Best Don Meyer Quotes

Coach Don Meyer

Coach Don Meyer was a legendary college basketball coach. He was a master teacher of the game of basketball and life.

Every coach knew and appreciated Don Meyer. He was your favorite coach’s favorite coach. Legendary coach Pat Summitt said about Don Meyer, “he taught me how to teach others how to play the game.”

Coach Meyer held the record for the most wins in men’s college basketball with 923 wins. He coached at Hamline University, Lipscomb University, and Northern State University.

Don Meyer won the 2009 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2009 ESPY Awards.

Coach Don Meyer Quotes

Here are some of the best Don Meyer quotes:

Aim for goals higher than 10 feet.

When the legs go, the heart and the head follow quickly behind.

If you want to be interesting, take interest in others.

TEAM Attitude.

Always take notes.

If a farmer and his family can get up at 5:30 every morning to milk cows, surely we can get up at that time to practice basketball.

Coach Don Meyer’s 3 Team Rules:

  1. Everybody takes notes.
  2. Everybody says “please” and “thank you, “yes ma’am” and “yes sir”.
  3. Everybody picks up trash.

Simplify the game as much as possible. When you add, you must subtract.

It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and to ignore your example. 

Coach Don Meyer
Coach Don Meyer

Get all the good ideas but you can’t use all the good ideas.

Players who are late are saying that their time is more important than the team. 

Make each day your masterpiece. – John Wooden

We had ten turnovers tonight. Each one gets worse as you go. It’s like prior arrests: the tenth one might not have been that bad, but when you had nine prior ones, it looks pretty bad.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

A coach who is not teaching leads to the worst thing in a program – players not learning.

What makes a masterpiece is what you take out.

Successful programs consist of people working hard, working together, while never worrying about who gets credit.

If you win a rat race you are still a rat.

We want players to think about the NBA: Next Best Action.

Shout praise and whisper criticism.

Small people talk about other people. Average people talk about things. Great people talk about ideas.

We use the ‘F-word’ in our program. Our ‘F-words’ are faith, family and friends.

Peace is not the absence of troubles, trials, and torments but calm in the midst of them.

All the greats know how to keep it simple.

Young team members must gain experience. Older team members must maintain enthusiasm.

There are jackasses on every farm.

Forget about what we’ve done. Think about what we’re going to do.

I learned from Warren Buffet. I look for three things, intelligence, energy, and character. If they don’t have the last one the first two will kill you.

Complacency is the forerunner of mediocrity. You can never work too hard on attitudes, effort and technique.

Be a craftsman. Take pride in how you do what you do.

Play every play like it’s the big play because no one knows when it is the big play.

Reputation is what people think you are; character defines who you really are. 

Tough minded enough to do the necessary things–this is the epitome of what a team is.

There are two types of pain: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.

People don’t pay for average. No one wants to go on an average date with an average girl, eat an average meal, see an average movie, and have an average make out session.

Make the big time where you are. This was a book by Frosty Westering [Amazon link] that Coach recommended often.

All you can control in life is your effort and your attitude. Effort is how hard you try. Attitude is how you respond.

We want to work at a level that no one else can possibly understand.

You can’t want something for someone more than they want it for themselves.

Read each day.

Have character, don’t be one.

Plays are not as important as players, and players are not as important as teammates.

On a good team some people are willing to do the dirty work. On a great team, everyone is willing to do the dirty work.

You’re probably not as bad as you think are when you lose and you’re definitely as good as you think you are when you win.

Let’s get everything we can out of the time we have left.

Tell people you love them. You may not get a chance tomorrow.

Most of us would rather be ruined by praise, than saved by criticism.

The first step to intelligence is to realize we’re stupid.

Your program must have an overriding purpose, which is clearly visible and which teaches lessons beyond winning.

For every 100 who can handle failure there is but 1 who can handle success.

Witness for the Lord always, use words when necessary.

You usually get exactly what you deserve.

Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses. – John Wooden

Read the Bible every day and let it speak to you.

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

Those who work the hardest are the last to surrender.

Leaders pick up trash. It keeps the leader humble and the parking lot clean.

Watch people teach.

You have to clean out the pig barn every week because you know your pigs are in there doing their jobs every day.

Always be a ‘quarter’ friend: if a guy was down to his last quarter, would he call you? Always have time for people.

Coldly evaluate your performance.

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. – John Wooden

Life is a team sport.

Happiness begins when selfishness ends.

I’ve never met a selfish person that was happy and I’ve never met an unselfish person that was unhappy.

Life is not all about you. – Rick Warren

The team that should have won did win.

We always need to be prepared and work hard in practice so we can be just like the farmer who has put that fourth cutting of hay in the barn. After he does that, he can feel good about what is going to happen the rest of the winter.

Life is terminal for all of us.

Leave every place a little better than you found it.

Teach life lessons.

The only thing success should do is make you more humble.

Discover your gift, develop your gift, and then give it away every day.

Kindness is a language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear. – Mark Twain

Humility comes from wisdom as does maturity.

Keep things simple and execute those things sharply.

There is nothing more important than rebounding … don’t just give it lip service.

Coach Don Meyer Handouts

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Jeff Mankin

Jeff Mankin teaches financial literacy. His website is

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