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Q&A: In the Huddle with Buddy Teevens '79

Winter is a surprisingly busy time for Dartmouth Head Football Coach Eugene F. "Buddy" Teevens '79. But in between on-campus recruiting weekends, coaching conventions, and road trips to meet prospective student-athletes and their families, Teevens took some time to sit down and talk about the current state of Big Green football with Dartmouth Life contributing writer Bruce Wood, a longtime observer of the Dartmouth sports scene:

Men's football
Senior linebacker Joe Gibalski (34) gives Brown quarterback Joe DiGiacomo (13) an up-close-and-personal view of the new Memorial Field turf with this sack in the first quarter of the Big Green's 19-13 overtime win over Brown in November. (Photo by Mark Washburn)

DL: After posting just four wins in your first two years, has your sense changed of the challenge you faced coming back to Dartmouth?
BT: I think I was pretty accurate in my early assessment that this was not a quick fix situation. There aren't any quick fixes in the Ivies. There are really no transfer or junior college players. Obviously, we were 2-8 the past two seasons. On paper, that's no change, but if you look more deeply at our program we as coaches have great confidence about where it is headed. Our talent pool is increasing and that has been the critical point. We have been playing a number of young players and with that comes inexperience and errors they won't make as they get older. Those young players are getting bigger, stronger, and more mature.

DL: What kind of reception have you been getting on the recruiting trail?
BT: There's an enthusiasm and a sense that things are changing, both programatically and in terms of facilities. The people who have come to visit have been very excited about the quality of the coaching staff, the quality of the people they are interacting with, the commitment of the institution, and the physical improvements. We've taken them into the Floren Varsity House, for example, and they're so impressed. They haven't seen anything like it at any other school.

DL: What can you say about the early decision recruiting class?
BT: We're bringing in some talented young men who have boosted us in several spots. By design, we reduced the number we took through early decision. We wanted the opportunity to have a little more flexibility down the road. The nice thing is we're not looking for numbers. We're trying to decide which ones to take, and that's a far cry from my first year.

Buddy Teevens '79
Eugene F. "Buddy" Teevens '79 (Photo by Tom McNeill)

DL: What can you say about the support the program is receiving from the College?
BT: The staff and I see the opportunity for success. There's great enthusiasm among the coaches as to where we are going, and the commitment and support we've gotten from President Wright and Josie Harper is appreciated. It's not just lip service. The new field has been a huge addition for us and we see how quickly and how aggressively the construction process came together. We know that there's a commitment by the institution to the goal of having an outstanding football program.

DL: What can alumni and friends of the program do to help the recruiting effort?
BT: Although we've been quite thorough in identifying guys that could qualify, there's always that needle in a haystack alumni can let us know about. The best thing they can do is to continue sending out the message that things are different at Dartmouth now. That's a real positive for us.

DL: You have 50 or so players on campus this winter. What are the others doing?
BT: A good number have internships, many with help from alumni. We have students around the country and a large foreign study group, with around a dozen in New Zealand. My perspective as a football coach is they won't have another chance in the foreseeable future to do something like this, and it's a wonderful and unique opportunity for them.

DL: When you look ahead to the 2007 team, what do you see?
BT: We were behind just about everybody in the Ivy League in terms of talent when we came in and that gap has closed appreciably. More importantly, our players don't just sense it, they see it. They know it. We still have room to develop and things we need to do, but it's time to win. That's the mind set we have as a football program. We're putting ourselves in position to win.

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Last Updated: 5/30/08