ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Legendary basketball coach Don Meyer is visiting with family under hospice care at home in South Dakota after a yearslong battle with cancer.
Spokeswoman Brenda Dreyer said Wednesday that family members are reading messages sent to him over social media. The family is asking for privacy, but people can send messages and jokes to him on Facebook and Twitter under his handle “Coach Don Meyer,” she said.
Meyer lights up when anyone talks baseball and enjoys watching the wildlife outside his windows at his Aberdeen home, Dreyer said. He is comfortable, she said.
“Coach Meyer’s health has been drastically declining over the past several months,” Meyer’s family said in a statement released Tuesday. “After a three-day stay in the hospital with a feeding tube, he is now at home under hospice care. Coach Meyer is at peace, loved, enjoying his family and getting exceptional care from Avera St. Luke’s. As a family, we are so proud of his perseverance, faith and strength.”
Meyer, 69, retired from coaching in 2010 with a then-NCAA record 923 victories in 38 seasons at Northern State University in Aberdeen, Lipscomb University in Nashville, and Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In September 2008, the native of Wayne, Nebraska, was critically injured in a car accident that led to the amputation of his left leg below the knee. Doctors discovered during his treatment that he had an inoperable form of cancer.
“What’s great about this is I would not have known about the cancer had I not had the wreck,” Meyer told The Associated Press at the time. “God has blessed with the one thing we all need, which is truth. I can now fight with all of my ability.”
In August 2012, Meyer had a pacemaker implanted and three heart valves replaced due to the cancer. Meyer launched a leadership teaching tour less than a month after the surgery.
ESPN awarded Meyer the Jimmy V. Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles in 2009. He received the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and the Naismith Outstanding Contribution to Basketball Award in 2012.
Meyer was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1990. He was enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1993.
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