Don Meyer

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Don Meyer
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head Coach Emeritus
Team Northern State
Record 221–104 (.680)
Biographical details
Born (1944-12-16) December 16, 1944 (age 69)[1]
Wayne, Nebraska, U.S.[1]
Playing career
Northern Colorado
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Western State (asst.)
Utah (asst.)
Northern State
Head coaching record
Overall 923–324 (.740)
Accomplishments and honors
NAIA national men's basketball championship (1986)
John Bunn Award (2010)[2]

Don Meyer (born December 16, 1944) is a retired American college basketball coach who completed his career in 2010 as head coach of the men's team at Northern State University.[1] He previously was head coach at Hamline University and Lipscomb University.[1]

College basketball coaching career[edit]

Meyer held the record for most wins by a men's basketball coach whose career included at least one spell with an NCAA member school, until it was surpassed by Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski in November 2011. His career win total includes stints as a NAIA coach.[3]

He is the subject of the book, Playing for Coach Meyer written by Steve Smiley, who played for Meyer as a point guard (1999–2004), and who served as an assistant coach from 2006 to 2008. Meyer is also the subject of a more extensive biography, How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer, written by ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney, who has had a close relationship with Meyer since Olney was assigned to cover baseball in Nashville while Meyer was coaching at Lipscomb.

Pat Summitt cites Meyer as a major influence on her development as a coach, noting in a 2009 interview:

He taught me how to teach others how to play the game. When I started coaching at Tennessee, I was 22 years old. I had four players 21 that were seniors. And I never coached a day in my life. So did Coach Meyer help me? Tremendously.[4]

Accident and cancer[edit]

Don Meyer had cancer discovered in his liver and intestines (bowels[3]) during emergency surgery after a car crash on September 5, 2008.[5] His lower left leg had to be amputated below the knee due to injuries from the car crash. During the surgery they found cancer and later operated on it.[6]


At the ESPY Awards 2009, Meyer was awarded the Jimmy V (Jim Valvano) Award For Perseverance.

In 2012, Meyer was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.


On February 22, 2010, Northern State announced that Meyer will be retiring after 38 years of coaching at the end of the 2009–10 season. Later that year, on June 30, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that Meyer was that year's recipient of the John Bunn Award, given by the Hall for significant contributions to the sport.[2]

Casey Bond, a Lipscomb alum, is producing an independent film about Meyer under the working title My Many Sons, along with co-producer Brad Wilson of Moonglow Films. The film is being produced on a budget of between $2 and $5 million, and Bond is involved in meeting with investors.[7][8]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Hamline Pipers (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1972–1975)
1972–1973 Hamline 5–20
1973–1974 Hamline 16–10
1974–1975 Hamline 16–11 NCAA D–III Quarterfinals
Hamline: 37–41
Lipscomb Bisons (Volunteer State Athletic Conference) (1975–1985)
1975–1976 Lipscomb 11–19
1976–1977 Lipscomb 18–9
1977–1978 Lipscomb 21–6
1978–1979 Lipscomb 21–12
1979–1980 Lipscomb 15–15
1980–1981 Lipscomb 25–11
1981–1982 Lipscomb 33–4 NAIA First Round
1982–1983 Lipscomb 19–14
1983–1984 Lipscomb 30–5
1984–1985 Lipscomb 25–9 NAIA Second Round
Lipscomb Bisons (Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1985–1996)
1985–1986 Lipscomb 35–4 NAIA Champions
1986–1987 Lipscomb 27–6
1987–1988 Lipscomb 33–3 NAIA Second Round
1988–1989 Lipscomb 38–2
1989–1990 Lipscomb 41–5 NAIA Semifinals
1990–1991 Lipscomb 35–4 NAIA Quarterfinals
1991–1992 Lipscomb 31–5 NAIA Second Round
1992–1993 Lipscomb 34–4 NAIA Quarterfinals
1993–1994 Lipscomb 29–6 NAIA First Round
1994–1995 Lipscomb 30–7 NAIA Second Round
1995–1996 Lipscomb 33–6 NAIA Semifinals
Lipscomb Bisons (TranSouth Athletic Conference) (1996–1999)
1996–1997 Lipscomb 30–6 NAIA First Round
1997–1998 Lipscomb 26–8
1998–1999 Lipscomb 25–9 NAIA First Round
Lipscomb: 665–179
Northern State Wolves (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) (1999–2010)
1999–2000 Northern State 13–14 10–8 5th
2000–2001 Northern State 14–13 10–8 5th
2001–2002 Northern State 20–8 14–4 T–1st
2002–2003 Northern State 20–9 15–3 1st
2003–2004 Northern State 24–7 13–3 2nd NCAA D–II First Round
2004–2005 Northern State 21–10 9–5 3rd NCAA D–II First Round
2005–2006 Northern State 27–6 11–3 2nd NCAA D–II Regional Final
2006–2007 Northern State 21–8 13–5 T–3rd
2007–2008 Northern State 29–4 16–2 2nd NCAA D–II Regional Final
2008–2009 Northern State 19–11 8–5 7th NCAA D–II First Round
2009–2010 Northern State 13–14 9–11 T–9th
Northern State: 221–104 128–59
Total: 923–324

      National 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "2008-2009 Men's Basketball Coaching Staff". (in English). Northern State University. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Legendary Coach Don Meyer To Receive Hall of Fame’s 2010 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. June 30, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Meyer, NCAA's leading active men's coach in wins, has treatable cancer - Men's College Basketball - ESPN
  4. ^ Olney, Buster (2010-02-22). "Don Meyer set to retire at end of year". Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  5. ^ Olney, Buster (2008-11-18). "Twelve wins away: Don Meyer's hard road back from the brink". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  6. ^ Northern State coach has leg amputated as part of cancer treatment - Men's College Basketball - ESPN
  7. ^ Mike Organ (March 4, 2013). "Don Meyer movie gaining support – Aberdeen American News". Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ Organ, Mike (March 3, 2013). "Midstate chatter: Pat Summitt gives thumbs up to Don Meyer movie". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]