There will be plenty of memorable moments at the Curb Event Center this year. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are returning a load of players—some of whom are sure to create some exciting moments. But the one game that every Bruin fan should mark on their calendars doesn’t even count. On Nov. 9, Belmont hosts Northern State in an exhibition as part of the Don Meyer Classic. The game, which starts 6 p.m., will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
So, what’s the hubbub about a preseason scrimmage against a Division II school from North Dakota? Don Meyer—that’s what. Nashvillians probably recall the name, but for those who don’t: Meyer was the head coach at Lipscomb between 1975 and 1999. In 1983, a fresh-faced 29-year-old from Lincoln Memorial University became the head coach at Lipscomb’s boulevard rival, Belmont. For the next 16 years, Don Meyer and Rick Byrd did battle on the hardwood.
When Lipscomb followed Belmont to the NCAA after the 1999 season, Meyer set off for Northern State. On a team retreat trip in 2008, Meyer fell asleep at the wheel and crashed head-on into a truck. The doctors had to remove a large portion of his leg. While Meyer was on the operating table, the surgeon found a slowly developing cancer in the coach’s liver and intestine.
But Meyer persisted. He didn’t miss a single game in 2008. Or 2009. Earlier this year, Meyer announced that he was retiring from the game—with 923 wins. In the summer of 2009, Meyer was recognized with the Jimmy V Award For Perseverance.
So here’s the point: Meyer is an incredible man with an incredible story. We all carry busy lives, hustling and bustling through tests, papers and applications. Times are tough. We could all use a little inspiration in this world that sometimes seems to breed none.
Sports are beautiful when they reflect and coincide with the lessons that can be learned from being a part of them. Coach Meyer is a lesson in perseverance, a man who, as Jimmy V would say, “never gave up.”
So, be at this game on Nov. 9. Pack the house like it’s a dress rehearsal for the Battle of the Boulevard. It’s a great opportunity to get a sneak peak at the Bruins, be on national television, and quite possibly restore your faith in the sheer will power and determination that humans are capable of.
“For Belmont to play a part in honoring Don Meyer for his accomplishments and his courage, as well as hosting a nationally-televised game on ESPNU against Northern State, makes this a big night for our university,” Coach Byrd said via press release.
Don’t miss it.
Pierce Greenberg, sports editor, is a senior majoring in journalism.