Legendary basketball coach Don Meyer died today after a long battle with cancer. He once owned the all-time record for career wins in college basketball, but his impact off the court might have been greater.
There is a hole left in the college basketball community after the loss of Don Meyer. Augustana Head Basketball Coach Tom Billeter competed against Meyer since he began coaching in Sioux Falls in 2003.
"I really admired his ability to compete as a gentleman," Tom Billeter said.
He got to know Coach Meyer off the court after Meyer's horrific car accident in 2008. Meyer rehabbed and recovered in Sioux Falls, where Billeter visited him regularly.
"Never once talked basketball. It was very much about things other than basketball. It was never about my team, never asked about his. We just kind of talked about everything else. I liked that, it made it more comfortable for me and possibly it did for him and I enjoyed the conversations," Billeter said.
On the court, Billeter was amazed with the discipline and perfection that Meyer's kids played. He points to his famous clinics, and the coach's videos that laid the foundation for national success.
"So many coaches as college kids learned from his tapes because the best thing to do as a teacher was to throw his tapes in. He would have a booklet with it and you could follow it and it covered everything known to basketball," Billeter said.
Meyer might be known for a spectacular record, but Billeter believes the legendary coach's legacy will be much more than wins and losses.
"I really think his legacy is what he produced. His players not only did they all become coaches, but they became so many good things in life. I think that's what we all seek as coaches and that was very special and he was very good at it," Billeter said.