Wednesday April 29, 2009
Tuesday night, Barbara and I joined about 2000 other Lipscomb supporters for the Don Meyer Evening of Excellence. It was a “homecoming” a “Reunion” for former athletes, supporters and fans! Coach Meyer did an excellent job…sharing and re-connecting with the Lipscomb Family. Here is a recap of the evening as posted on the Lipscomb Sports web site ( www.lipscombsports.com )
On a night when a key figure in the history of Lipscomb athletics was honored, a new vision was also revealed.
Former Lipscomb basketball coach Don Meyer, the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, was the featured speaker at the inaugural Don Meyer Evening of Excellence Tuesday night. More than 600 people dined on roast beef at a VIP dinner on the floor of Allen Arena while several hundred more attended dinners for various sports programs.
Coach Meyer is now head basketball coach at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D.
Everyone was invited to hear coach Meyer in his keynote address following the dinners. More than 600 people attended the VIP dinner with approximately 600 more scattered around the various team dinners. More than 2,000 were in Allen Arena for Meyer’s keynote address. Included in the crowd were many former athletes, fans and friends of the program who had not been seen on campus in quite some time prompting Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb's Director of Athletics, to call it a "family reunion".
The biggest announcement of the evening was the formation of the National Bison Club (NBC) which will be providing financial support for Lipscomb’s 17 varsity sports. The announcement was made by Hutcheson.
The motto is “Be a Bison for Life”. Hutcheson also announced that Andy Lane, formerly the director of operations, is the executive director of the National Bison Club.
“Andy has more than 20 years here at Lipscomb,” said Hutcheson. “I couldn’t be more excited about Andy taking over this role.”
Hutcheson used three of Meyer’s guidelines for his players as the basis of what the athletic program wants to do in the future.
The first was “pick up trash” which means to leave a place better than it was when you first found it. Hutcheson stressed that the goal of the athletic department is to make things even better.
Second, coach Meyer always stressed saying “please”, “thank you”, “yes mam” and “yes sir”. A lot of times it is the little things that make the difference in a ball game, in business, in the classroom or in life.
“The little things are what really matter,” said Hutcheson. “We are trying to stress that with all of our athletic teams.”
Third, he always stressed that everyone should take notes in an effort to improve, another area where the athletic department is working as the programs continue to improve in all areas.
“Places like Lipscomb and Northern State are places where quality and excellence are important,” said Meyer. “You have to be a competitor. If you are competing you don’t have time to complain. Competitors are too busy getting things done.”
The new National Bison Club will have an emphasis on “national”. The National Bison Club will help provide the daily support that athletics teams need such as airline tickets and van and bus rentals for away games, hotel rooms and food.
“We want to continue to reach our fans in the Nashville community and we do a good job of that, but we also want to reach farther,” said Hutcheson. “We need your support.”
Before the start of the keynote address there was a video presentation about coach Meyer produced by Nelson Eddy and Jimmy Chaffin at Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence Public Relations and Advertising.
State Senator Jim Tracy presented coach Meyer with a proclamation from the State of Tennessee honoring his coaching record.
I had a chance to visit with Coach and his wife Carmen before the evening activities began. I left coach a couple of CDs of an old radio broadcast of a radio interview that he and Philip Hutcheson did on WSIX in 1989…and I added a few other old interview and play by play clips. He said it would be something he could enjoy at the nursing home.
After the presentation Coach Meyer went to the Hall of Fame room and spent over an hour greeting his friends and former players. Barbara and I stopped by to wish coach the best. Also, I got him to admit that he didn’t fake the signature of Dean Smith…on a plaque he gave me several years ago! For years---he had me wondering if it was real or a Don Meyer copy! He claims (and I now believe him) that the signature really is former University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith’s autograph.
Coached shared a lot of great points…including “you have to become like child to enter the Kingdom”---meaning everyone needs to be a Kid! Coach has three main points he always mentions…
1. Pick up Trash….leave a place better than you find it…
2. Take notes….
3. Say “please and thank you”—and respect folks with yes sir and no sir.
It was great to see Coach…and a blessing to listen to his story…and good to see him back home at Lipscomb University.
It was a great night for the school.
The last few days have been really busy. Sarah loaded 25 boxes on Monday…and today Michael loaded those boxes in the church van and took them to Healing Hands International…to Joseph Smith…who will soon load them on a container heading to Jovenes En Camino.
Today…morning meetings…followed with a mid-morning trip downtown to visit with Matthew Bean. I got back to the building in time for a couple of hours of work before our Wednesday night dinner. After I ate—I joined the men’s retreat committee for our last meeting before heading to our retreat this weekend.
I will arrive a little late on Friday Night---since I am going to the ring ceremony for the 1979 NAIA Baseball National Champions---30 year reunion---and they are finally going to get their championship rings. I regret I didn’t take care of this task before I left as AD. But, I am glad they are finally getting their rings…and since I was the SID for the 1979 team---I get a ring also! It should be a lot of fun.
My second “reunion” of the week!
Men’s Class, a prayer session with the elders and our retreat committee….and a conversation with Tommy…to check and see if I was going to write this week….then a stop by Walmart to pickup some mulch and on to Krogers for a gallon of Milk…before heading home for the last of the 9 pm news…a little writing…and now to close the evening with a couple Andy Griffith episodes.
Now that is a Journey!
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