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RAY MEYER 1913-2006
Alexander Wolff
March 27, 2006
NO BASKETBALL coach left a larger footprint in a smaller garden than former DePaul coach Ray Meyer, who died last Friday at 92. Over 42 seasons he guided the Blue Demons to 724 victories and two trips to the Final Four 36 years apart. His very first team, in 1942, included a 6'10" galoot in thick glasses who had never played high school ball; Meyer turned George Mikan into the greatest player of the game's first half century by relentless repetition of what became known as "the Mikan drill"--hook after short hook shot, left and right hand in turn, a towel wedged under the off arm to ensure correct form. Meyer didn't leave Illinois to recruit a player until age 69 and even found his wife, Marge, on a CYO team he was coaching. She knew he liked her when he dropped popcorn into her soft drinks. (Like all of Meyer's players and all six of his children, Marge called her husband "Coach.")
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March 27, 2006

Ray Meyer 1913-2006

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NO BASKETBALL coach left a larger footprint in a smaller garden than former DePaul coach Ray Meyer, who died last Friday at 92. Over 42 seasons he guided the Blue Demons to 724 victories and two trips to the Final Four 36 years apart. His very first team, in 1942, included a 6'10" galoot in thick glasses who had never played high school ball; Meyer turned George Mikan into the greatest player of the game's first half century by relentless repetition of what became known as "the Mikan drill"--hook after short hook shot, left and right hand in turn, a towel wedged under the off arm to ensure correct form. Meyer didn't leave Illinois to recruit a player until age 69 and even found his wife, Marge, on a CYO team he was coaching. She knew he liked her when he dropped popcorn into her soft drinks. (Like all of Meyer's players and all six of his children, Marge called her husband "Coach.")

Their son Joey succeeded Ray upon his retirement in 1984, with the patriarch sliding over to radio duty. In 1997, after a 3-23 season, DePaul let Joey go and his dad disassociated himself from the school in protest. But six years later the onetime aspiring priest granted his old school absolution, and DePaul dedicated its home floor as the Ray and Marge Meyer Court. Among the few goals Meyer failed to accomplish: to someday "referee a game played by officials."

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