Assistant coach Austin Meyer had a bit of fun with his players on the Northwest Missouri State University men’s basketball team Monday morning.

Meyer has been a part of the Bearcats’ staff the past 10 years, including the last three as an associate head coach. He stepped away from that position Monday to become the new women’s coach at the university in Maryville, Missouri.

“I met with my guys,” said Meyer, a former Examiner Basketball Player of the Year and 2002 graduate of Blue Springs High School, “and told them I was leaving the program. But I told them I wasn’t leaving the campus. I was just moving down a couple of offices to become the women’s coach. I know they were all happy for me, and I’m thrilled to get a head coaching job at Northwest Missouri State, because this is my home.

“It’s been my home since 2002.”

He replaces Buck Scheel, who resigned as the women’s coach on March 5 after two-plus seasons at the helm. The Lady Bearcats finished the season with a 5-22 overall record and 4-15 mark in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association mark.

“We have some talented players coming back off this year’s team (including MIAA co-Freshman of the Year Jaelyn Haggard),” Meyer said, “and we’re excited about getting started on the recruiting process. We offer so much at Northwest, and I’m excited to talk to our recruits about the prospect of joining our program.”

Meyer is happy to have a chance to be a head coach, though he is leaving the men’s program that won the 2016-17 NCAA Division II national title.

“I’ve had some head coaching opportunities,” Meyer said, “but I didn’t want to leave Northwest. The culture, the support of the community, those are two things you can’t find at every university. When the women’s position opened up, and I was offered the chance to become a head coach, I couldn’t turn it down.

“This is a new chapter in my family’s life and I am very excited.”

While Meyer has enjoyed every type of accolades and success at the MIAA collegiate level, he said his greatest moment will take place in August when his wife Kelsi is expecting the couple’s first child.

“Our first child, and it was great timing because our baby is due after the season is over,” Meyer said. “I am beyond excited. I can’t wait to be a father. So many great things have happened to me since I got here 15 years ago, and being a father is the most exciting! When the season is over, being a father will be my No. 1 focus, and I can’t wait.”

Meyer was a four-year letter winner for the Bearcat men's basketball team from 2002-06. He scored 1,294 career points and held the Northwest career record with 215 3-pointers.

He graduated from Northwest with his bachelor's degree in corporate recreation in 2006 and earned his master's in physical education in 2008. He served as a graduate assistant on Steve Tappmeyer's staff for two seasons before being promoted to assistant coach prior to the 2008-09 season.

With Meyer on the bench as a full-time coach with, the Northwest men have won 215 games (21.5 wins per season average), captured six MIAA regular season titles, four MIAA Tournament titles and one national championship.

Meyer served as the men's program's lead recruiter. His other duties included organizing and running the Center Court Cat Club, organizing and presenting opponent scouting reports, coordinating official visits, coordinating team travel, community engagements, summer camps, social media, skill development and more.

“I wish I had more time to visit,” Meyer said, “but I need to get a hold of some of our recruits. I always wondered what it would be like to be the head coach, and now I know. It’s so exciting.”