Don Meyer's former boss says he wasn't even expecting to hire a new coach when Meyer called him in 1999 looking for work.
It was already mid-summer when then Northern State University men's basketball coach Bob Olson accepted the NSU athletic director position. He thought it was too late in the year to start a search for his replacement.
"You just don't think in the middle of July you're going to find qualified people," Olson said.
Olson planned to fill both roles for a year. Then he got a call from Meyer who had already stepped down as coach at Lipscomb University in Tennessee.
"He says, 'Coach Olson, is your position still open?' he said, 'Because I'm looking for a job,'" Olson said. "We told him our job was open if we found the right person and the rest is kind of the story."
Trophy cases at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen show how successful a story it was, not only because of wins, but also because of the way Meyer and his wife, Carmen, treated others.
"The first two years was a hard transition for the fans, for Coach Meyer. I mean, it was tough,” Olson said. “But I think once people understood who he was, the kind of person he was, not just the kind of coach that he was, but the caring individual that he was to people, then people finally embraced him."
Olson says Meyer had old-school ways. He focused on the process rather than product.
"He was very unique that way. He had his principles and he couldn't care less how society told him he had to be or how he had to change. He had his principles and he wasn't going to stray from his principles no matter what," Olson said.
Olson says he learned a lot from Meyer and that didn't change to the very end.