Don Meyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Don Meyer
Biographical details
Born(1944-12-16)December 16, 1944
Wayne, Nebraska
DiedMay 18, 2014(2014-05-18) (aged 69)
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Playing career
?Northern Colorado
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1968–1970Western State (assistant)
1970–1972Utah (assistant)
1999–2010Northern State
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
NAIA (1986)
Coach Wooden "Keys to Life" Award (2010)
John Bunn Award (2010)

Donald Wayne Meyer (December 16, 1944 – May 18, 2014) was an American college basketball coach who completed his career in 2010 as head coach of the men's team at Northern State University. He was once head coach at Hamline University and Lipscomb University.[1] Meyer was born in 1944 in Wayne, Nebraska.[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 stint 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.[2]

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 that were seniors. And I never coached a day in my life. So did Coach Meyer help me? Tremendously.[3]

He had 3 major rules:

1. Everybody takes notes.

2. Everybody says "please" and "thank you".

3. Everybody picks up trash.

Accident and cancer[edit]

Meyer had cancer that was discovered in his liver and intestines (bowels[2]) during emergency surgery after a car crash on September 5, 2008.[4] 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.[5]


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

In February 2011, Coach Meyer was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame not only for his basketball coaching skills and records but was also recognized as an outstanding collegiate basketball and baseball athlete and administrator.

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

Retirement and death[edit]

On February 22, 2010, Northern State announced that Meyer would be retiring at the end of the 2009–10 season after 38 years of coaching. 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.[6]

Casey Bond, a Lipscomb alum, produced the independent film about Meyer called My Many Sons, along with producing partner Brad Wilson. The film was produced on a budget of between $2 and $5 million under Bond and Wilson's production company, Higher Purpose Entertainment, and was released in 2015, starring Judge Reinhold as Meyer.[7][8] The filming took place in Nashville, Tennessee and Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Meyer died of complications from his cancer on May 18, 2014, aged 69, in Aberdeen, South Dakota.[9]

Head coaching record[edit]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Hamline Pipers (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1972–1975)
1972–73 Hamline 5–20
1973–74 Hamline 16–10
1974–75 Hamline 16–11 NCAA D–III Quarterfinals
Hamline: 37–41
Lipscomb Bisons (Volunteer State Athletic Conference) (1975–1985)
1975–76 Lipscomb 11–19
1976–77 Lipscomb 18–9
1977–78 Lipscomb 21–6
1978–79 Lipscomb 21–12
1979–80 Lipscomb 15–15
1980–81 Lipscomb 25–11
1981–82 Lipscomb 33–4 NAIA First Round
1982–83 Lipscomb 19–14
1983–84 Lipscomb 30–5
1984–85 Lipscomb 25–9 NAIA Second Round
Lipscomb Bisons (Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1985–1996)
1985–86 Lipscomb 35–4 NAIA Champions
1986–87 Lipscomb 27–6
1987–88 Lipscomb 33–3 NAIA Second Round
1988–89 Lipscomb 38–2
1989–90 Lipscomb 41–5 NAIA Semifinals
1990–91 Lipscomb 35–4 NAIA Quarterfinals
1991–92 Lipscomb 31–5 NAIA Second Round
1992–93 Lipscomb 34–4 NAIA Quarterfinals
1993–94 Lipscomb 29–6 NAIA First Round
1994–95 Lipscomb 30–7 NAIA Second Round
1995–96 Lipscomb 33–6 NAIA Semifinals
Lipscomb Bisons (TranSouth Athletic Conference) (1996–1999)
1996–97 Lipscomb 30–6 NAIA First Round
1997–98 Lipscomb 26–8
1998–99 Lipscomb 25–9 NAIA First Round
Lipscomb: 665–179
Northern State Wolves (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) (1999–2010)
1999–00 Northern State 13–14 10–8 5th
2000–01 Northern State 14–13 10–8 5th
2001–02 Northern State 20–8 14–4 T–1st
2002–03 Northern State 20–9 15–3 1st
2003–04 Northern State 24–7 13–3 2nd NCAA D–II First Round
2004–05 Northern State 21–10 9–5 3rd NCAA D–II First Round
2005–06 Northern State 27–6 11–3 2nd NCAA D–II Regional Final
2006–07 Northern State 21–8 13–5 T–3rd
2007–08 Northern State 29–4 16–2 2nd NCAA D–II Regional Final
2008–09 Northern State 19–11 8–5 7th NCAA D–II First Round
2009–10 Northern State 13–14 9–11 T–9th
Northern State: 221–104 128–59
Total: 923–324

      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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2008-2009 Men's Basketball Coaching Staff". Northern State University. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  2. ^ a b Meyer, NCAA's leading active men's coach in wins, has treatable cancer - Men's College Basketball - ESPN
  3. ^ Olney, Buster (2010-02-22). "Don Meyer set to retire at end of year". Retrieved 2010-02-22.
  4. ^ Olney, Buster (2008-11-18). "Twelve wins away: Don Meyer's hard road back from the brink". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  5. ^ Northern State coach has leg amputated as part of cancer treatment - Men's College Basketball - ESPN
  6. ^ "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. Archived from the original on July 14, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  7. ^ Mike Organ (March 4, 2013). "Don Meyer movie gaining support – Aberdeen American News". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. 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.
  9. ^ Olney, Buster (May 18, 2014). "Don Meyer dies at age of 69". Retrieved May 18, 2014.