Skip to content

Legendary head coach Don Meyer passes away at age 69

May 18, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Bucknell announces hiring of former assistant Nathan Davis as head coach

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:42 PM EDT

    Randolph Macon Athletics Randolph Macon Athletics

    Nathan Davis, who won 78.3 percent of his games as head coach at Randolph Macon, was an assistant at Bucknell from 2003-08.

  2. Former Wake Forest forward to finish career at Iona

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Aaron Rountree III was a role player at Wake Forest, but he’s headed to a program that has been successful with transfers under Tim Cluess.

  3. 6-foot-11 Tyler JC center commits to UCLA

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    Steve Alford Steve Alford

    With their leading rebounder off to the NBA, UCLA is hoping that this 6-foot-11 center can be of service in that area.

  4. Former Texas A&M forward to complete eligibility at UMass

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    With Cady Lalanne and Maxie Esho out of eligibility, this addition gives UMass some added front court experience.

  5. Former Iowa State guard finds a new home in the Missouri Valley Conference

    Apr 19, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    A former Iowa State guard will continue his career in the Valley.

  6. Former Kansas State guard transferring to Creighton

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:41 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Foster struggled as a sophomore, but a change of scenery could do him some good.

  7. Kansas State lands a three-star Class of 2015 forward

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Weber AP

    Kansas State badly needed some bodies after an offseason filled with roster turnover. They landed a three-star forward on Sunday.

  8. Louisiana Tech lands impact guard transfer who can play immediately

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    (Florida A&M athletics) (Florida A&M athletics)

    Louisiana Tech might have found its new starting point guard for next season.

  9. Highly-recruited Class of 2015 point guard lists eight schools

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    One of the best players left in the 2015 class is down to eight schools.

  10. E.C. Matthews will return to Rhode Island

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    E.C. Matthews AP

    Rhode Island is getting E.C. Matthews back for his junior season.

  11. Former Vanderbilt guard finds a new home in the ACC

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    A former top-100 player found a new home in the ACC.

  12. Former Alabama guard transfers to Georgia State

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    (AP) AP

    A former top-150 prospect is heading from the SEC to Georgia State.

  13. Mixtape of No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017, DeAndre Ayton (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    ayton

    DeAndre Ayton is one of the best prospects in high school basketball.

  14. UNLV awaiting two important personnel decisions in its front court

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Wood returning would ensure that this young but talented front line wouldn’t lack for experience.

  15. Missouri receives commitments from two John A. Logan College players

    Apr 18, 2015, 8:56 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Missouri is hopeful that these two junior college products can help them rebound from a tough 2014-15.

  16. Vermont signee injured in car crash speaks first words in more than ten weeks

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:44 PM EDT

    Vermont Athletics Vermont Athletics

    Josh Speidel hadn’t spoken since the crash February 1. His first word: “Mom.”

  17. Three-star forward Rapolas Ivanauskas becomes Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Chris Collins and his staff have done a good job of recruiting local talent, and they reeled in another player Saturday.

  18. 2016 New Mexico commit Mitch Lightfoot decides to reopen recruitment

    Apr 18, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT

    Craig Neal Craig Neal

    Lightfoot was on the receiving end of offers from Arizona State and Utah before committing to UNM, and the new staff at ASU has already reached out to him.

  19. Former Cornell forward Shonn Miller headed to UConn for final season of eligibility

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpte4mwi1zmrlntq4ndc4yjfiywyzztq3zgnhzgfhmgu0 AP

    Miller averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season, and he’s an important addition for the UConn front court.

  20. Five members of Iowa State’s 2014-15 team have been arrested after two more arrests this week

    Apr 18, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Dustin Hogue AP

    More arrests at Iowa State as two more members of the 2014-15 roster were charged within the last week.