Colgate’s winningest head football coach, Dick Biddle, has announced his retirement after 18 stellar seasons and seven Patriot League titles. He leaves a legacy of championship play, outstanding mentorship, and the class and dignity recognized nationwide as Colgate football.
Biddle stepped down as the Fred ’50 and Marilyn Dunlap Head Football Coach. Associate Head Coach Dan Hunt will become the 29th head coach in school history on July 1.
“I’ve had a great run here and accomplished many coaching goals,” Biddle said. “This is the perfect opportunity for my wife and me to begin a new chapter.”
Biddle, who just turned 66, retires as the winningest coach in Patriot League history. He compiled a 137-73 (.652) overall record and won three out of every four conference games he coached, finishing 81-27 (.750) against league competition. The Raiders legend also finishes 39-10 against the Ivy League, and matches the great Andy Kerr for Colgate football coaching longevity.
(photo by Bob Cornell)
“Dick’s list of accomplishments is great, but what’s truly amazing is that he always acted with the utmost sportsmanship, humbleness, and class,” said athletics director Vicky Chun ’91, MA’94. “He’s a man of few words, but when he does speak — whether it is a subtle joke or a life lesson — we all listen. His inspiration reached from the football field to the classroom to life after Colgate.”
Former quarterback Ryan Vena ’00 attested to Biddle’s role as a mentor. “He always preached about overcoming obstacles, and this is still ingrained in my head today,” Vena said. “I have so much to thank him for, not only with helping my football career, but also off the field. He deserves to be in the College Football Hall of Fame.”
In 2012, Biddle was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the fifth time while guiding the Raiders to their seventh Patriot League title and seventh appearance in the NCAA playoffs.
Biddle achieved the best winning percentage of any Colgate coach with seven or more years at the helm. He also is the first Colgate coach to ever record nine straight seasons (1997–2005) with seven or more victories. In addition, 2012 marked his 14th campaign with at least seven victories.
A season that will be long remembered is Colgate’s 2003 run to the national championship game. The Raiders won their first 15 games — three in the NCAA playoffs — and Biddle was named the American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA National Coach of the Year.
“For a non-scholarship program with the highest academic standards to compete for a national championship speaks volumes about what that team was made of,” Biddle said. “That’s something I will never forget.”
Luke Graham ’05, Colgate’s all-time leading pass catcher, said: “The championships, accolades, and accomplishments of the program over the years are a direct reflection on his ability to bring together a group of people and help them find the chemistry of football success.”
Biddle’s duties officially run through the end of the academic year, but Hunt assumes all responsibilities for recruiting, spring practice, and preparations for next season. Hunt just completed his fourth season as associate head coach and seventh as offensive coordinator. He has been the offensive mastermind behind Colgate’s recent winning ways. In 2012, the Raiders were one of the nation’s most prolific offensive units, leading the Patriot League and ranking in the top 10 nationally in nearly every major offensive category.
“He has an excellent reputation on campus, the players admire him, and he knows what it takes to be successful at Colgate,” Biddle said. “You have to be yourself and put your trademark on a team, and I’m sure he will do that.”
— John Painter