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Jeffrey Sauer (March 10, 1943 – February 2, 2017) was an American ice hockey player and coach. Sauer was the head coach at the University of Wisconsin from 1982 to 2002 and Colorado College from 1971 to 1982. While at Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to two NCAA men's ice hockey championships. He was the special assistant to the commissioner of the WCHA prior to his death.

Jef Sauer 2015.jpg
Sauer in 2015
Biographical details
Born(1943-03-10)March 10, 1943
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
DiedFebruary 2, 2017(2017-02-02) (aged 73)
Madison, Wisconsin
Playing career
1962–1965Colorado College
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1965–1966Colorado College (assistant)
1966–1971Wisconsin (assistant)
1971–1982Colorado College
1985US National Team (assistant)
1992US National Team (assistant)
2010US Paralympic Sled Hockey Team
2011–2012US National Sled Hockey Team
2014US Paralympic Sled Hockey Team
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
2x NCAA National Champion (1983, 1990)
2x WCHA Regular Season Champion (1990, 2000)
6x WCHA Tournament Champion (1978, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1998)
1972 WCHA Coach of the Year
1975 WCHA Coach of the Year
2003 John "Snooks" Kelley Founders Award
2004 Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame
2011 Lester Patrick Award
2013 Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame
2013 Hobey Baker Legend of College Hockey Award
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing the  USA
Winter Paralympics
Gold medal – first place 2010 Vancouver (Coach)
Gold medal – first place 2014 Sochi (Coach)



Jeff Sauer accepted an athletic scholarship from Colorado College and began attending the school in 1961.[1] After sitting out the Tigers' disastrous 0-23 season in 1961-62 Sauer became part of the rebuild under first Tony Frasca and then Bob Johnson. Despite his efforts, Sauer couldn't help Colorado College reach the WCHA playoffs in any of his three seasons before graduating in 1965.[2]


After graduating Sauer signed on as an assistant under Johnson at CC and then followed his former coach to Wisconsin, staying with the program until just after the Badgers joined the WCHA before he received his shot behind the bench at his alma mater.[3] Sauer took over for a rather moribund program that had seen only two winning seasons in their past 13 campaigns[4] and slowly brought the team back to respectability. It took Sauer 4 years to build a winning team, finishing 1974-75 3rd place in the conference, but his biggest achievement came three years later when the 5th-place Tigers upset a 33-win Denver team to capture a share of the WCHA tournament, the only conference tournament title in team history. (as of 2014) All told, however, Sauer didn't have much more success than his predecessors as he could only provide Colorado College with 2 winning seasons in 11 years as head coach.

When his former boss Johnson left Wisconsin after 1981–82 to pursue an NHL coaching career, Sauer returned to Madison to replace him and immediately found the success that had eluded him at Colorado College when the Badgers won the national title in 1983.[5] Throughout the 1980s Wisconsin remained one of the top programs in the country, routinely winning 20 games a year and in 1990 Sauer proved that not only could he coach a national champion, but he could build one as well when he captured his second NCAA title.[6] In Sauer's 20 seasons with Wisconsin he provided 2 conference regular season titles, 5 conference tournament titles, 4 30-win seasons and 11 NCAA tournament berths in addition to winning two national titles. He retired as head coach after the 2001–02 season, turning the program over to Badger alumnus Mike Eaves. He retired as the winningest coach in Wisconsin history. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Badgers Hall of Fame in September 2016.


After stepping down Sauer agreed to serve as the assistant commissioner for the WCHA for several years and in 2010 he returned as head coach for the US sled hockey team at the 2010 Winter Paralympics. He helped the Americans to their second gold medal in the event and four years later returned for a repeat performance in Sochi.[7] He died on February 2, 2017 from pancreatic cancer.[8]

Head coaching recordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Colorado College Tigers (WCHA) (1972–1982)
1971-72 Colorado College 13-19-0 11-17-0 9th
1972-73 Colorado College 10-24-0 5-23-0 9th
1973-74 Colorado College 13-17-2 10-16-2 9th
1974-75 Colorado College 23-16-0 21-11-0 3rd WCHA First Round
1975-76 Colorado College 15-22-1 15-16-1 6th WCHA First Round
1976-77 Colorado College 13-25-2 11-20-1 8th WCHA First Round
1977-78 Colorado College 18-22-1 13-19-0 5th NCAA Quarterfinals
1978-79 Colorado College 12-24-2 11-19-2 8th WCHA First Round
1979-80 Colorado College 21-17-1 13-16-1 3rd WCHA Second Round
1980-81 Colorado College 17-19-0 12-16-0 7th WCHA Second Round
1981-82 Colorado College 11-23-2 16-18-2 6th WCHA First Round
Colorado College: 166-228-11 138-191-9
Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA) (1982–2002)
1982-83 Wisconsin 33-10-4 15-9-2 3rd NCAA National Champion
1983-84 Wisconsin 21-17-1 11-14-1 4th WCHA Semifinals
1984-85 Wisconsin 25-17-0 20-14-0 3rd WCHA Semifinals
1985-86 Wisconsin 27-15-0 23-11-0 3rd WCHA Semifinals
1986-87 Wisconsin 23-18-1 17-17-1 4th WCHA Semifinals
1987-88 Wisconsin 30-13-2 22-12-1 2nd NCAA East Regional Semifinals
1988-89 Wisconsin 25-16-5 17-13-5 t-3rd NCAA Quarterfinals
1989-90 Wisconsin 36-9-1 19-8-1 1st NCAA National Champion
1990-91 Wisconsin 26-15-3 19-11-2 3rd NCAA First Round
1991-92 Wisconsin 27-14-2 19-11-2 2nd NCAA Runner-Up
1992-93 Wisconsin 24-15-3 18-11-3 t-2nd NCAA West Regional Semifinals
1993-94 Wisconsin 26-15-1 19-12-1 3rd NCAA East Regional Semifinals
1994-95 Wisconsin 24-15-4 17-11-4 t-2nd NCAA West Regional Semifinals
1995-96 Wisconsin 17-20-3 14-15-3 6th WCHA Third Place Game (Loss)
1996-97 Wisconsin 15-21-2 15-15-2 7th WCHA First Round
1997-98 Wisconsin 26-14-1 17-10-1 2nd NCAA East Regional Quarterfinals
1998-99 Wisconsin 15-19-4 13-12-4 4th WCHA First Round
1999-00 Wisconsin 31-9-1 23-5-0 1st NCAA West Regional Semifinals
2000-01 Wisconsin 22-15-4 14-10-4 5th NCAA West Regional Semifinals
2001-02 Wisconsin 16-19-4 12-13-3 5th WCHA Quarterfinal
Wisconsin: 489-306-46 344-234-40
Total: 655-534-57

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

† Wisconsin's participation in the 1992 Tournament was later vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions References:[9][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Peak Profile: Jeff Sauer '65". Colorado College. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  2. ^ "2009-10 WCHA Yearbook 129-144" (PDF). WCHA. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
  3. ^ "Jeff Sauer - 2013 Legend of College Hockey". Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  4. ^ "Colorado College Men's Hockey Team History". Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  5. ^ "Jeff Sauer Year-by-Year Coaching Record". Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  6. ^ "NCAA Division 1 Tournament". College Hockey Historical Archive. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  7. ^ "Jeff Sauer". USA Hockey. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  8. ^ Milewski, Todd D. "Badgers men's hockey: Former Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer dies at 73". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  9. ^ "2013-14 Colorado College Media Guide" (PDF). Colorado College Tigers. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  10. ^ "2013-14 Wisconsin Badgers Media Guide" (PDF). Wisconsin Badgers. Retrieved 2014-07-19.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John MacInnes
Herb Brooks
WCHA Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Lefty Smith
John MacInnes