Adam RittenbergESPN Senior Writer2 minute reading
Dartmouth football coach Eugene F. “Buddy” Devens, who pioneered innovative methods to make the sport safer, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained in a March bicycle accident. He is 66 years old.
Devens, Dartmouth’s all-time winningest coach, was a two-time head coach at his alma mater, going 117-101-2 with five Ivy League championships.
In March, he was hit by a truck while cycling in Florida. He suffered a spinal cord injury and had to have his right leg amputated.
Dartmouth announced in May that assistant Sammy McCorkle will serve as interim coach through the 2023 season. Devens moved to Boston that summer to continue his rehabilitation from the accident.
“Throughout this journey, we have continued to send him thoughts, memories and love,” Devens’ family said in a statement released by Dartmouth. “Your kind and encouraging letters did not go unnoticed and were greatly appreciated by Buddy and our family. We are hopeful and comforted by his passing knowing how much he was loved and admired.”
McCorkle and athletic director Mike Harrity informed the team of Devens’ death after Tuesday’s practice. Devens oversaw the program from 1987 to 1991, beginning in 2005. He shared Ivy League championships with Dartmouth in 1990, 2015, 2019 and 2021 and earned an outright title in 1991.
In 2010, he became the first coach to eliminate full-contact practices year-round, a practice followed throughout the Ivy League in 2016. Devens’ efforts have led Dartmouth’s engineering school to develop the Mobile Virtual Player, a robotic coping device used by other colleges. teams and in the NFL.
“His impact on both college football and the NFL is tremendous,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said of Devens during the 2023 NFL Draft. “She is at the forefront of making our sport safer through groundbreaking innovation. She is a pioneer in hiring female coaches, two of whom are currently coaching in the NFL.”
Devens first became the head coach at Maine in 1986 and had two FBS jobs at Tulane and Stanford, where he went 21-68 overall.
He played quarterback at Dartmouth and earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors in 1978 when the Big Green won the conference title. Teenagers also played hockey in college.
A moment of silence will be observed for the Devens before this week’s home game against Dartmouth Lehigh.
“This is sad news for Dartmouth and the entire football world,” Dartmouth president Sian Leah Bailock and Harrity said in a joint statement. “Not only was Buddy synonymous with Dartmouth football, he was a loving coach and an innovative, inspirational leader who helped shape the lives of generations of students.”