US-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > US-OBITS > 2006-05 > 1148400595
From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: MEYER: Ray Meyer--d.17/3/2006>USA
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 17:09:55 +0100
CHICAGO, IL - Ray Meyer, the grandfatherly basketball coach whose 42-year
tenure at DePaul stretched from George Mikan to Mark Aguirre, died Friday,17
March 2006 the school said. He was 92.
Details were not immediately available. His death was confirmed by athletic
director Jean Lenti Ponsetto.
Meyer twice took the Blue Demons to the NCAA Final Four, helped develop
Mikan - who would eventually become basketball's first dominating big man -
and coached DePaul to the 1945 NIT title.
"He was a coach's coach, he was a man's man," said Duke coach Mike
Krzyzewski, who grew up in Chicago. "He was the face of college basketball
in Chicago. When you think of basketball in that city, you think of Ray
Meyer had an eye for talent with players like Aguirre, Terry Cummings,
Dallas Comegys and Dave Corzine, who parlayed their college experience into
But no player he coached had as much of an impact on the game as Mikan, who
died in June 2005.
Meyer had just been hired at DePaul in 1942 when he was introduced to a
6-foot-10 student with thick glasses.
"I saw George Mikan," Meyer recalled, "and I saw my future."
Under Meyer's tutelage, Mikan became a two-time college player of the year.
A half-century ago, no one had seen someone that tall with such agility,
tenacity and skill.
From the days of two-handed set shots to the slam dunk era, Meyer either
coached or broadcast 1,467 consecutive Blue Demons games, a 55-year streak.
He retired in 1984 with a 724-354 record and then became a special assistant
to the president while also doing radio commentary.
His 1978-79 team reached the Final Four by beating Southern California,
Marquette and UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Demons lost 76-74 to
Larry Bird's Indiana State team in the semifinals, then defeated Penn 96-93
to finish third.
Meyer's 1943 team also made it to the NCAA Final Four. Two years later, the
Blue Demons, behind Mikan, won the NIT championship.
Meyer said coaching had become mainly a job of preparation.
"A coach does less coaching than ever once the game begins. The shot clock
has taken away decisions. It's all preparation now. Players are on their own
when they hit the floor," he said in a Chicago Tribune interview just before
his 80th birthday.
His team was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll at the end of the
regular season in both 1980 and 1981, and his 1982 squad ended up second.
Those three teams had a combined record of 59-3 in the regular season but
lost the first round of the NCAA Tournament each year.
Meyer's Demons made 13 trips to the NCAAs and seven to the NIT. His 1945
team won the NIT when it was the more prestigious of the two postseason
Meyer's teams posted 37 winning seasons and had 20-win campaigns 12 times.
He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.
He retired in 1984 and his son, Joey, took over, lasting 13 years until he
was forced to resign in April 1997 after a 3-23 season. Joey Meyer had
played and been an assistant under his father.
"I wanted to be able to make it to the Final Four and then say to the
elderly gentleman, `We did it again.' But that's not in the cards now," he
said at the time.
Ray Meyer was unhappy that his son was sent packing, but he also was angry
about the timing because by late April, most coaching vacancies had been
filled. So, on Sept. 10, 1997, an aging Meyer quit his fundraising and
ambassadorial job for the university.
In January 1999, DePaul honored the 1978-79 Blue Demons, holding a halftime
ceremony and inducting the entire squad into the school's Hall of Fame.
Meyer declined to attend, still unhappy over DePaul's treatment of his son.
There were shouts of "We want Ray! We want Ray!" as the Final Four team was
introduced at halftime of a game against Marquette at the United Center.
The school and its most visible athletic figure later patched up their
relationship. In 1999, DePaul dedicated the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation
Center on its Lincoln Park campus.
On Dec. 14, 2003, the game floor at the All-Star Arena in suburban Rosemont,
where the Blue Demons play their home games, was dedicated as the Ray and
Marge Meyer court. Meyer became a fixture at Blue Demons home games again.
Meyer, who at one time suffered from a heart valve problem that left him
short of breath, closed his Ray Meyer Basketball Camp for boys in Three
Lakes, Wis., in the summer of 2001. It opened in 1947. Bob Petitt, Eddie
Johnson and Dan Issel were campers.
Meyer was a standout player at Notre Dame before beginning his coaching
career. His wife died in 1988.
In addition to Joey Meyer, survivors include two other sons and two
|MEYER: Ray Meyer--d.17/3/2006>USA by "Peter_McCrae" <>|