New Mexico State names Merritt as new Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach

 It seems like every day, the Aggies get stronger and stronger. Today, they took another step in the right direction with the addition of Brian Merritt.
Head Coach Greg Heiar announced Saturday afternoon that Merritt will be joining the Aggie staff as an assistant coach.

“I am happy to announce Brian as the next member of my staff,” said Coach Heiar. “I’ve known him for 15-plus years and what stands out about Brian is his passion, competitiveness, energy and love for the game of basketball.”

Merritt is a well-traveled instructor who has made stops in seven different states in addition to a coaching stint 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, Md.

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

“He is a relationship builder and has strong contacts all over 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 will help us continue the winning tradition here at New Mexico State. Brian is what I call a ‘Shot Doctor’ and a ‘Gym Rat’.”

The Aggies’ newest assistant officially started his coaching career under a brilliant basketball mind in Rick Pitino as he served as Louisville’s Graduate Assistant in 2003-05 before becoming the Cardinals’ Director of Operations. Merritt’s career with Louisville was highlighted by the 2004-05 season when he played a role in helping the Cardinals reach the Final Four, finishing the season with an overall record of 33-5.

This path led Merritt to Hampton University in Virginia where he earned his first assistant coaching position. Merritt coached on the staff for one season and helped lead the Pirates to a 15-15 overall record and a 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 2007-10. With the Islanders, Merritt was a part of back-to-back winning seasons in his final two years.

The St. Mary’s County, Md., native also spent a year at Arizona State where he was tagged as an assistant coach for the Sun Devils in Bobby Hurley’s debut season.

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

The LSU roster in which Heiar and Merritt coached alongside one another featured eight players that 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.

Before making the transition to assistant coach at Morgan State, Merritt served as Director of Scouting/Recruiting for John Lucas Enterprises. In his stint at John Lucas Enterprises in Houston, Merritt helped establish the former NBA star’s development camps and assisted in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp.

At his last stop, Merritt helped Morgan State collect 51 victories, including leading the Bears to the championship game in the 2021 MEAC Tournament.

Merritt also played two seasons of basketball in college. He played his first season at Butler (Pa.) Community College and as a walk-on at Towson University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sports management in 2003 from Towson.

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

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