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UDC selects new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

January 23, 2006

Washington, D.C. — The University of the District of Columbia has appointed Harold M. Merritt, Ed.D, as the new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Dr. Merritt will join the staff of the only public university in the nation’s capital in February following seven years of service as the Director of Athletics, Intramurals, and Athletic Facilities at the College of Staten Island (CSI) in New York City.

Dr. Harold Merritt

“We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Dr. Merritt to the Firebird Country,” said Dr. William L. Pollard, President of the University of the District of Columbia. “He has the solid credentials and impeccable record of service that make him well-suited to assume the leadership of our athletics program.”

Dr. Merritt is scheduled to assume leadership of the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in February. He will replace Dr. Kelly J. Higgins, who has served as Interim Director since November of 2004. Dr. Merritt has a distinguished career in the management of athletics. Prior to his post at CSI, he served as Director/Assistant Director and Youth Sports Program Executive Director for the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of Houston, Texas. He has also coached men’s basketball on the intercollegiate level at Northern Arizona University, Morris Brown College, California State College – Long Beach and University of New Orleans, holding the head coach position at Northern Arizona and Morris Brown.

As Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Merritt will be responsible for, among other duties, the management of the day-to-day operations of the University’s Athletic Department, which includes Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Cross-Country, Men's and Women's Soccer, Men's and Women's Tennis and Women's Volleyball and other athletics programs.

“We see Dr. Merritt as an educator - a teacher,” said Dr. Clemmie Solomon, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University. “Someone who's going to emphasize academics before athletics and who will put learning first. We wanted to move in the direction of a high-caliber, experienced athletic director, and Dr. Merritt fits that role. He has a doctorate with an emphasis on sports management. We're getting an educational leader with excellent credentials.”

Dr. Merritt’s qualifications are extensive and impressive. While heading the sports program at CSI, Dr. Merritt built an impressive record of accomplishments. CSI Teams won 23 City University of New York Championships during his tenure while earning 13 East Coast Athletic Conference and six NCAA Tournament berths in a variety of sports. A native of Harlem, he spearheaded the development of the Men of Color Action Group at CSI, and has been an adjunct lecturer in History of the African American Athlete.

"It's been a great, seven-year run,” said Dr. Merritt in reflection of his tenure at CSI. “I was lucky enough to work with a wonderful staff and a great bunch of student-athletes and I hope that I have left a positive mark on the department during my tenure. This opportunity at the University of the District of Columbia is one that I am excited about."



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