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.
In his 42 years as head coach of the Blue Demons from 1942-84, the man known simply as "Coach" compiled a record of 724-354 (.671). In his storied career, 13 of his teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament and seven of his squads played in the National Invitational Tournament. His 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.
Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 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.
Besides his Naismith Hall of Fame honor, Coach Ray is also a member of the Illinois and Chicago Sports Hall of Fames, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the DePaul University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1992, Meyer was also honored by the NABC with the Balfour Golden Anniversary Ring for 50 years of contributions to basketball.
Upon retiring as DePaul's coach in 1984, Ray served as a Special Assistant to the President of the University until 1997. His duties included fundraising and special projects. In addition, Meyer also did color commentary for DePaul basketball games on WGN Radio for 13 seasons. In his 55 years at DePaul, he attended 1,467 consecutive Blue Demon games, never missing a DePaul contest in that time span. Meyer was succeeded at DePaul by his son, Joey, who recorded a career record of 231-158 (.594) in 13 seasons as head coach.
On September 30, 1999, a lasting tribute to Meyer was dedicated on DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus as the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center opened. The 120,000 square foot facility provides the DePaul community with a variety of fitness and recreational sport spaces.
Yet another 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.
Over the past four seasons Coach Ray had again become a fixture at DePaul home games and has spent time in the locker room with the Blue Demon players and coaches.
Ray Meyer: December 18, 1913 – March 17, 2006
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