DePaul basketball has had its share of well-documented struggles in the past few years. One man who supersedes these struggles, however, is legendary Blue Demons coach Ray Meyer. For this reason, the best moment in DePaul history has to be the day they hired Ray Meyer.
The landscape of this nation was much different in 1942. The United States had recently gotten involved in World War Two, there were only 48 states, and the Chicago Cubs were only 34 years removed from their last World Series victory. The landscape of college basketball also drastically differed. For example, only eight teams made the NCAA Tournament each year. Another big difference was instead of working your way up the ranks through a coaching staff, teams were more apt to give standout players head coaching jobs following their time in college. This is what DePaul did when, in April 1942, they hired a young man who was a standout player at Notre Dame. His name was Ray Meyer.
Meyer's first great move came shortly after he was hired when he saw 6-foot-10 George Mikan walking across campus. As Meyer put it, "When I saw George Mikan, I saw my future," It is fair to say Meyer was right about that, as he developed Mikan into one of the best big men the sport had ever seen. Mikan and Meyer also led DePaul to the NIT Championship in 1945, which remains the only postseason title the school has ever won.
Meyer also established himself as a great recruiter of the Chicago area throughout the years, landing big-time prospects such as Mark Aguirre or Terry Cummings.
In what was Meyer's most successful as DePaul's coach, 1978-1979, he got the Blue Demons all the way to the Final Four before suffering a two-point loss to Larry Bird's Indiana State. 1979 also marked the year in which Meyer was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
All in all, Meyer finished his coaching career in 1984 with a 724-354 record. He is one of 19 men to win 700 or more games in Division I. After his coaching career wrapped up, Meyer did some radio work for DePaul while his son, Joey Meyer, took over as head coach for the next 10 seasons.
On December 14, 2003, DePaul held a ceremony at the Allstate Arena during which they announced their court would be re-named the "Ray and Marge Meyer Court", which is what it is still known as to this day.
On March 17, 2006, Meyer died peacefully of natural causes at the age of 92.