news-category: Athletics

Gardner-Webb Hires Jeffrey Merrill as Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance

New Officer Brings a Decade of Experience to the Position

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University has hired Jeffrey Merrill as its new assistant athletic director for compliance, announced Vice President & Director of Athletics Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich this week. Merrill joins Gardner-Webb after 10 years at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., where he most recently served as deputy director of Athletics and chief compliance officer.

“In this era of ever-changing NCAA rules, having an incredibly confident, competent, and hard-working compliance officer can truly elevate the experience for our student-athletes and coaching staff,” explained Goodrich. “I am incredibly excited to welcome Jeffrey to the Runnin’ Bulldog family.”

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs also praised Merrill’s knowledge of the job. “Jeffrey knows and understands the terrain of collegiate athletics, and he fully appreciates the imperative of fielding teams that abide by both the spirit and letter of NCAA regulations,” Downs observed. “He’s guided coaches and players for years, he’s taught it in the college classroom, and he’s partnered effectively with university leaders to ensure that winning is done the right way. Add to all of this that he exudes a passion and joy for his work, and Jeffrey Merrill presents himself as a terrific match for GWU.”     

Jeffrey Merrill

Merrill thanked Downs and Goodrich for the opportunity to join the Gardner-Webb community. “I’m excited to assist Gardner-Webb Athletics on their journey of achieving academic and athletic excellence,” Merrill shared. “For the first time, but most certainly not the last, ‘Sko Dawgs!”

Merrill was elevated to his current role at Lees McRae in 2022. In addition to oversight of the department’s compliance efforts, Merrill’s responsibilities included game administration at home competitions, managing the media room schedule, completing the annual NCAA reports, and monitoring the academic success of Lees-McRae’s 300+ student-athletes.

Merrill joined Lees-McRae in 2014 as the director of compliance and Title IX coordinator. He was promoted to assistant athletic director in 2018, a role he held until his most recent promotion, and has continued to serve as Title IX coordinator throughout his tenure. In 2019, Merrill became an adjunct professor in the school’s sport management program.

A member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), and both the Early Intervention Team for Student Academic Success and the Staff Association Bylaw Committee at Lees-McRae, Merrill has participated in numerous workshops including the NCAA Leadership Development Program and the BB&T Leadership Development Program. Merrill also received the Edgar Tufts Humanitarian Award in 2021 and was presented with the Bridge Builder Award by Lees-McRae in 2015-16.

Merrill is a 2012 cum laude graduate of Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. He completed his master’s degree in college athletic administration in 2017 from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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