One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about friends of my friends. The post below is the story on a friend of a friend for January 31, 2015.
Last Sunday Mike Krzyzewski achieved a milestone winning his 1,000 game as a College Basketball Coach. The most wins of any NCAA Division I Basketball Coach in history.
I had a friend that passed away on May 18, 2014 that won over 900 college basketball games. His name was Don Meyer. He faced an unbelievable personal struggle the last years of his life but he did not let it alter his mindset. He was honored in July 2009 at the ESPYs with ESPN’s Jimmy V Perseverance Award, given to a member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles.
He coached for a long time at David Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN and they won an NAIA national championship under Meyer in 1986, and the two highest-scoring players in the history of college basketball, John Pierce and Philip Hutcheson, played for Meyer. The Lipscomb team of 1989-1990 is the highest scoring team in college history. He was presented with the John Bunn Award at the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Phillip Hutcheson is now Lipscomb’s athletics director and the school is NCAA Division I.
Don and I got to meet thru the NAIA National Basketball Tournament held every March in Kemper Arena. I became and officer in the NAIA Basketball Coaches Association in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and spent time with him every March in Kansas City and at Final Fours.
What Don was to me was a leader who possessed an unbelievable positive attitude, a passion for learning, and fanaticism on wanting to constantly improve as a coach. Below is a link to a NY Times story on his life.
He loved people and was a sharer of ideas. Don influenced my thoughts tremendously on organization and specifically the use of a Franklin Covey Day Planner. To this day I am still a disciple of his planning methods. Below is one of the last emails I got from Don. He was always willing to share
True to form about 6 months before he died and while facing a tremendous personal battle he was still thinking of others. The email below is a response I got from him when I dropped him a note.
From: Meyer, Don [email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:00 PM
To: Dan Kenney
Subject: Your Note
Thank you for the card.
I do miss Kemper and the old days of the NAIA. Once an NAIA coach; always an NAIA coach.
Sending you some stuff you might like.
- Find your unique talent or gift
- Develop that talent or gift to the fullest.
- Give your gift away every day.
Your example is not the main thing in leading others; it is the only thing.
Don was still coaching and sharing right up to the end. He promised me he would send me motivational materials and he did. The world of coaching lost a hero when Don Meyer passed away.
Don never coached on the Division I level but he was friends to many who did coach at that level including Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski.
The Friend DON MEYER
The Friend of a Friend-MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
The relationship between Don Meyer and Mike Krzyzewski
Don Meyer held the record for most wins 928 by a men’s basketball coach whose career included at least one spell with an NCAA member school, until it was surpassed by Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski in November 2011. The two men were connected by a record but the stronger connection was their friendship. They actually coached an international team together in the 1980’s.
When Don Meyer died his death was covered by many national media outlets including the NY Times and ESPN. One of Don’s friends was Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski who had lots of flattering things to say about the passing of the former Hamline University (MN), David Lipscomb University (TN), and Northern State University (SD) coach when he died. Meyer compiled records of 37-41 at Hamline, 665-179 at Lipscomb, and 221-104 at Northern State
“Don Meyer shared his knowledge with coaches” and helped the game become better at every level. His players benefited from his teachings both on and off the court,” Krzyzewski said. “His goal was for them to be successful as players and as men. With the passing of Don our game has lost one of our superstars. He was truly an amazing coach and teacher. His goal was for his players to become successful as both players and men. He always accomplished both. I have always considered it an honor to be called his friend.”