Sunday, January 11, 2009

Meyer Sets All-Time Record

Northern State University head men's basketball coach Don Meyer ((pictured, thanks AP)) is now the answer of your trivia question about "most wins by a men's college basketball coach." His 82-62 win by NSU over Mary ((the entire university, not just one woman playing five)) gives him 903 wins and counting- surpassing the mark set by Bobby Knight.

His career began in 1972 and nearly ended last September in a car accident that sent him to the hospital for 55 days, forced doctors to amputate his lower left leg and led to the discovery of a slow-growing cancer.

A few minutes after the game, Meyer finally smiled, letting the moment sink in.

“I haven’t had this much fun since Carmen and I were married,” he said, standing on his right leg and leaning against the scorer’s table as streamers and confetti drifted to the floor and the crowd of 6,654 listened to his post-game comments.

Coaching from the sidelines in a wheelchair, the 64-year-old Wayne, Neb. native moved past Knight, whom he credited for his love of coaching. The career victory leader in men’s coaching is Harry Statham of McKendree University, an NAIA school. He has won 979 games in 43 seasons.

Taped remarks from legendary UCLA coach John Wooden were played after the game. The university plans a formal celebration January 17 to mark the record.

Meyer now calls the accident a blessing; without it, doctors would not have found the slow-growing cancer. Cancer treatment was put off until his injuries and the amputation could heal.

During his hospital stay, Meyer lost 20 pounds and went through rehabilitation to rebuild his strength and learn how to move with a walker or in a wheelchair.

Assistant coach Randy Baruth directed practices but spoke daily with Meyer.

The day after his hospital dismissal, Meyer was on hand for the team’s 5 a.m. practice. Five days later he accompanied the NCAA Division II team to exhibition games at Minnesota and Purdue.

A standout baseball and basketball player in college, the 1967 graduate of Northern Colorado began his coaching career at Hamline University in 1972. He then spent 24 seasons at Lispcomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where he twice was NAIA coach of the year and led the Bison to the 1986 title. Since taking the Northern State job in 1999, the Wolves have seven straight 20-win seasons.

OSG sends the normal round of huzzahs and hurrahs to Coach Meyer and wishes him continual kick-ass-ness...

Coverage from KELO-TV is below...

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