OUR VIEW: Meyer Center a great tribute
Don Meyer is still impacting lives. A $14.5 million cancer center in Aberdeen named for the legendary college basketball coach and his wife is set to open in January. Meyer, who died at age 69 in May 2014 after a long battle with cancer, finished...
Don Meyer is still impacting lives.
A $14.5 million cancer center in Aberdeen named for the legendary college basketball coach and his wife is set to open in January.
Meyer, who died at age 69 in May 2014 after a long battle with cancer, finished his career with 923 victories at Northern State University in Aberdeen, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. In April 2013, the cancer project was announced, and Avera hosted a kickoff event in April 2014.
The new center will be nearly triple the size of Avera's current cancer facility and have state-of-the-art equipment and expanded services. Patient service is to begin Feb. 1.
Many know Meyer's story, as he was honored with ESPN's Jimmy V Perseverance Award, given to a member of the sporting world who overcame great obstacles. Meyer was severely injured in a car crash in September 2008 during a head-on collision with a grain truck. Multiple operations following, including removing Meyer's spleen, repairing cracked ribs and dealing with a mangled left leg that was amputated below the knee.
The crash was a blessing, because doctors found cancer in his liver and small intestines.
Following the crash, Meyer returned to the court to coach his team from a wheelchair. He later retired and was an inspirational speaker at various events throughout the state.
The story inspired a book, "How Lucky You Can Be: The Story of Coach Don Meyer," written by Buster Olney.
Meyer made a great impact on many people throughout South Dakota. A website, coachmeyertribute.com, allows anyone with a story of Meyer to share it online. There are pages and pages of memories.
"Don Meyer was a great basketball coach, but most importantly, a great human being," wrote Ian Coughlin on the website. "He lived his life the way it should be ... Rest in peace, Don. You were an inspiration to many, and your wise words and lessons will live for generations to come."
The cancer center is another great tribute to the former coach.
On Jan. 21, a grand opening celebration has been scheduled for the Don and Carmen Meyer Center of Excellence, which will be home to the Avera Cancer Institute.
We're proud to see Meyer honored so greatly posthumously. His efforts should always be appreciated.