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Coach Don Meyer 2009 Jimmy V Award



[Applause] the V Foundation was founded by the legendary coach Jim Valvano in the face of terminal cancer coach V stepped up on stage at the very first ESPY Awards in New York and uttered the words that will forever be remembered in our hearts if you were there or you saw it don't give up don't ever give up money raised for the V Foundation goes directly to cancer research to honor the memory of a man whose bravery continues to inspire others to present this year's Jimmy V award for perseverance please welcome Rob Lowe [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] there are many here tonight whose excellence has been reflected in the bright glare of the world's spotlight this year's recipient of the Jimmy V award has achieved his greatness quietly and steadily often with a minimum of fanfare this season coach Don Meyer broke an historic record and the annals of coaching yet his is a name that not everyone has heard of but two coaches like Bobby Knight Pat Summitt and the legendary John Wooden he is quite simply the man tonight we honor more the Don Meyers record we honor an unbelievable triumph of will powered by faith tenacity and a love of coaching Don Meyer has been a dedicated coach and mentor to all who've known him in college basketball for 38 seasons but last season he became something else an inspiration on the verge of winning more games than any men's coach in college history Don's life would change in an instant and he would find himself tested in ways unimaginable September 5th 2008 an 18-wheeler crushes Don's car in a head-on collision the truck shatters all his ribs filling his chest with blood his spleen is destroyed his diaphragm torn his left leg pulverized incredibly worse news would come later that night during surgery doctors discovered that Meyer had cancer in his liver and intestines it was inoperable his family prayed for his survival and wondered how would he cope he had tubes in his throat so he couldn't speak and he couldn't move except to just wiggle his right hand and so we put a pin in his hand and he wrote on the piece of paper how long before I can coach neither his injuries nor his cancer diagnosis had shaken his resolve but then another setback 14 days after surgery his leg was amputated below the knee still he persevered there we are after 55 days in the hospital wasn't worth resident Don Meyer left in a wheelchair and was at work at 4:45 the next morning take a shot with me Joey where he coached all year without missing a single game I love to see how a team can improve and kids can improve that's why coach I mean there's nothing better than that I mean that's that's uh it just eats you up inside how lucky you can be coaching kids we need to have a great warm-up doing those things there if we want to do them in the game on January 10th Myer one is 900 and third game setting the record that just months before seems so out of reach we're never going to be able to thank all of you but you need to know how much it means to our family and into our team you go through what I went through with this you're gonna get emotional you're gonna cry a little more you're gonna hug people you're gonna want to say what's important to people before they leave as you might never get a chance again to say it it was a blessing in a lot of ways for me it's made me a different person ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to introduce the recipient of the Jimmy V award coach John Meyer [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] [Applause] we don't have any teleprompters in South Dakota so I'm just gonna read this that's okay I'm just a small college coach from Northern State University in Aberdeen South Dakota that means when I leave the motel tomorrow morning at 4:15 I'll take all the soap shampoo and even and even the shower cap that means I know how to make a 17 hour drive to spend a two hour home visit with the recruit and his family and then get back in the car and make a 17 hour drive back home if I had not coached 40 years in small colleges I probably wouldn't have developed the toughness to successfully negotiate the past ten months yesterday I was fortunate to visit with coach John Wooden and he gave me this card with guidance his father gave to him upon his graduation from grade school one of his dad's favorite pieces of advice was the following don't whine don't complain and don't make excuses every time I've gone to rehab workouts these three statements have slapped me right in the face as I glanced around the room and see that everyone doing their rehab with me has it much tougher than I do the F word has been unfortunately used highly in our society in the world today and we use it in our basketball program also our F words are faith family and friends faith that God faith that God has a reason for sparing my life at this time so I can try to serve others for a few more years family such as my wife Carmen our children Jerry Brooke and Brittany who've given me constant concerned care and prayer I would not be here tonight if my wife of 42 years hadn't devoted her entire time to totally bringing me back from where I was friends like our current team of Northern State University wolves all the former players from Northern State Lipscomb University and Hamlin University and coaches all over the country who encouraged me with letters emails phone calls and visits and spent nights sitting with me all night long my wife could rest so she could stay up to rent next day and make all the big decisions I've learned to miss Odyssey that peace is not the absence of troubles trials and torment but calm in the midst of them I first met coach Jim Valvano at a Nike clinic we were speaking at in San Francisco when I sat with him in the hospitality room he showed me how one human being could speak tell jokes laugh and entertain us all for an hour without ever breathing the man lived each moment to the fullest he was high on life he was the kind of guy who never wasted in that bath he always swung from the heels for the fences and he never got cheated not one time and you know that's the way I would like to live the rest of my life and I think you would too Jim Valvano achieved every goal he set for himself in life in his career as a coach when he reached the end of his run on this earth he set one last goal find a cure for cancer and with all of us helping the Jimmy B Foundation I think he'll nail that one too thank you [Applause] [Applause] [Applause]

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Comments
  • Coach was my wellness teacher. It was a BS class, and he knew it, so he was really great to have. The last day of class, about 2 weeks before it was supposed to be, he summoned us into the training room. There he pulled out cake and ice cream he'd hidden in the ice chest. I'll never forget that.

  • I am proud to say that I got to know him and watch him coach at northern. He brought so much honor to Aberdeen,SD. Thanks Don

  • Don Meyer's legacy will live on in all that had the pleasure to know him. His story serves as an inspiration for all of us to press on.

  • I've had the opportunity to meet and talk with this man when I was in school in Aberdeen, SD. He resembles more than he's leaving behind a terrific coach and a unbelievable human being, he shows that no matter where your from success can be found anywhere! You just have to dig deep and sometimes take a loss so you know that feeling no one is perfect. He told me this when I was a,freshman in high school at Aberdeen. You will truly be missed sir, May we evermore keep learning from the legacy you left for us. Prayers and best wishes to the Meyer Family God Bless

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