Don Meyers became an NCAA champion for CU in the pole vault and long jump and was CSU's coach at age 24. He eventually returned to CU and succeeded Frank Potts as Buffs coach. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post )

Don Meyers blossomed in the spring.
Track and field was the growing period, and the warming temperatures and championship events brought out his best. If he were competing for the University of Colorado today, he'd be priming for the Big 12 championships this weekend at Frank Potts Field in Boulder.
History indicates Meyers would contribute something special at the meet.
"I tried to play basketball in high school, but with my big horned-rim glasses, I could barely see the basket," said Meyers, who attended Palmer High School in Colorado Springs. "I didn't play basketball very well and that left track and field. I always liked anything that had to do with jumping, and I had good coordination with my legs."
In track and field, he went on to become one of only a handful of college athletes to win NCAA championships in two events. The long jump was his specialty, and he won the NCAA title in 1961 with a leap of 25 feet in Philadelphia.
The pole vault is yet another story, but it also turned blue ribbon for Meyers at the 1962 NCAA championships at the University of Oregon. Meyers finished in a four-way tie for first place, all the winners clearing 15 feet, 3 inches. Later that year, Meyers set an indoor world record in the pole vault at 16-1 1/4 in a meet atthe University of Chicago.
"I picked up a pole vault for the first time when I was a senior in high school," Meyers said. "I fiddled around with it and found the event was exciting and enjoyable."
A few weeks later, he tied for the state championship in the pole vault, clearing 12-7 1/2.
Meyers credits CU coach Frank Potts, who coached 1968 Olympic decathlon champion Bill Toomey and 1960 NCAA 400-meter dash champion Ted Woods, for making him into a championship pole vaulter.
"It basically was him saying, 'Here's the pole and you run down the runway,' " Meyers said. "He built me into a pole vaulter from scratch."
While it became his premier event, Meyers never won the Big Eight title in the pole vault. A hamstring injury was a factor. But he won four Big Eight long jump championships — two outdoor and two indoor.
Meyers remembered Potts as a second father.
"It was a pleasure to be coached by a man of character," Meyers said of Potts. "He had a great way of letting you know he was interested in his athletes."
Meyers turned his attention to coaching when his competing days were over. He was an assistant for Potts in 1963 and became the coach at Colorado State in 1964 at age 24.
CU called him back in 1968 to assist Potts, who also was a member of the U.S. Olympic coaching staff. Potts retired the next year and Meyers took over.
"He (Potts) had handpicked me and wanted me to come back," Meyers said. "He still came out to every practice and stayed involved."
The best way to describe Meyers' personality in the coaching circle is to relate it to the energy of springtime, the new growth, the new blossoms and new colors.
"I wouldn't put myself in the category of a hard-nosed disciplinarian," Meyers said. "I had definite rules and regulations, but my style was pretty relaxed."
Meyers coached some of CU's all-time great performers in track and field, with the likes of Cliff Branch, Larry Brunson, George Daniels, Marcus Walker, Ted Castaneda and Chuck Morton.
Jerry Quiller, who is retiring this year as the track and field coach at Army, coached the distance runners on Meyers' staff.
In 1975, Meyers received an offer to enter private business that he couldn't turn down.
"I enjoyed coaching and it was a wonderful thing to do, but I realized that I wasn't going to be a longtimer like Coach Potts," Meyers said. "An opportunity came my way in the real estate business, and I decided to take it."


Born: March 28, 1940, in Colorado Springs
High school: Colorado Springs Palmer, 1958
College: Colorado, 1962
Family: Daughters Becky, Cindy, Chelsea; son Todd
Hobbies: Meyers says his dabbling in currency trading isn't for "the faint of heart."
Wishes: A condo in Hawaii