When it comes to coaching success, few coaches have seen more in their time than former Stanford Cardinal and Wisconsin Badger head coach Peter Tegen. After 44 years of coaching, 33 on the collegiate level, the legendary distance coach decided it was time to hang up the stopwatch at the conclusion of the 2008 outdoor track & field season.
He coached at Stanford from 2005 to 2008 after being lured out of retirement following a 30-year stint as Wisconsin’s women’s head coach. Tegen started the Badger women’s program in 1973 and had built the program into one of the nation’s elite distance programs. During his three years at Stanford, he brought immediate success leading the women’s cross country team to three consecutive national NCAA cross country championships.
Tegen, a native of the Dresden area in Germany, moved to West Germany following the Second World War. He taught English and coached gymnastics and track in Germany before traveling the world as a German sports science diplomat. He traveled two years in Africa and Latin America and was the Peruvian National Team coach in 1971 and 1972; he also traveled to Munich, Germany for the 1972 Olympic Games as the Olympic Team coach for Peru.
Following his stint with the Peruvian national team Tegen moved to Madison where he started the Badger cross country program in 1973 and remained until his retirement in 2004. During his 30 years at Wisconsin he garnered more conference champions, national champions, and NCAA All-Americans than any other coach in Big Ten history. He has coached dominant athletes such as Olympians Cindy Bremser (1984), Kathy Butler (1996, 2004), and Suzy Favor-Hamilton (1992, 2000).
For his efforts at both Stanford and Wisconsin, Tegen was named the Silver Anniversary NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Past 25 years by the USTFCCCA. He has also received several other notable honors that include four National Cross Country Coach of the Year awards, 15 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors (six in track, nine in cross country) and three Pac-10 Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year honors.