Davidson dismisses head coach Merritt

Monday, November 05, 2012

Courtesy Davidson Athletic Media Relations

DAVIDSON, N.C. – Tripp Merritt will be released from his contract as Davidson’s head football coach at the end of the season and has been relieved of his coaching responsibilities for the remaining two games, Director of Athletics Jim Murphy announced Monday.

Brett Hayford, who has been the associate head coach for the past eight years, will serve as the interim head coach until further notice.

Merritt was in his eighth season at the helm of the Wildcats, who are presently 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the Pioneer Football League. He guided the ‘Cats to a 31-51 record overall during his tenure to rank fifth all-time in coaching victories at Davidson.

“We very much appreciate Tripp’s dedication and commitment to our student-athletes and to Davidson College throughout his seven years as an assistant and eight years as head coach,” said Murphy.

Merritt held a 22-32 mark in PFL contests and was named the 2006 PFL Co-Coach of the Year, becoming the first Davidson bench boss to earn conference coach of the year honors since Homer Smith in 1969.

Merritt was in his second coaching stint at Davidson having served as an assistant for the ’Cats for seven years (1993-99). He served as defensive coordinator beginning in 1994, and the Wildcat defense ranked fourth among I-AA (now FCS) schools in total defense and second in scoring defense in 1998 as Davidson won eight games, then a school record.

Hayford, a 1993 graduate of Davidson, has served on the coaching staff the past 20 years and is also the defensive line coach.

Davidson next plays at Valparaiso on Saturday, and then concludes the season Saturday, Nov. 17 at home in Richardson Stadium against San Diego.