San Antonio – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced today that it will induct former St. Mary’s University men’s basketball coach and player Herman “Buddy” Meyer into the NAIA Hall of Fame, recognizing him as “a person of outstanding quality, high moral character, fine leadership ability and someone who is held in high esteem by colleagues, coaches and athletes.”
“There’s been a lot of really good coaches and athletes who have gone into this Hall of Fame; I’m very honored to be in this group,” Meyer said. “It goes back to you’re as good as the people around you – the people that work with you and the student-athletes.”
Meyer started his nearly life-long career with St. Mary’s in 1961 as a student-athlete on the Rattlers’ basketball team. Between player, assistant coach and head coach, Meyer spent a total of 41 years at St. Mary’s. He was the head coach of the Rattlers for 27 years, serving as the athletics director at the school for 21 of those years. After graduating in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, he stayed in San Antonio coaching Antonian College Preparatory High School to a state championship in 1968. Meyer returned to St. Mary’s later that same year as an assistant coach to Ed Messbarger. In 1978, Meyer took over as head coach, a post he held until 2005. Under Meyer’s leadership as the athletics director, St. Mary’s began it’s transition from the NAIA to become a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II school.
As head coach for the Rattlers, Meyer won 530 games, while losing just 252 for a 67.8 winning percentage during his 27 seasons. He helped lead the Rattlers to 13 appearances in the NAIA National Tournament and four trips to the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament. He was named conference coach of the year 11 times, while guiding St. Mary’s to 17 conference championships.
His crowning achievement came in 1989, when he led the Rattlers to the NAIA National Championship, defeating East Central University (Okla.), 61-58, in the title game. Meyer was named NAIA National Coach of the Year that season.
Though proud of the achievements of his teams on the court, Meyer was equally proud of the success of his players as student-athletes in the classroom. During his time as coach at St. Mary’s, Meyer’s student-athletes had an 80 percent graduation rate. In his 26 years, 25 players were named All-American and 66 earned all-conference recognition.
“This is an honor that is well-deserved and long overdue for Buddy,” said St. Mary’s President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., who wrote Meyer’s nomination letter to the NAIA Committee. “As a coach and athletics director, Buddy stressed the concept of the student-athlete. He emphasized to his players that completing their education was as important as their feats on the court, and that earning a degree and being engaged and caring citizens were attributes they would carry with them long after their playing days were over.”
As homage to Meyer upon his retirement, a group of alumni and friends established a scholarship to honor Meyer’s commitment to his athletes and to his alma mater. The Herman A. “Buddy” Meyer Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance to student athletes and team managers whose athletic eligibility has expired.
As a player, Meyer was the first St. Mary’s student-athlete to earn first team All-Conference honors for four consecutive years. Meyer still ranks fifth on the St. Mary’s all-time scoring list with 1,581 points. Known for his accuracy at the free throw line, Meyer came through in the clutch at the charity stripe in 1964, when his two free throws in the final seconds against East Texas State University sent the Rattlers to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in school history.
St. Mary’s mission of community service was instilled in Buddy during his student days, and it is an ideal he has promoted throughout his career. While actively coaching at St. Mary’s, Buddy opened the campus during the summer to inner-city and neighborhood children, as well as others, to attend his basketball camps. Today the University is the host site for many different sports camps. In addition, Coach Meyer’s commitment to the University and the community continues as he assists with fundraising efforts to renovate St. Mary’s softball, baseball, soccer and tennis facilities. The renovation project is part of the University’s initiatives to revitalize several neighborhoods around the campus. Meyer was also involved in fundraising for St. Mary’s Alumni, Athletics and Convocation Center and the Bill Greehey Arena completed in 2000.
St. Mary’s was blessed to have Meyer as a player, coach and a very active alumnus. The University and the Alumni Association have honored Meyer on many occasions, including bestowing upon him the recognition of Distinguished Alumnus in 1983, retiring his No. 44 player jersey in 2003, and naming the “Buddy and Anna Meyer Courts” in the arena to honor him and Anna Marie, his wife of 44 years. The larger community recognized his myriad contributions in 2007 when he was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
Meyer is one of 15 individuals who will be inducted into 2009-2010 NAIA Hall of Fame class. The NAIA Hall of Fame is divided into three categories: athlete, coach and meritorious service. All inductees will be recognized and honored at various NAIA events held throughout the year. Meyer will be inducted at the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship in Kansas City, Mo., March 16, 2010.