A disciple of Coach Don Meyer and a product of his system, Duwain Houston is a Bison Basketball success story. He has translated his Lipscomb experiences as a student-coach and player into a career in education at prominent high schools in Atlanta and Abilene. He treasures his memories winning an NAIA National Championship, and he recalled his days on campus in a visit this week with LipscombSports.com.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
I was a student at Lipscomb from the fall of 1983 until the spring of 1989. I spent that time as a manager, student-coach, a player, and the equivalent of today’s graduate assistant coach – all for Coach Don Meyer and the basketball program.
I started as a manager my freshman year; then Coach Meyer “promoted” me to student-coach my sophomore year, along with Greg Glenn. In my junior year, Coach told (not asked, but told) Greg and me that due to some injuries and team challenges, we were playing on the team that season. It was memorable because we won our NAIA District at Lincoln Memorial, advanced to the National Tournament in Kansas City’s Kemper Arena, and won five games in eight days to win the National Championship. After that year I returned to my role as student coach and added two more years as sort of head student coach.
What teammate was most memorable, and why?
My first response is the entire 1986 Bison Basketball team. We spent so much time together and made so many memories – especially at the National Tournament – that I feel a special bond to all of them. If forced to narrow the list, I suppose my closest friends at Lipscomb were Richard Taylor and Greg Glenn – both incredible influences whose friendships are still valuable to me today.
What degrees have you earned?
I earned both a Business Management degree and a Business Education degree with a minor in Speech when I graduated from Lipscomb in May 1989. I added a Masters in Supervision and Administration from Georgia State University in 1994.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
I attended high school at Georgia Christian in Valdosta, and one of my best friends, Wesley Force, and I decided in our junior year to go to another Christian college. By the time our senior year rolled around, we had just returned from a road trip to Nashville when he said, “Man, Oklahoma is really far away. Let’s go to Lipscomb instead.” Honestly, it was that deep.
We and David Cothron, another classmate and good friend, came to Lipscomb. The timing worked very well because Coach Mike Roller – our Georgia Christian coach who had won 125 consecutive high school basketball games – came to Lipscomb the same year. We like to believe the Roller family followed us to Nashville.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Roller assisted Coach Don Meyer before becoming head basketball coach at Lipscomb Academy. He now serves as Associate Headmaster and Director of Athletics.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
The entire experience in 1986 – advancing to and winning the NAIA National Championship, playing those five tournament games in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, returning to campus for a special devotional for the brother of Chris Martello – it was memorable due to the emotional highs and lows. It was also a tremendous bonding exercise for our team and for our campus, and it will always hold a special place in my memory.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Two men are at the top of my list: Mike Roller, my high school coach, and Don Meyer, my coach and mentor in college. Coach Roller is the most inspirational coach I’ve known. He had high expectations for his teams, and he was very good at motivating players to reach those expectations. If you played with Coach Roller, you were “in shape” and he made certain of it. We knew before every game began that we were better conditioned, better prepared, and better coached than our opponents. That knowledge allowed us to play with a lot of confidence. That’s why he won 125 games in a row, and I am humbled to have been a part of the final 93 of those wins.
I remember clearly the day Coach Meyer “promoted” Greg Glenn and me from student-coaches to players in 1986. We were eating lunch at Captain D’s (imagine that) and he was commenting about the poor attitude and lack of hustle on the team. Before even thinking, I said, “If Greg and I were out there, we wouldn’t be the most athletic players on the court but you could count on us to give 100%.” I went back to my dorm room on the 7th floor of High Rise, and that very afternoon I got a call from Coach: “Get a uniform. You’re on the team.” I was pumped because I had played all through high school and I never wanted to stop. It was an incredible year, and it meant my final year of high school basketball resulted in a state championship and my final year playing in college earned a national championship.
What are the most valuable lessons you learned in your time at Lipscomb?
I have a unique perspective because I was on campus longer than a typical student, thanks to my work with the basketball program. I learned there is enormous value in having priorities and being organized with your time in such a way to maximize your priorities. It’s a process that makes decision-making easier because good decisions are based on well-placed priorities.
Also, I see that having a church home is more important than I realized while I was in school. I know now I could have done a better job, and I truly wish I had picked one and made a home instead of bouncing between several churches. I know now the tremendous value in settling in with one church family.
Who were your favorite professors & why?
I’ll be honest, I remember basketball team details much better than classroom details, but I recall a few: Dr. Marlin Connelly was an excellent Bible teacher, Frank Bennett taught an Introduction to Computers class that stuck with me, and Dr. Axel Swang was a gifted instructor who knew better than any other how to hold students’ interest in class.
What do you do now?
Right out of Lipscomb, I married and moved to Atlanta, where I taught and coached for seven years at Greater Atlanta Christian (High School). In 1996 we moved to Texas to work at Abilene Christian (High) School, where I did all types of jobs for seven more years. In 2003 I went to work at Edward Jones for five years before returning to Abilene Christian in 2008. I teach several classes of Bible, serve as Athletic Director and coach Girl’s Basketball and Boy’s and Girl’s Tennis. I also serve as an Elder at Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene.
Tell us about your family.
I met my wife, Carole, in Business Law II class at Lipscomb, with a big assist from Linda and Paul Sharp. Carole and I married in 1989 a week after graduation. We have four awesome children: Brantly (out of college, working at a P.R. firm in Arkansas), Callie (also out of college, a nurse in Abilene), Kendall (freshman at ACU), and Cason (3rd grade).
Favorite food: Low-country boil
Favorite TV show or movie: Wicked Tuna
Favorite scripture: Micah 6: 6-8 – “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Pet peeve: Use of the word “like”
Favorite season: Spring
Pick one – salad or dessert: Salad
Dream vacation spot: Bahamas
Early morning or late night person? Neither
To catch up with Duwain, you can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Facebook: Duwain Houston.