HANOVER, N.H. — After 27 seasons as Dartmouth’s head coach of the men’s Nordic ski team, Ruff Patterson has stepped down from his post. A vaunted member of the skiing community, Patterson enjoyed a plethora of accomplishments and awards during his tenure in Hanover.
Four times Patterson was chosen as the Eastern Intercollegiate Men’s Nordic Coach of the Year, plus was selected as the Ski New Hampshire Al Merrill Award winner for his outstanding contributions to cross country skiing in New Hampshire. He was hired at Dartmouth in 1989 to serve as the coach of the men’s Nordic team as well as the Director of Skiing, replacing the legendary John Morton. After 16 years, he turned over the director duties to a colleague and continued coaching for 11 more seasons.
During his tenure, Patterson coached 14 skiers who earned All-America honors a total of 31 times (21 of those awards coming in the last 11 years), with three individual champions in the freestyle — Glenn Randall in 2008, Sam Tarling in 2011 and Patrick Caldwell in 2015. With his fellow Big Green coaches, he helped guide Dartmouth to 13 top-five team finishes at the NCAA Championship, including a national title in 2007 as Ben True (twice) and Mike Sinnott earned All-America honors that year for the men’s Nordic squad.
Patterson had quite the distinguished career even prior to his tenure at Dartmouth, having coached for 10 years with the U.S. Ski Team (USST), most notably the women cross country skiers at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in 1980, Sarajevo in 1984 and Calgary in 1988. He also coached numerous World Cup and World Championship teams for the USST. In addition Patterson spent time with the U.S. Ski Coaches Association as an assistant coach, an international coach and Nordic coordinator, as well as acting cross country program coordinator.
A 1976 graduate of the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree distributed in molecular biology, chemistry and psychology, Patterson skied with the Buffalo team that won the NCAA Championship every year of his undergraduate career (1973-76), coincidentally sharing the title with Dartmouth as a senior.