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Legendary head coach Don Meyer passes away at age 69

May 18, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

Don Meyer AP

Don Meyer, one of the most successful and winningest college basketball coaches the game has seen, passed away on Sunday in South Dakota following a battle with cancer. Meyer was 69.

The former head coach at Lipscomb, Northern State and Hamline, Meyer went 923-324 during a 38-year career. Meyer had recently gone into hospice care and passed away at 6:52 a.m. on Sunday at his home in Aberdeen, according to family spokesperson Brenda Dreyer.

Meyer retired in 2010 as the NCAA’s winningest coach in men’s basketball history. After surviving a near-fatal car accident and a diagnosis of liver cancer in 2009, Meyer passed Bobby Knight for the NCAA wins record later in the same year. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski later passed Meyer’s wins mark in 2012.

Meyer was remarkably consistent in his 38-year career, as he only had four losing seasons. The legendary head coach left a big mark on the game of college basketball through his camps and coaching clinics and Meyer compiled records of 37-41 at Hamline, 665-179 at Lipscomb, and 221-104 at Northern State.

The head coach was also honored with ESPN’s Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2009 ESPY Awards and also was given the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in August 2010.

Meyer graduated from Norther Colorado in 1967 after playing basketball and baseball and he began his head coaching career with three seasons at Hamline in 1972.

After his time at Hamline, Meyer spent 24 seasons at Lipscomb which included a title in 1986 and Meyer twice earning NAIA coach of the year honors. Meyer closed out his career at Northern State in 1999, which included a streak of seven straight 20-win seasons.

Meyer is survived by his wife Carmen and three children.

The Meyer family set up a website to honor Don Meyer’s life and coaching career.

  1. jdvalk - May 19, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    His story from SI in 2008 (link is on the site linked to in the NBC article) is very inspirational.

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