Oct. 14, 2013 -- Joe C. Meriweather, former Park University women's basketball coach and 10-year NBA veteran, died on Oct. 13, unexpectedly, in Columbus, Ga. He was 59. Meriweather is the winningest coach in Park University women's basketball history with 128 wins, and he led Park to its only NAIA National Championship tournament appearance following the 2005-06 season.
A memorial service will take place on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., at Breckon Sports Center on the University's Parkville Campus.
He leaves four children, Joe, Laureese, Jonathan and Jillian; one brother, Ronald; two sisters, June and Brenda; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Meriweather, who coached Par's women's team from 1997-2010, guided the Pirates to a 19-12 record in 2005-06 and for his efforts, he was named the 2005-06 NAIA Division I Independent Region Coach of the Year. He was also named the 1998 AMC Coach of the Year and his 2003-04 squad posted a school-record 22 wins.
In 2007-08, Park finished 15-15 with Meriweather leading the squad to a second place finish in the NAIA Independent Region Women's Championship. Meriweather also helped guide Ashley Birch to a 2008 NAIA All-American Honorable Mention selection.
Meriweather played 10 seasons in the NBA as a member of the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, New York Knicks and Kansas City Kings. He also played two seasons internationally in the European League in Bologna, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain.
A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Meriweather is in the Salukis athletics hall of fame after posting 1,536 points and 1,005 rebounds in his collegiate career. In 1975, he was the 11th pick (Houston Rockets) in the NBA Draft.
Meriweather also coached professionally in Kansas City for the Kansas City Mustangs, from 1992 to 1995. Prior to Park, he also coached at Bishop Hogan High School and at Penn Valley Community College, and he was inducted in to the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Following his coaching career, Meriweather founded and served as chief executive officer of 3C's Fatherhood Education Partnership Inc., an educational training program that develops boys into responsible men and fathers in the community.
His giving wasn't limited to 3C's. He was also a vital volunteer and leader for 13 years for the NativeVision initiative, serving Native American youth. He launched the basketball component of NativeVision camps in 1999 and served as the chief recruiter for camp volunteers. He participated in year-round mini-camps, committed his time to the Johns Hopkins Center for Native American Health and he was the keynote speaker promoting fatherhood in the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
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