Story by Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Legendary men’s basketball coach and NAIA Hall of Famer Don Meyer passed away at the age of 69 on Sunday, May 18. He lost his battle with carcinoid cancer in his home in Aberdeen, S.D.
Meyer led his teams into the playoffs 19 times and compiled a 923-324 during his 38-year career. Meyer began his coaching in 1972 at Hamline (Minn.), then spent 24 seasons at David Lipscomb (Tenn.) and on two occasions was named NAIA Coach of the Year. Meyer led the Bison to a 67-54 victory over Arkansas-Monticello to claim the 1986 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship title. His success followed him to Northern State (S.D.) where he took over the Wolves program in 1999 and eventually led the team to seven-straight 20-win seasons. He retired from coaching in 2010 at Northern State, which is currently a NCAA Division II member.
The native of Wayne, Neb., was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1993 as the coach for David Lipscomb. He received the prestigious Jimmy V Perseverance Award at ESPN’s annual ESPY Awards Ceremony in 2009. Four months after a near-fatal car accident and a cancer diagnosis, Meyer passed Bob Knight as the NCAA's winningest coach in men's basketball history in 2009. Currently, Meyer is No. 6 on the all-time wins list of four-year, men’s basketball programs.
In March, Meyer coached the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball All-Star Team in the inaugural All-Star Event in Kansas City, Mo.
“The NAIA community is truly saddened by this news about coach Meyer,” said President/CEO Jim Carr. “He has earned so much respect for his dedication to, not only improving the game of basketball, but also teaching young men life lessons through the sport. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the extended Meyer family.”
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