BOSTON, MASS. – Morningside College’s Jim Sykes is the recipient of the 2019-20 Don Meyer Award sponsored by CollegeInsider.com, which is presented annually to the top National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ men’s basketball coach, in honor of one of the sport’s winningest coaches. The announcement was made Thursday, March 26.
Skyes led Morningside to a 27-3 record, a third straight Great Plains Athletic Conference championship, and a fourth consecutive trip to the NAIA tournament. The Mustangs were the top seed in their bracket of the tourney before the season was canceled.
He adds this to a sterling 2019-20 resume in which he also earned league Coach of the Year recognition earlier this month. A six-time GPAC COTY, Sykes has a career record of 360-165, suitable for a winning percentage of .685, good for the highest victory rate in program history. He’s led the Mustangs to 14 winning seasons in the last 17 years, including ten 20-win campaigns, eight NAIA Division II national tournament berths, seven Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular-season championships and three GPAC post-season tournament championships.
Meyer, for whom the award is named, had a storybook career at three different programs. In a combined 38 seasons at Hamline, Lipscomb and Northern State, the legendary Meyer compiled an astounding 923-324 record. He led Lipscomb to the NAIA national championship in 1986 and coached the two highest-scoring players in the history of college basketball, John Pierce and Philip Hutcheson. Also, his 1989-90 team at Lipscomb won a record 41 games and was the highest-scoring team in college history. In 2010, he received the John Bunn Award at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Meyer retired from coaching in February 2010. Coach Meyer lost his long battle with cancer on May 18, 2014, at the age of 69.