Hundreds paid their respects to a well-loved and legendary coach Saturday.
Former Northern State University men's basketball coach Don Meyer died Sunday after battling cancer for years. Friends and family gathered at the Barnett Center in Aberdeen Saturday for the first of two memorial services honoring the coach.
Donald Wayne Meyer (Coach), age 69, was a true model of a servant-leader, according to an obituary read at the memorial service. Others who spoke supported that statement, too.
“In conversation he never wanted to talk about his struggles, his glories, or his needs. He put the attention right back on you,” former NSU basketball player Craig Nelson said.
Meyer’s obituary also reads, “God blessed Don with a loving and supportive family, athletic ability, intelligence, a quick dry sense of humor, a generous heart, countless friends and the gift of being a teacher.”
“Coach has been an intimate part of my life for the past eight years. He would joke that he thought it was my plan to stick around Aberdeen just long enough until he died so I could be part of his will. He was right, sort of,” former NSU basketball player Brett Newton said. “My heart continued to tell me I still had more to learn, more to absorb, and more to understand.”
Meyer ended his basketball coaching career with an impressive 923 wins. He was known by many, but speakers at his memorial service say he had an ability to connect personally with those he met. That helped him impact many lives.
“Coach was just different. It all started with three camp rules: please and thank you, taking notes, and picking up trash. It all mattered,” Newton said.
“Coach was a man of God and would testify it was not himself who provided the ultimate example, but it was who he looked to that is truly the greatest example,” Nelson said.
Meyer’s close friend Mike Salem read a letter from Meyer’s family. It said Meyer would not have wanted a lot of attention given to him.
“His confidence and security came from his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, his savior,” the letter read. “Because he accepted the gift of salvation, he is fully restored in Heaven.”
The family’s letter ended with a Bible verse, Matthew 25:21, which says "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'"
Family and friends will gather for another memorial service in Nashville June 1. Meyer coached there as well.