Monday, May 4, 2020

Ray Meyer's Final Fours

Because it has been a while since DePaul has been relevant, and perhaps because they do not have any national championships to their credit, I fear that Ray Meyer tends to be underrated in the minds of fans in the list of greatest coaches. But after all, his teams won 724 games, and DePaul was the NIT champion back in the days when that meant something (1945).

There are some unique features of Meyer's career. First, he never was a head coach anywhere but at DePaul. Second, he is one of a very few coaches to take a team to the Final Four in his first season as a head coach.

Third, Meyer may have the longest time between Final Fours of any head coach. DePaul went in that first season (1943), and then also in 1979. Thirty-six years is a long stretch to maintain that level of excellence.

Of course, DePaul had some low spots during Meyer's long tenure. From 1967 through 1975 they did not go to any kind of postseason. On the other hand, on top of those Final Fours, they had twelve 20-win seasons.

Meyer finished his career with a run of seven seasons of at least 21 wins, and all but one of them were at least 26 wins. From 1980 through 1982, he had three straight seasons in which he lost only two games.

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