Josh Merrill

ROBERT MAGOBET

One of Neosho County Community College’s baseball coaches will now add the role of the college’s sports information director.

Last week, the NCCC Board of Trustees approving the hiring of assistant baseball coach Josh Merrill as the new SID. His official start date for the position will be Aug.17, though Merrill will be updating the school’s website here and there prior to that.

Merrill, who has been a paid assistant baseball coach for the Panthers since 2019, said he is grateful for the opportunity.

“I’ll be the assistant baseball coach and the sports information director, so I’m doing both, so I’m excited for the opportunity to be able to do both,” Merrill said. “I’m very excited. Last year, I worked in housing and it was at the school but it was in a different department. It didn’t take away from the athletic side, but it was kind of like I was doing stuff for athletics and for a different department, so it was nice to be solely in athletics this year. I have some writing skills. I’ve done some stuff. So it kind of allows me to use my skills and a skill set (to do) things I enjoy when it comes to being around athletics all the time. It’s mainly to stay on the athletic side. Everybody has their passions in life and mine is definitely in athletics.”

With the housing department in his rearview mirror, Merrill, 28, will now focus his attention on overseeing the Panthers’ website, being a liaison to media, and ensuring there is a livestream setup for fans to see live-action games in a COVID-19 world.

Earlier this month, the NJCAA Presidential Advisory Council and the NJCAA Board of Regents announced an adjusted plan of action for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year after a vote to push the majority of JuCo competition to the spring semester. Merrill said with the world changing on a day-to-day basis because of the coronavirus, he is expecting the livestream to be a significant development for fans to watch Panther action.

“Things have been changing daily, but I’m assuming that’s what’s going to happen because pro sports are doing it. I would imagine everything is going to follow,” Merrill said. “I don’t think there has been ‘This is a 100 percent what’s going to happen,’ but livestreaming is going to be more important this year because of the precedent set by everyone else, trying to keep everyone safe. So we may very well have fans in the stands, but we are preparing that if we don’t, people will be able to see games through livestream.”

Marisa Compton, the now-head coach of the volleyball team, previously held the SID position and Merrill said he will refer to her as a resource about the ins and outs of the job.

Compton was the SID for the last four years. The very first SID was former NCCC athletic director Mike Saddler, who was with Panther nation for nine years, but has been Colby Community College’s AD since May of 2018. When Saddler took over the AD job, Compton and Saddler split SID duties before she took over the responsibilities.

But there was already a plan in place that if Compton ever became a head coach, she would relinquish her SID role.

“We had an agreement that if I ever became head coach, that I would hand over my SID duties, because I felt that I wouldn’t be able to give the job the attention it deserves,” Compton said.

Merrill, meanwhile, is preparing for his official start date as the SID. The Wichita native was recruited as a two-way player and pitched for the Panthers 2011 to 2013. He was a part of the 2012 NJCAA Region 6 Championship and the 2013 NJCAA Central District Championship teams before attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2013. He would eventually graduate from King University in 2014.

The 2013 Academic All-American went on to coach the Wichita Sluggers for three summers and at Bonner Springs High School. After his high school coaching stint, Merrill said it was time for him to come full circle and coach where he began collegiate baseball. 

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