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There are three passions that run deep in the Meyer family: teaching, basketball, and Doane College.
It all started when Gary Meyer ‘80 and his twin brother Gregg Meyer ‘80 attended a Doane Players performance in 1977.
“We heard about Doane from a friend in West Point who was attending Doane at the time,” Gary Meyer said. “We were quite impressed with the campus and the family-type atmosphere that surrounded the campus.”
The twins made the decision then to attend Doane College for their undergraduate degrees.
“After attending Doane, we knew we were destined to be teachers,” Gary Meyer said. “Doane’s educational program has taught us not to just teach, but to impact young people's lives by truly caring for them; to listen, to understand, to empathize with our students. That is what sets Doane’s program apart from other colleges, I believe.”
While at Doane, Gary met Stephanie (Howard) Meyer ‘82. The two married and had children Jonathan Meyer, Ashley (Meyer) Jensen, and Bryan Meyer.
Tradition followed in the family when Jonathan ‘08 and Bryan ‘12 both made the decisions to attend Doane for undergraduate degrees in education and to compete in Tiger athletics. Jonathan competed on the track and field team and Bryan participated in the men’s basketball program.
“I was interested in continuing the family tradition because of such a positive experience my parents and other relatives have had from Doane,” Jonathan said. “I was impressed with the facilities and prospect of continuing to compete as a student athlete.”
Bryan said Doane provided a family atmosphere outside of his existing family connections to the college.
“Along with the scenic campus, I feel we were all drawn to Doane, because of its size,” Bryan said. “We knew that by choosing Doane, we would be joining a family in a sense. Not just a college where you are another face in the crowd, but a member of the Doane community who is cared for by others.”
Now, tradition continues as the majority of the family members teach in various central Nebraska schools.
As for Gary, Jonathan, and Bryan, the tradition has turned competitive. All three coach basketball for rival schools.
Gary is currently the 7th grade girls basketball and 9th grade girls basketball coach in Broken Bow. Jonathan is currently 9th grade girls basketball in Gothenburg. Bryan is currently helping with 9th grade boys basketball and assisting with the junior varsity and varsity boys basketball teams in Minden.
Although Bryan won’t get a chance to coach against his brother or father this year, he has witnessed the rivalry for the past few years.
For Jonathan, coaching against his dad is fun and competitive on many levels.
“It is fun to see him coaching a kid and know that was me not all that long ago,” Jonathan Meyer said. “I just think it is a such a joy to share a passion with my dad and be able to compete in a friendly way against him.”
Gary echoed his son’s sentiments.
“We really do not brag or tease each other about wins or losses; we have been around athletics enough to know that the quality of play is the most important aspect of coaching,” Gary said. “The most enjoyable part of coaching against my sons is just the pride factor; the satisfaction of teaching them the ins and outs of coaching. I would be lying, however, if there was not a deep desire to defeat my sons. We are, after all, competitive.”
Jonathan said if there was a rivalry, he was losing.
“We have had some battles and the games are always close, but I think he has the edge on victories,” Jonathan said. “I can only hope he continues to teach so I have the opportunity to even-up the wins.”
Neither Gary nor Jonathan hide plays from each other.
“We are constantly talking about how each others’ teams will be the next year or how our years have gone,” Jonathan said. “Nothing is really a secret as we know what is coming for the most part. He has seen so much basketball and football, trying to hide something would not make a difference as he would recognize it pretty quickly anyway.”
No matter how stressful or enjoyable the rivalry gets, though, the family members agreed that their Doane educations continue to impact them.
“One thing that all my Doane professors stressed and fostered was the idea of lifelong learning,” Bryan said. “I find myself wanting to know about everything and that's an attitude that grew while at Doane.”
As for future Meyer family impacts on Doane College, Gary is happy to recommend the best students for the college.
“Doane College is the best small college in the state of Nebraska, and easily one of the best in the Midwest,” Gary said. “We also consider it our duty to recommend Doane to as many worthy students as possible. Recommending prospective students to Doane is one of the more enjoyable duties we have as teachers.”