|Jeff Sauer was born in Fort Atkinson, Wis. and played his high school hockey at Washington High School in St. Paul, Minn. After a collegiate playing career at Colorado College, Sauer became the assistant coach at CC to the legendary Bob Johnson. Sauer followed Johnson to Wisconsin when “Badger Bob” became the head coach in Madison, and was the assistant coach when the Badgers made their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1970. In 1971, Sauer left Madison to become the head coach at Colorado College, where he served for 11 years, compiling 166 wins, and twice being named WCHA Coach of the Year.
Sauer became the head coach at the University of Wisconsin in 1982, and, over the next 20 years became
the “Dean of WCHA Coaches”, racking up 489 wins and two national championships. His Badger teams appeared in three NCAA Frozen Fours and 12 NCAA tournaments, and won the WCHA Title twice, while winning the WCHA Playoff Title five times. Sauer became the first coach in college history to win a national championship in his inaugural season at a school when the 1982-83 Badgers won the school’s fourth NCAA Championship. Sauer recorded four 30-win seasons, the most of any UW coach. Sauer won his 600th career game in December 1999, and is the only coach at the University of Wisconsin in any sport to win that many games, and just the third coach in the WCHA to win that many games at one school.
One of the most respected coaches in the game, Sauer continues to be a consummate diplomat for the game of hockey. Sauer remains involved at all levels of hockey, from instructing kids at summer camps, to speaking at high school assemblies to coaching international-level athletes in world tournaments. Sauer is a member of the USA Hockey International Council, and has served USA Hockey many times over the years, coaching select teams competing across the world stage of hockey. In 1998, Sauer served as the head coach for the inaugural WCHA All-Star Team that competed against elite teams from Germany and Switzerland in the Kolin Cup Tournament in Switzerland. Sauer has been an assistant coach for numerous international teams, and was the head coach for Team USA in the 1990 Goodwill Games. Sauer coached at the 1987 Olympic Festival, served on the U.S. Olympic Hockey Committee in 1984 and has also been a member of the NCAA Rules Committee.
Since his days as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin, Sauer has been involved with his Wisconsin Hockey Schools in Madison, Milwaukee and St. Louis, Missouri, and has assisted at the Bob Johnson Hockey School in Aspen, Colo. He has worked as a counselor for Stan Mikita’s hockey camp for the hearing impaired in Chicago for almost 30 years, and, in 1997, was honored by the Stan Mikita Hockey Schools for his service and dedication.
In the summer of 2000, Sauer was honored by USA Hockey, when he received the JOFA/USA Hockey Distinguished Achievement Award. This award is given annual to a U.S. citizen who has made hockey his or her profession and has made outstanding contribution, on or off the ice, to the sport in the United States.