March 17, 2006
Notre Dame, Ind. – Legendary DePaul coaching great Ray Meyer, a 1938 Notre Dame graduate passed away today of congestive heart failure at the age of 92.
A wake is planned for Monday, March 20 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Vincent’s Church, 1010 W. Webster Ave. A Mass will be celebrated Tuesday, March 21 at 10 a.m. at St. Vincent’s.
Meyer was a two-time basketball guard on the 1936-37 and 1937-38 Irish squads. During his three-year career, Notre Dame compiled a 62-8-1 record (.880) won the Helms national championship in 1936. On Nov. 30, 1940, he was named the first full-time assistant coach for the Irish under George Keogan. When Keogan was taken ill during the 1940-41 season, Meyer served as coach for the final seven games of the season and led Notre Dame to a 5-2 record. When health problems again sidelined Keogan during the 1941-42 campaign, Meyer served as Notre Dame’s “road coach” in nine of the 10 away games as the Irish compiled a 4-5 record in those contests.
He was named head coach at DePaul in 1942 and retired following the 1983-84 season after 42 seasons at that position. During his storied career, his Blue Demon teams compiled a 724-354 (.671) record. In his storied career, 13 of his teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament and seven of his squads played in the National Invitational Tournament. Meyer’s 1943 and 1979 teams both reached the NCAA Final Four while his 1945 team, featuring future Hall of Famer George Mikan, won the NIT title when it was considered the national championship. One of 18 Division I coaches to win at least 700 games, Coach Ray posted 37 winning seasons and 12, 20-win campaigns. In his last seven years at DePaul (1977-84), he recorded an impressive record of 180-30 (.857). Six of those teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament and his 1983 team played in the NIT championship game.
Meyer is one of five former representatives of Notre Dame’s basketball program to earn induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., and was inducted in 1979.
His 724 career wins rank 16th on the NCAA Division I all-time list. In 1978 and 1980, he was named Coach of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association while the Associated Press also honored him as its national Coach of the Year in both 1980 and 1984. In addition, he was named the Kodak Man of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 1980 and was awarded the John Bunn Award from the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1981 for contributions to the game of basketball. He was also bestowed with the NIT-NACDA Award in 1984.
A lasting tribute to Coach Ray and his family occurred on December 14, 2003 when the playing floor at the Allstate Arena was officially dedicated as Ray and Marge Meyer Court in honor of the coach and his late wife of 43 years who passed away in 1986.