Coaching legend Meyer calls it quits

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:11am
Staff Reports

Don Meyer has run out of gas. Saying he just no longer has the energy — mentally or physically — to run Northern State's basketball program, the longtime coach announced Monday he would retire at season's end.

Meyer, one of the winningest men's basketball coaches in history, has a successful tenure at Lipscomb University before leaving for South Dakota in 1999.

Meyer, 65, has been coaching primarily from a wheelchair after losing a leg in a serious 2008 car accident. During the amputation proceedure, doctors found an inoperable form of cancer.

"It is time for someone with more energy and time available to deal with the unique challenges of a basketball program like Northern State," Meyer said on Monday.

Meyer has a college coaching record of 922-323 with a week left in the season. His record includes wins at NAIA schools, though he broke Knight's record of 902 while with the NCAA Division II Wolves.

Last July, Meyer received the ESPN Jimmy V. Perseverance Award in honor of the late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano. In April, he is to receive the Legends of the Hardwood Award at the NCAA Final Four.

"Don is a legendary coach but, more importantly, a legendary person," said Northern State president James Smith.

Meyer, a native of Wayne, Neb., began his coaching career as an assistant at Western State and Utah, then got his first head coaching job at Hamline University before going to Lipscomb and then to Northern State.