Published: Jul 12, 2006 01:18 PM
Modified: Jul 12, 2006 01:18 PM
Gary Merrill, one of the state's most successful high school football coaches, and Andy Wheeler, a former championship basketball coach, will be going to new Wake County high schools in the fall.
Merrill, who compiled a 102-21 record in 10 years at Northern Durham High, is the new football coach at Panther Creek.
Wheeler, a championship coach at Bunn, is leaving his position as athletics director at Wilmington Ashley High to become the athletics director at Holly Springs High.
Both schools open in August.
"We've hit a home run," said Rodney Nelson, the Panther Creek principal. "To attract a coach of his stature to a new school is remarkable."
Merrill said starting a program from scratch had a lot of appeal for him.
"I'm very excited," he said. "I've done the other thing [inheriting a solid program and maintaining it.] But this is a challenge. I like this challenge."
Merrill will be rejoining with Tommy Parker, who recently was named Panther Creek's athletics director.
Parker had been athletics director at Northern Durham and has coached with Merrill in the past.
Wheeler, the new Holly Springs athletics director, had a 172-49 record in eight years at Bunn.
He later coached basketball at New Hanover High for five years and was athletics director there for two more years.
He was the first athletics director at Wilmington's Ashley High.
"Wilmington is a great place to live, but it will be good to get back home closer to my family," Wheeler said. "I know there is tremendous excitement in opening a new school in Holly Springs and I am excited to be a part of it."
Wheeler is a native of Franklin County and played basketball at Youngsville High.
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