Davidson College fires football coach Merritt

DAVIDSON – Davidson College fired football coach Tripp Merritt Nov. 5, with two games remaining in a dismal 1-8 season.

Brett Hayford, the associate head coach for the past eight years, took over as interim coach. Davidson, 1-5 in Pioneer Football League games, lost 49-14 to Morehead State on Nov. 3. Merritt was in his eighth season as Davidson’s coach and had a 31-51 record in that span.

“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,” Davidson Director of Athletics Jim Murphy said.

Merritt had a 22-32 record in PFL games and was named the 2006 PFL?Co-Coach of the Year, becoming the first Davidson coach 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 from 1993-99. Hayford, a 1993 Davidson graduate, is the defensive line coach and has been on the coaching staff 20 years.

Davidson next plays at Valparaiso Nov. 10 and will conclude the season Nov. 17 at home against San Diego.

Curry, Golden State agree to $44 million contract extension

Former Davidson College basketball star Stephen Curry signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors on Oct. 31.

Curry, 24, was limited to 28 games (of 82) last season because of ankle injuries. He had surgery in the offseason.

Curry, who starred at Charlotte Christian in high school, in 2008 led Davidson to its first NCAA tournament victories since 1969.

Curry led the nation in scoring as a junior (28.6 scoring average) and left as the school’s career scoring leader (2,488 points). He bypassed his senior year and was picked up in the first round (No. 7 overall) of the NBA Draft by Golden State. Curry, in his fourth NBA season, has a 17.5-point scoring average as a professional.

Hough, North Mecklenburg have fast start in soccer playoffs

CORNELIUS – Hough High and North Mecklenburg High’s boys soccer teams each won in the first two rounds of the N.C. 4A playoffs.

Hough beat West Mecklenburg 4-0 Nov. 3 in the second round on goals by Michael Basnett, Blake Marin, Jayson Howard and Michael Dunn. Howard had two assists, and Zac Gallo and Basnett had one each. Hough’s Brendan Vanselous was in net for the shutout. Hough improved to 13-6-2 and was scheduled to host Watauga in the third round Nov. 7.

In the first round, Hough beat Winston-Salem Glenn 5-1 Oct. 31 on two goals by James Jackson and one each by Clay Kennedy, Landon Moss and Basnett.

North Mecklenburg beat Lake Norman 2-1 in a second-round playoff Nov. 3. Sven Wesel and Seth Ewing-Hendricks scored for the Vikings, who improved to 12-7-4. North Mecklenburg shut out Garinger 2-0 in the first round Oct. 31.

North Mecklenburg was scheduled to play its third-round match at Skyland Roberson (22-2) at 7 p.m. Nov. 7.

Register for youth basketball events

HUNTERSVILLE – The Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with the National Basketball Academy and Charlotte Bobcats to offer:

• The Rufus Mini Dribblers Clinic, a five-week (one hour per session) instructional program for kids in kindergarten through third grade beginning Nov. 18. Each child will receive a Bobcats T-shirt, headband, basketball and a ticket to a Bobcats home game. The children also will join Rufus Lynx (the Bobcats’ mascot) to perform at a Bobcats home game.

• The Future Cats three-day holiday clinic Dec. 26-28 will keep basketball skills sharp during the holidays.  Every person who registers will receive a ticket to a Charlotte Bobcats home game.

• The National Basketball Academy will hold tryouts Nov. 17 at the David Waymer Center in Huntersville for its’ AAU program for kids in grades 4-9.

For information, call the Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department at 704-766-2220.

SouthLake Christian to host charity run/walk

HUNTERSVILLE – SouthLake Christian will hold its first 5K Fun Run/Walk For Missions Outreach on Feb. 23. The race will begin at 8:45 a.m. at SouthLake Christian. Proceeds will go to Missions Outreach, a charitable program within SCLA that teaches students the value of community service and raises money to help those in need (www.southlakechristian.org/missions/missions-philosophy.html).

Race registration is online only at www.queencitytiming.com/search/event.aspx?id=15979. The entry fee costs $20 before Dec. 31, $30 before Jan. 31 and $35 before Feb. 9. For information, visit www.southlakeeagles.org/sportsnews. Registration must be made prior to the day of the race.

– compiled by Cliff Mehrtens