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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Former Tulane coach Buddy Teevens dies at 66

Eugene “Buddy” Teevens, a former head coach of the Tulane University football team who transformed safety in college football, died on Tuesday. He was 66. 

Teevens died of injuries sustained in a bike accident six months ago, according to Dartmouth University, where Tevens graduated and later served as head coach. 

“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 to 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.”

Teevens became a prolific figure in college football over the course of his career. He played quarterback at Dartmouth from 1975-1978 and later became the program’s winningest coach. 

He coached football for more than 30 years, including at Dartmouth, Maine, Stanford and Tulane, where he served as head coach from 1992-96. 

At Tulane, he finished with a record of 11-45, yet many attribute Tulane’s undefeated 1998 season to Teevens’s recruiting. 

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Green Wave Football HC Buddy Teevens,” Tulane Athletics said in a statement posted online on Tuesday. “His contributions here, and particularly in his strong advocacy for player safety, has left an indelible mark on all levels of football.”

Teevens’s greatest legacy was the protection of his players. He was the first college football coach to stop live tackling in practices, with the belief it would help prevent head trauma and other injuries in young players. Instead, in 2010, he began using remote-controlled tackling dummies to teach players necessary skills without subjecting them to violent hits. Though the concept was initially criticized, other colleges and NFL teams later adopted his method. 

Teevens was also known for advancing the role of women in football: he was among the first to hire women as full-time staff. 

In 1996, he helped the Manning family found the first Manning Passing Academy at Tulane, now a nationally-renowned football camp, before his final season as head coach. Teevens returned for the next 26 years — even after the program moved to Hammond and later Thibodeaux. 

But the camp wasn’t the same this year. His injuries prevented him from attending. 

A pickup truck struck him on his bike in St. Augustine, Florida in March, leading to spinal cord injuries and the amputation of his right leg. 

He is survived by his wife, Kirsten Teevens, two children and four grandchildren.

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