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Don Meyer dies after battling cancer

Don Meyer, who was at one time the winningest men's basketball coach in NCAA history, died early Sunday at his home in South Dakota after a lengthy battle with cancer.

He was 69.

"He won his greatest victory and is now running again and gearing up to pitch nine innings," the Meyer family said in a statement. "The family appreciates the outpouring of love."

Meyer's story became a national story in September 2008 when he nearly died after falling asleep while driving and colliding head on with a truck. While being treated by a trauma surgeon, a previously undiagnosed cancer was discovered, and Meyer was reportedly told then that he probably only had about two years to live. That was nearly six years ago.

Meyer's left leg was amputated below his knee because of injuries suffered, and yet he still returned to work at Northern State less than two months after the crash, and he coached the entire 2008-09 season from a wheelchair. He retired after the 2009-10 season with 923 victories compiled while coaching at Hamline, Lipscomb and Northern State.

"He was a tough coach to play for, very demanding physically and mentally," Meyer's son, Jerry Meyer, told the Associated Press. "But that's what made him a great coach."

Memorial services will be held at Lipscomb and Northern State.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
 
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