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That ‘N This

Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens, right, is in the habit of checking on injured players while they lie on the field. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens, right, is in the habit of checking on injured players while they lie on the field. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens has been in the business a long time, so I was a bit surprised when I raised a topic this week and he said he’d never discussed it before. I wanted to hear Teevens’ thoughts on why, whenever a Big Green player lies hurt on the field for any significant amount of time, the boss always trots out to see how they’re doing.

Few of Teevens’ peers do likewise. Most will head out to join the trainers only if a player appears severely hurt. Some don’t go out at all. One visiting coach at Memorial Field this year had five players down on the turf at different times, including one for about three or four minutes, and he never stirred from the sideline. Then again, that coach has gained somewhat of a reputation for treating his players like dirt.

“They’re one of my guys and when they’re down for more than a minute, I head out there,” Teevens said. “I try to comfort them and get them to hang in there. You see young guys who get hurt for the first time and they tend (to panic). You try to get them relaxed, so I’ll joke with them a little bit or unsnap their chin strap and get them to breath.

“Heck, I don’t know if it makes a difference, but for me, I feel better going out.”

The Oct. 19 photo above shows Teevens fiddling with his radio headset while out on the field earlier this season and after ascertaining that the prone Dartmouth player was not seriously hurt. I like to joke that the coach was working to tune in the Red Sox playoff broadcast that day.

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Teevens said the recent announcement that his contract is being extended was welcome news on several fronts. Not only could the coach and his assistants relax and fully focus on Saturday’s big game with visiting Princeton, but recruits could also be reassured.

“I’m relieved and happy and appreciative,” said Teevens, who’s in the ninth year of his second stint at his alma mater.

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The situation surrounding Columbia athletics in general and the Lions football team in particular continues to swirl about in unpleasant fashion. The student newspaper recently described this year’s gridiron campaign as “a tremendous, tragic, winless season” and the athletic administration and football coach Pete Mangurian are under heavy fire.

The University president wrote a letter of support for his athletic department Wednesday, touting the success of the Pale Blue’s men’s tennis and cross country teams and the women’s swimming squad. He also mentioned fencing, none of which is likely to mollify the football and basketball supporters howling for blood.

For an interesting perspective on the Ivy League football equivalent of the Hindenburg Disaster, check out Columbia superfan Jake Novak’s blog.