Heiar taps Brian Merritt as assistant coach

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LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – It seems like every day the Aggies are getting stronger and stronger. Today they took another step in the right direction with the addition of Brian Merritt.
The head coach Greg Heier announced Saturday afternoon that Merritt would join Aggie’s team as an assistant coach.

“I’m happy to announce that Brian will be the next member of my team,” said Coach Heiar. “I’ve known him for over 15 years and what stands out about Brian is his passion, his competitiveness, his energy and his love for the game of basketball.”

Merritt is a widely traveled instructor who has made stops in seven different states in addition to coaching in Guam. He will make New Mexico the eighth state on his resume after spending the previous three seasons on staff at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Merritt is considered a “jack of all trades” and got his start in college basketball traveling thousands of miles to camps along the East Coast.

“He is a relationship builder and has strong contacts across the country, Heiar continued. “His personality along with his work ethic and basketball IQ will allow him to continue to build on those relationships and help us continue the winning tradition here in New Mexico State. Brian is what I ‘calls a ‘Shot Doctor’ and a ‘Gym Rat’.”

The Aggies’ newest assistant officially began his coaching career under a brilliant basketball mind in Rick Pitino as he served as a Louisville graduate assistant in 2003-05 before becoming the Cardinals’ chief operating officer. Merritt’s career with Louisville was highlighted by the 2004-05 season when he was instrumental in helping the Cardinals reach the Final Four, finishing the season with a 33-5 overall record.

This path led Merritt to Hampton University in Virginia where he got his first assistant coaching job. Merritt served as staff coach for one season and helped lead the Pirates to a 15-15 overall record and 10-8 record in MEAC play.

Merritt’s next chapter in his coaching book would take place in South Texas as he coached at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi from 2007-2010. With the Islanders, Merritt had back-to-back winning seasons during his last two years.

The St. Mary’s County, Maryland native also spent a year at Arizona State where he was named Sun Devils assistant coach in Bobby Hurley’s freshman season.

Merritt’s next stop gave Merritt the chance to share a bench with leader Aggie Greg Heier as the pair spent time on staff at LSU during the 2017-18 season. Heiar was one of the Tigers’ assistant coaches while Merritt was the basketball operations coordinator.

The LSU roster that Heiar and Merritt trained in side-by-side included eight players who went on to play professionally, including current NBA players Tremont Waters (Boston Celtics) and Skylar Mays (Atlanta Hawks). The 2017-18 LSU Tiger team also included former Aggie mayan kiir who played for the Aggies in 2020-21.

Prior to becoming an assistant coach at Morgan State, Merritt served as a recruiting/recruiting manager for John Lucas Enterprises. During his time at John Lucas Enterprises in Houston, Merritt helped establish the former NBA star’s development camps and attended the National Basketball Players Association’s Top 100 Camp.

In his final leg, Merritt helped Morgan State to 51 wins, including leading the Bears to the 2021 MEAC Tournament Championship Game.

Merritt also played two seasons of college basketball. He played his first season at Butler (Pennsylvania) Community College and as an extra at Towson University. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management in 2003 from Towson.

Heiar concluded by saying, “Aggie Nation, welcome Brian Merritt to our Aggie family! #AggieUp.”

For comprehensive coverage of NM State men’s basketball as the Aggies prepare for the first year under Heiar and his team in 2022-23, visit NMStateSports.com – the official home of Aggie athletics – and follow the Aggies on Facebook (NM State Men’s Basketball), Twitter (@NMStateMBB) and Instagram (@NMStateMBB).

 

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