Hall of Fame basketball standout Herbie Merritt passes away at 79

Hall of Fame basketball standout Herbie Merritt passes away at 79

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Tennessee Tech basketball standout Herbie Merritt, a member of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame, died Saturday at the age of 79.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday from the chapel of Whitson Funeral Home with burial at Smyrna Cemetary. The family will receive friends Monday from 5-9 p.m. at Whitson Funeral home in Cookeville, and Tuesday after 7 a.m.

Merritt was inducted into the TTU Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, a tribute to his standout basketball career for the Golden Eagles between 1953 and 1958. He was an 11th round NBA Draft pick in 1958 by the Detroit Pistons, the 76th player taken overall. One of just five players in school history to average a double-double for his career, he ranked sixth in the Tech record book in rebounding with 834 and 22nd in scoring with 1,168 points in 88 career games.

With Merritt manning the middle of the lineup, the Golden Eagles captured the 1955-56 and 1957-58 Ohio Valley Conference Championships. He was chosen first-team all-OVC as a senior.

He was a counselor for the Plateau Mental Health Center. He is survived by a son, Bert Merritt of Cookeville; daughter, Lynn Huggins of Brentwood, Tenn.; brother, Albert E. Merritt; sisters, Elizabeth Ann Taylor and Mildred Greer; grandchildren, Shelby Merritt, Sarrah Marritt, Shailee G. Merritt, Leigh Ann Weaver, Bryan Huggins and Matthew Huggins; great grandchildren, Aubrey Weaver and Sidney Weaver.