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Bison Basketball Alums Return to Honor Coach Don Meyer

Thursday, December 01, 2011
by Colby Wilson

They're back! The Lipscomb campus will be filled this weekend with nearly 100 players, coaches, trainers and managers that played and worked with former Lipscomb Basketball Coach Don Meyer as Lipscomb University honors Meyer by naming the Allen Arena basketball floor “Don Meyer Court”. 

Meyer coached the Bisons from 1976-1999 where he won 665 games and numerous championships including the 1986 NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, MO.  After Lipscomb, Coach Meyer continued his winning ways at Northern State in Aberdeen, North Dakota where he eventually finished his career with 923 wins to become winningest head coach in men’s college basketball history.

Saturday, Coach Meyer will visit at 10:30 a.m. with former players and friends at a reception in McQuiddy Gym, home to many of Coach Meyer's most memorable wins. At noon the Bisons will play host to Kennesaw State in a key Atlantic Sun match-up.

At halftime, the Allen Arena playing floor will be named after Meyer. 

In addition the Lipscomb Athletic Department is hosting a 30-year reunion for the 1982 Bisons. The 1982 Bisons became the first team in Lipscomb history to advance to the NAIA National Tournament after winning the District 24 Championship.

 Former players are traveling from as far away as Seattle, Wash., Orlando, Fla. and Athens, Greece to honor Coach Meyer.

Lipscomb Athletic Director Phillip Hutcheson, who played for Meyer, says the entire campus is excited about Coach Meyer coming back for this ceremony.

“Coach Meyer is one of the cornerstones of excellence at Lipscomb University,” Hutcheson said.  “He impacted thousands of lives from student-athletes to campers to community members in his 24 years at Lipscomb.

“While Coach Meyer was committed to winning on the court, he has left a lasting legacy through his teachings to make the world around us a better place.  It is with great respect and admiration that we name the Allen Arena court in his honor.”

If players and team personnel are interested in coming back to honor Coach Meyer, be sure to contact Andy Lane, Associate Athletic Director at andy.lane@lipscomb.edu.

What They’re Saying About Coach Meyer:

John Pierce (College Basketball’s All-Time Leading Scorer, Two-Time NAIA Player of the Year)

“Coach Meyer should be considered one of the handful of men who have had a profound impact on the game of basketball. More importantly, Coach has had a profound impact on the game of life in the lives of the men and women that have come in contact with him throughout his career. I am indebted to Coach Meyer not only for the things he taught me in the arena of basketball, but even more so for the things he taught me outside of it – compassion for the least, keeping things simple, work ethic. These are the things that have truly made Coach Meyer a successful coach. It is a great and deserving honor for Coach to have the court at Lipscomb University, a place that was such a big part of his life, named in his honor.”

Jim Allen (Lipscomb Board of Trustees Member, Former Administrator, Hall of Fame Member)

“Don Meyer is the one person who created the winning tradition in Athletics at Lipscomb. But more than all the wins, Don deeply cared about the young men he coached. He taught them that they could be both hard competitors and aggressive and be a firmly committed Christian at the same time, teaching them to be winners eternally – that is his true legacy.”

Alan Banks (NAIA All-American under Meyer)

“There have only been a handful of coaches that have ever lived that have had as much impact on basketball as Coach Don Meyer. More importantly, there has been no one that has left a larger footprint on Lipscomb Athletics than our Coach. However, his most significant influence is imbedded in the heart, soul and minds of the players that he coached. We are a unique and blessed fraternity of men that all had a front row seat observing greatness long before the world even knew his name. His influence was more than just teaching the game of basketball. The thing that was unique about Coach Meyer was that he developed the whole person in a way that no one else could. He made you want to be a better Christian. He made you want to be a better student. He made you want to be a better player. But, more than anything, he made you want to be a person that made a difference in the lives of others.”

Rick Byrd (Belmont Head Basketball Coach)

“The national prominence of the Lipscomb University basketball program is synonymous with the name of Don Meyer. The great success of his Bison teams are a matter of record, but the influence he had on hundreds of players, thousands of coaches and tens of thousands of young boys and girls in basketball camp is immeasurable and life changing, and all for the better. To me he has been a foe, a teacher, an inspiration and a friend. I have enjoyed the last part the most.”

Marcus Bodie (NAIA All-Time Single Season Steals Leader)

“Naming the floor after Don Meyer represents the longevity of what hard work, determination, commitment and excitement really means. Hopefully, it will regenerate the expectations of what a true Bison is, pump the heart of a champion into the gym and recharge the jubilation of competition.”

Tom Kelsey (Belhaven Head Basketball Coach, Captain of 1986 NAIA National Championship team)

“Coach Meyer had a unique way of getting the best out of you as a player. He constantly preached to us that very few people in life would demand the excellence he was expecting.  He turned out to be right. He never made it personal. While his instruction to the outsider may have seemed maddening it was never demeaning or cruel. He was dependable and reliable. You knew what you were going to get every day whether in practice or in a game. He could find the ones in life that may not get much attention and make them feel like a million bucks. He knew how to do the little things. Pick up trash, say please and thank you. It may sound silly, but players still recite those sayings in their heads and to others. If you played for him and went into coaching you tried to imitate him in so many ways. You never realized how humble he really was for the achievements he had in life.”