Saturday, October 15, 2016

A decade later, Meyer's legacy resonates on both DePaul basketball programs

                         Photo Credit: Geno Green

Off the Fullerton "L" stop on the North Side of Chicago, you don’t have to look far to find a link from the late Ray Meyer in former player and current women’s basketball coach Doug Bruno.

After Meyer’s mural was unveiled under the Fullerton train stop in a ceremony during DePaul Athletics’ annual Fan Fest on Saturday, one of Bruno’s current players, Brooke Schulte viewed Meyer’s influence from a perspective outside the basketball court even after his death in 2006.

“I find myself quoting Coach Meyer when our team does exercises and someone says aggressive and desire to dominate and find somebody else saying aggressive and desire to dominate,” Schulte said. “It is so engrained in me that it comes on instinct. Meyer’s philosophies embody how DePaul is and the family tradition around campus. The past is there and it is always prevalent with the present and the future.”

Despite becoming the seventh in Division I to win 600 games for one program on Jan. 15 at Butler, Bruno knows without the tutelage of Meyer, there might not be a thing such as “DePaulBall”.

“Coach Meyer is DePaul and I would not be around the DePaul women’s basketball program without him,” Bruno said. “He is the guy who took this thing that was the little school under the “L” stop and turned it into a national power.”

BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year Jessica January views Bruno at times as a direct reflection of Meyer.

“Bruno talks about [Meyer] all the time and really tries to bring the same type of values and outlook on basketball to us as well and does a really good job of it,” January said.

In year two of his second stint as DePaul men’s basketball coach, Dave Leitao is reminded through a picture on a daily basis of the impact Meyer left on the program.

“The players can’t go anywhere without understanding the history of DePaul Athletics, but once you enter the basketball office, there is a picture of Meyer right in your face. It gives us an entrée to talk about legacy and what he has meant and what being a DePaul basketball athlete means.”

With another season on the horizon for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, one constant remains— Meyer’s presence looms larger even in the afterlife.

Meyer’s coaching stats at a glance:

- Went 724-354 over 42 seasons as DePaul’s head coach

- Two Final Four appearances (1943 and 1979)

- Won the 1945 National Invitational Tournament

- Compiled 37 winning seasons and twelve 20-win seasons

- Coached future NBA players in George Mikan, Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.