Coach Ray Meyer Praised as Hero

CHICAGO - Former DePaul basketball coach Ray Meyer was remembered at his funeral Tuesday as a hero who inspired young people and remained humble even after becoming a giant of his sport.

A who's-who of basketball greats were among the hundreds of mourners attending the service at St. Vincent de Paul Church, including New York Knicks coach Larry Brown, former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps, former NBA star and Knicks president Isiah Thomas, and Mark Aguirre, one of Meyer's greatest players at DePaul and now a Knicks assistant.

Meyer died Friday at the age of 92 at an assisted living facility in the suburbs surrounded by his family. He had been in failing health. Coach at DePaul for 42 years, he retired in 1984 with a 724-354 record. But his popularity never diminished because of his humility and good nature.

Bagpipes played as Meyer's casket arrived and departed for the 90-minute service, trailed by a long line of his relatives. Meyer had 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, many of whom attended the funeral. Some placed white roses on the altar.

Others who attended the funeral included former DePaul and current Virginia coach Dave Leitao, former college coaches Rick Majerus and Hank Raymonds, and former Blue Demons Rod Strickland and David Booth.

Meyer's teams had winning records in 37 seasons and won at least 20 games 12 times, reaching the NCAA tournament 13 times, and the Final Four in 1943 and again in 1979.

His greatest players include Aguirre, Terry Cummings and Dave Corzine - all of whom came decades after he helped turn George Mikan, a gangly student with thick glasses, into a two-time college player of the year. Mikan went on to the NBA and helped transform the pro game as the first dominating big man.

Photos from Funeral at St. Vincent DePaul church

Former DePaul basketball coach Dave Leitao.

Bill Carmody, head basketball coach at Northwestern

NY Knicks GM Isiah Thomas

NY Knicks coach Larry Brown and assistant coach Mark Aguirre.

Pallbearers carry the casket of former DePaul basketball coach Ray Meyer into St. Vincent de Paul Church.

Joey Meyer, center, son of former DePaul basketball coach Ray Meyer, leads his family toward St. Vincent de Paul Church in Chicago.

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