College Basketball Nation: Don Meyer
November, 9, 2010
By Buster Olney | ESPN.com
On Sept. 5, 2008, Don Meyer was driving at the front of a caravan of players and assistant coaches in Aberdeen, S.D., leading the Northern State team to a weekend retreat. Meyer, 63, was set to enter his 37th season as a basketball coach, and he was 11 wins away from setting an NCAA men's coaching record by surpassing Bob Knight’s career victory total of 902.
But just before 5 o’clock on a beautiful and warm afternoon, Meyer -- a workaholic -- fell asleep at the wheel of his Prius, veered across the yellow lines and hit a semi hauling 33 tons of corn head-on. Every rib in Meyer’s chest was broken, his spleen was damaged beyond repair, and his left leg was mangled. He was life-flighted twice in the hours that followed in an effort to keep him alive.
When the trauma surgeon opened Meyer’s abdomen to contain the internal bleeding, the doctor immediately saw the tumors in Meyer’s small intestine and liver. Carcinoid cancer; it was inoperable and terminal, and before that moment, undiagnosed and unknown to Meyer and his family.
Stoic, tough and demanding, Meyer had had a lasting impact on those in his program long after they stopped playing for him. Wade Tomlinson, a guard for David Lipscomb College from 1986-90, knew this firsthand. His story and countless others are recounted in my new book, "How Lucky You Can Be."
To read more about Meyer's legacy and his heroic journey since the accident, click here for a chapter excerpt.
"How Lucky You Can Be" is available in bookstores, or through online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Make sure to tune in Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET as Meyer's old program (Northern State) takes on his old rival (Belmont) in the first annual Don Meyer Classic. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
February, 23, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
- Bob Huggins was not pleased with the officiating in Monday night's loss to Connecticut, so much so that he earned himself an ejection in the final minute -- one of those "I'm sick of this, I'm getting kicked out, which ref do I insult first" coach's decisions you see from time to time. After the game, though, Huggins was less direct: "You saw it. You're allowed to report on it. I'm not," Huggins said when asked about the effect of 46 fouls and 65 free throws -- 42 of them by UConn -- on the way the game played out. "That's a tremendous advantage."
- Northern State coach Don Meyer announced Monday that he will retire after the current season is over. Meyer is the NCAA's all-time wins leader in college basketball for all divisions, followed by former Indiana and Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and current Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee. Magee plans to stick around a little while longer; Jameson Fleming at the Bleacher Report picked Magee's brain and found out why.
- Did BracketBusters work? And just what does "work" mean? The Dagger's Jeff Eisenberg writes: "If the purpose of the Bracket Buster event is to help more mid-major teams play their way into the NCAA tournament, then there's no denying that this year's event was a colossal failure. In addition to Old Dominion and William & Mary, Siena's at large hopes vanished after a blowout loss at Butler and Wichita State's did so as well after falling at Utah State. [...] The solution to this, of course, would be to pit mid-majors against big-name opponents in the BracketBuster event, except few if any teams from the power six conferences would have anything to gain by such a format." Ballin' Is A Habit responds: "The bottom line? No matter who you play, you must win games to make the tournament. Old Dominion, Siena, and Wichita State lost games that would have helped their tournament resume. William & Mary lost a game it should have won. If ODU and Siena had both won, and that win helped the two teams to earn an at-large bid, people would be singing a much different tune about BracketBusters. So until a situation arises in which a team winning their BracketBusters game has a negative effect on their tournament résumé, I think BracketBusters is working just fine."
- Hokies fans are predictably giddy about their team's late-season rise into the NCAA tournament bracket; here's a roundup of Virginia Tech's newfound bracketology love.
- Gasaway's Tuesday Truths. More on this later, but Maryland is much, much better than the RPI folks seem to think. Oh, and here's more Gasaway, this time taking on the Purdue homers who insist on claiming this team is "old-fashioned" and "hard-nosed" (which they are, sort of) while completely ignoring what's made the Boilermakers of 2010 so much better than last season's counterparts: the offense!
- Nebraska is 1-11 in the Big 12 and 13-14 overall, but Nebraska's athletic director isn't putting coach Doc Sadler's head on the chopping block. Rather, he's extending the always-welcome-when-it-seems-sincere vote of confidence, saying Sadler is the "right guy to get this thing done."
- Michigan State's Kalin Lucas was frustrated Saturday. After losing to Ohio State in East Lansing -- and scoring a mere nine points on 3 of 13 shooting -- Lucas decided to pull a LeBron and blow off the postgame media question-and-answer session. On Sunday, Lucas called head coach Tom Izzo to apologize and tell him he felt bad about "leaving his teammates to explain" the loss. On Monday, Lucas joined Izzo at the coach's weekly news conference, where Lucas apologized to the media for ditching out. All things considered, a pretty classy move.
- Doug Gottlieb (Insider) says he's heard Jim Calhoun has five-year contract extension from UConn "on his desk" and that Calhoun should sign it, thereby ignoring folks like me who think now's as good a time as any to experience the joys of retirement.
- SB Nation's Andrew Sharp has some lighthearted fun with Vanderbilt's A.J. Ogilvy, and the many faces of A.J. (Of special note is Ogilvy's hair, which reminds of the kids I used to play club soccer with -- they loved to frost their tips. Like aging 90s country chicks and their relationship to mullets, I have an irrational soft spot for this hairstyle.)
- Speaking of lighthearted fun, let's hope this budding Kent State sideline reporter -- and heir to the "Boom Goes The Dynamite" guy's legacy of student reporter hilarity -- can laugh at himself in the morning.
- Barry Alvarez confirms: The Big Ten is indeed looking for another school, and has hired a research firm to look into 15 potential expansion additions. Not on this list? Texas and Notre Dame.