. As a hockey guy, going to the Final Four my senior year was kind of a good deal.

How about a non-football related memory?

Probably my study abroad program. I studied in Bourges for three months, and I had never been on an airplane before. Just having the opportunity to go over to a foreign country you know, my view of the world was National Geographic. To actually land in Paris, take a train down to Bourge and travel through Germany and Italy and Spain and so forth was just such an eye opener. And the people that I spent time with became some of my best friends, and they weren't necessarily athletes. I think that's the beauty of Dartmouth. You have the chance to interact with so many fascinating people from different backgrounds. It broadens you.

After you left as a player, did you always know you wanted to return to Dartmouth to coach?

I had no idea I was going to coach. Through my senior year my dream was to play in the NFL and obviously that didn't come to pass. Senior week, one of my coaches took a job at Depauw University in Greencastle, Ind. I thought, I didn't make it in the Canadian League, which was the group I was talking with. And maybe I can get a tryout the following year. And they were going to pay for graduate school and so forth, so I went out. I was the godmother of the Sigma Nu house, which was the toughest place on campus with all the wrestlers and football players. So I ended up living there and coordinating things, and I was the chef. So one of my responsibilities was I cooked breakfast. It was good because all the wrestlers lost weight my cooking skills weren't very good. I kind of got the house back in order and really fell in love with coaching.

You coached Dartmouth from 1987 to 1991. What made you decide to return as the team's coach in 2005?

After I left Stanford, I thought, "Well, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?" I wasn't 100 percent sure and Dartmouth opened. Reflecting back on all the places I had been, the best people I had ever worked with were the guys at Dartmouth. Looking at them relative to some of the others schools I've been at, guys I'm coaching here could potentially change the world in a very positive fashion through engineering, law, medicine, and business. Having a Dartmouth education, especially when I saw places where education was not the most important thing in college, made me really appreciate what I didn't appreciate when I was the coach here 20 years ago. Coming back became a natural thing and I've enjoyed it. It hasn't been easy sledding the whole time but we've made some pretty good progress too.

What's the biggest challenge of being a football coach at Dartmouth and in the Ivy League?

Well, it's niche recruiting. You have to find a guy that academically qualifies and is going to be successful carrying the workload while playing Division I football, which really is a challenge. I'm very, very proud of the fact that the guys have done a wonderful job. We're one of the few programs in the school and the conference that annually gets awards for our academic accomplishment. You see guys that are Archibald Prize winners. I wrote a Rhodes Scholar recommendation for one of my guys this past year. The challenge is presenting Dartmouth and its uniqueness to people in such diverse places. Trying to present what Dartmouth really is, which is unique, to people who really have a perspective that's not quite accurate, of what they think Dartmouth is. But when you have a chance, and you certainly see it this summer, there's no place else like this.

How would you say college football has changed since you were a player at Dartmouth?

I think the specialization and it's year-round now. There is no off time. The physicality, people are just bigger and stronger and faster. And why is that? I think the nutritional awareness, the strength and conditioning aspect, the fact that people start at such a young age and it's scary in some regard.

After closely following NFL-sponsored studies and speaking with other coaches, you decided not to have your players tackle during practice. How has this worked so far?

We haven't tackled since last spring. Spring practiceno tackling. Preseason practice no tackling. We tackle in games. Again, in my day, guys didn't play football year-round. Nowadays, a lot of people do, and a lot of these guys have been playing since they were six or seven years old. So they know how to tackle. Steve Spurrier gave me one of the best pieces I ever got. He said, "Get your guys to game day. Don't beat them up on the practice field so they can't play." That's kind of my mindset. In this day and age, a lot of parents aren't letting their kids play football. And I've said this to my coaching peers, "Either we change the way we coach, or we're not going to have a job."

What would you say is the most significant difference between Dartmouth during your undergraduate career and Dartmouth today?

I was right at the start of coeducation. It was kind of neat going through the 40th anniversary. I think I was three or four years in, but there just weren't a whole lot of women. And the appreciation I have for the pioneers and what they went through, what they put up with and to where it is now. This is so much more of a real place than it was back then. To see the integration and the daughters of friends and so forth, just to see how much they enjoyed the place.

How about the things that haven't changed? Is there anything that sticks out in your mind that's stayed the same over the years?

My dad was an alum, I went to school here, I coached here, I came back again, so it was a big span. The quality of individual that's attracted to this institution has been consistent over the years. It's changed in many regards but that's been the commonality. That's why the Class of 1947 can relate to the Class of 2017. They came from the same reasons to a somewhat isolated rural environment where the College is the focus. And that's the attraction for all of us.

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