Don Meyer reached 700 wins faster than any coach in NAIA history and never looked back.
Sunday, those who played for him, cheered for his teams and whose lives he touched, are looking back with heavy hearts.
Mr. Meyer, who established a reputation as one of the best men’s college basketball coaches in his time at Lipscomb (19751999), died at his home in Aberdeen, S.D.
He was 69 and had battled cancer for the last six years. He had entered hospice care on Monday after a three-day hospital stay.
Details for the final arrangements have not yet been made public. Memorial services will take place in Nashville at Lipscomb University and in Aberdeen, S.D., at Northern State, according to Lipscomb officials.
Mr. Meyer, a native of Wayne, Neb., became an iconic figure in national terms even though he never coached on college basketball’s biggest stage. He was the sixth all-time winningest coach in men’s college basketball history with 923 victories.
He spent his head coaching career first at tiny Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., then at Lipscomb and finally at Northern State in South-Dakota.
His 1985-86 Lipscomb team won the NAIA national championship and he led the Bisons to the national tournament 12 other seasons.
His teams most often played before small crowds with very littlemedia coverage, yet Mr. Meyer’s notoriety grew and grew throughout his career mainly because of his profound success and because of the respect he garnered from his players and others in his profession.
“Upon meeting, Coach Meyer and I became instant friends,” said Tennessee women’s basketball coach emeritus Pat Summitt. “We shared a passion for the game and were constantly pulling from each others’ materials. His knowledge of the game was extraordinary and his willingness to share it with others incredible. He was an awesome teacher of the game and I always soaked up everything I could when in his presence.” During the 2008-09 season Mr. Meyer overtook Bob Knight as college basketball’s winningest men’s coach when Northern State won 82-62 over the University of Mary.
Provided By: Knoxville News Sentinel