John Merritt Appointed Head Football Coach

John Merritt Appointed Head Football Coach
Debbie Higgins

On April 20, 2022, De Smet Jesuit announced the appointment of John Merritt as Head Football Coach. Mr. Merritt will also join De Smet’s social studies department faculty.

Mr. Merritt comes to De Smet Jesuit from John Burroughs School, where he has served as Head Football Coach since 2013, a member of the social studies department faculty since 2011, and an Assistant Track and Field Coach since 2011. In 2015, he led the Bombers to the Missouri Class 3 Football State Championship. That same year, he earned Coach of the Year accolades from four different organizations: the National Football Foundation-St. Louis Chapter; Missouri Statewide Media; Missouri Football Coaches Association; and St. Louis Football Coaches Association. He also received the Excellence in Coaching Award from the St. Louis Football Coaches Association for three consecutive years, from 2013-2015. He has guided 55 student-athletes through the college recruitment process during his tenure at Burroughs.

“Teaching and learning are vital parts of my life. I am an educator. My platforms of choice are the social studies classroom and the football field,” Mr. Merritt said. “The Xs and Os are fun, but I am actually about relationships, education, human interaction, and commitment to others and self.  Those are the lessons that I try to teach daily.”

Mr. Merritt’s 27-year career as an educator and coach also includes administrative experience as Dean of Students for Crossroads College Preparatory School and Belleville Junior High School, and as Principal for Abraham Lincoln School. His nonprofit leadership experience includes seven years as a board member for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and Site Director of Aim High St. Louis.

Mr. Merritt earned his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis with concentrations in history, education, African Studies, and African American Studies.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Merritt to De Smet Jesuit,” said Kevin Poelker, Principal. “He is a gifted coach and educator who has dedicated his career to the formation of young people on and off the field.” 

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