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Friday, June 24, 2005

Davidson names Guy "Tripp" Merritt as the college's 26th head football coach

DAVIDSON, N.C. - Davidson Athletics Director Jim Murphy introduced Guy "Tripp" Merritt as the college's 26th head coach at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. A native of Shelby, N.C., and product of Burns High School, Merritt, 37, is returning to his roots as he served as an assistant coach at Davidson for seven seasons (1993-99).

"Tripp Merritt has the qualities of a leader we believe are important to success at Davidson - an understanding of and commitment to the Davidson culture, a high level of energy and enthusiasm, and a history of success," said Murphy. "We welcome him back to Davidson."

During his first tour of duty at Davidson, Merritt served former head coach Tim Landis in a variety of roles, from secondary coach to linebackers coach and defensive coordinator. His defensive unit ranked first nationally in pass efficiency defense, second in scoring defense and fourth in total defense among I-AA schools in 1998, and 13th in rushing defense the following season.

Merritt also served as the recruiting coordinator in his final years at Davidson, and oversaw the influx of talent that helped the Wildcats achieve their greatest five-year stretch in over 100 years of football. The 1998 squad set a school record with eight victories, which was equaled in 1999, Merritt's last year at Davidson. In 2000, the 'Cats recorded the first and only perfect campaign with a 10-0 mark, before going 5-4 in 2001 and 7-3 in 2002.

"This is a homecoming of sorts for me," Merritt stated. "I am very excited to be back at Davidson College and in my home state. There is a lot of work to do to get back to where we need to be, and I can guarantee that I will put everything I have into this program."

When Landis took the head-coaching job at St. Mary's (Calif.) in 2000, Merritt joined him as the recruiting coordinator, and as the linebackers coach for two seasons, then assistant head coach and offensive line coach. After three years out West, the duo moved on to Bucknell University where Merritt served as the associate head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for the past two years.

The 1990 graduate of UNC Charlotte began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Garinger High School in 1990, then moved on to be a graduate assistant at Western Carolina for two years before being hired at Davidson. At Burns High, Merritt was a three-year letterman in both football and baseball.

Fact Sheet on Davidson Football Head Coach Tripp Merritt

Full name: Guy William Merritt III
Hometown: Shelby, N.C.
Born: March 5, 1968
High School: Burns '86
College: UNC Charlotte '90, bachelor of arts in history, minor in geography
Graduate School: Western Carolina, completed 27 hours in Educational Administration

Coaching Career

Bucknell University (2003-04)
• Associate Head Coach
• Defensive Coordinator - 12th nationally in turnovers in 2003, second in the Patriot League
in rushing defense in 2004
• Linebackers Coach - coached two-time All-Patriot League linebacker Kevin Ransome
• Recruiting Coordinator

Saint Mary's (Calif.) College (2000-02)
• Assistant Head Coach
• Linebackers Coach - 12th nationally in turnovers in 2000
• Offensive Line Coach - fourth nationally in rushing offense in 2002
• Recruiting Coordinator

Davidson College (1993-99)
• Defensive Coordinator - fourth nationally in total defense in 1998, 13th nationally in
rushing defense in 1999
• Linebackers Coach - second nationally in scoring defense and first nationally in
pass efficiency defense in 1998
• Secondary Coach - fourth nationally in total defense in 1994
• Recruiting Coordinator

Western Carolina (1991-92)
• Graduate Assistant Coach - outside linebackers, assistant secondary, video coordinator

Garinger High School (1990)
• Assistant Secondary Coach - co-champions of Southwestern 4A Conference


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