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Buffaloes coaching legend Bob Beattie passes away

Beattie coached the Buffaloes to two skiing national championships.

Bob Beattie, center, hugs Billy Kidd, left, and Jimmy Huega, right, after the two won silver and bronze, respectively, at the 1964 Winter Olympics.
Aspen Historical Society

The Colorado Buffaloes and U.S. Olympics said goodbye this week to a coaching legend. Bob Beattie passed away at the age of 85.

Beattie coached the Buffaloes skiing team from 1957 to 1965. In 1959, he brought home Colorado’s first ever national champion, then in 1960, he brought home another. We take it for granted how dominant the CU ski team is, but it was only possible because of the foundation Beattie laid.

During his time at Colorado, Beattie also served as the head coach of the men’s U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team from 1961 to 1969. The Americans never won gold in skiing, but it was an accomplishment for the U.S. when Beattie’s skiiers won silver and bronze in the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

After his coaching career, Beattie enjoyed a long, successful career in Olympic broadcasting with ABC. After that, Beattie helped establish myriad international ski competitions and organizations, most notably the World Pro Racing Tour. He retired to Fruita, Colorado, where he eventually passed away.

“[Beattie] has been an icon, he is pretty much the roots of American skiing and its success in the world and he’ll always be remembered that way,” current Colorado skiing coach Richard Rokos told David Plati. “It was an honor to know him, honor to be a part of his legacy and this institution can be proud of the fact that he worked with CU.”