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Eric Peterson, Published November 19 2010

Olney in Fargo for book promo

To promote the recently released book about his life, Don Meyer has already done appearances in New York City.

“I was sort of scared,” Meyer said with a laugh. “I thought everybody was going to mug me, even the grandmas walking around. It cost us 31 bucks to park for two hours. It was a hoot. I can’t explain it, it was funny.”

The former Northern State men’s basketball coach will be at Fargo’s Zandbroz from noon to 2 p.m. to sign the book, “How Lucky You Can Be,” along with the book’s author Buster Olney. Olney is a baseball writer and analyst for ESPN, and covered Meyer’s basketball teams in Nashville, Tenn., for two seasons in the late-1980s.

“I’m very happy,” Olney said. “It’s neat to see the e-mails that he’s getting from people who played for him and felt like the book really rang true to who he is and reflects their experience.

“I’ve got e-mails from members of his family and that has been really heartening to me.”

Olney wrote on his Twitter account Thursday a third printing of the book has been ordered. The book was released on Nov. 8 in Aberdeen and nationally on Nov. 9.

Meyer still works for Northern State, which is located in Aberdeen, S.D. He completed his 38-year college head coaching career after last season with a record 923 victories.

He made an inspirational return to coaching after he was involved in a serious car accident in September 2008 that led to having his left leg amputated below the knee. During surgery, it was also discovered Meyer had inoperable cancer.

“When he got in the accident, it was still unclear whether he was going to live or die,” Olney said. “I wrote a memo to the people at ESPN and I’m like ‘I really want to do this story because I know there are a lot of layers to it.’ ”

Meyer was back at Northern State as head coach the next season, despite the accident. His final coaching victory came last February in Moorhead at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse, a 66-60 win against Minnesota State Moorhead.

Meyer said he hasn’t been able to read the entire book, which chronicles more than the accident and his ensuing return to coaching.

“I haven’t done much with the first chapter because that describes the wreck, so I’ve sort of stayed away from that a little bit,” Meyer said. “I had a lot of people say they cried reading it. He’s (Olney) a great writer. Every chapter I read, I wanted to read the next one.”

Olney covered Meyer’s Lipscomb University men’s basketball teams during the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. Olney said he thought about doing a book on Lipscomb’s rivalry with Belmont University around that time. Having known Meyer for two decades helped Olney in writing the book.

“I knew the impact he had within the coaching community and on his former players,” Olney said. “I walked into it with so much back knowledge.”

Well-known for his work as a baseball writer and analyst, Olney said he is prepared to talk about more than just the book at today’s signing.

“If anybody were to come out to the signing (today) and ask baseball stuff, absolutely, I would be ready to go,” Olney said. “That’s what I talk about 21 hours a day I feel like.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com