Jason Eaker was promoted to the role of Assistant Coach for the Mercer men’s basketball program in 2015 following seven years as a full-time NCAA Division I assistant.
“I have known Jason since I recruited him at Oklahoma Baptist,’ said Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman. ‘He is a hard worker that understands the game at a high level and makes our guys better in every individual workout because he accepts nothing but the best. That is what we strive to do as a program and he will embody that as an assistant, so we are excited to have him as a part of the program.”
Prior to the 2015-16 season – in which he helped lead Mercer to a 19-15 record and its fifth straight postseason appearance – Eaker spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant for the Bears, helping Mercer put together 46 victories in that time including 27 wins during the program’s record-breaking 2013-14 campaign. A 13-year veteran of the collegiate basketball coaching ranks, Eaker assisted in Mercer’s player development and scouting efforts.
During his time at Mercer, he helped oversee the development of Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Langston Hall and A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Daniel Coursey as well as all-conference performers Darious Moten, Ike Nwamu and Anthony White, Jr.
Eaker came to Mercer following a seven-year stint at Liberty, where he helped the Flames to one of the best stretches in program history including the first NCAA Tournament appearance (2013) in over a decade.
He was instrumental in the recruitment and development of a talented group of players during that time, most notably 2009 Big South Freshman of the Year Seth Curry, 2012 Big South Player of the Year and All-American Jesse Sanders and 2013 Big South Tournament MVP Davon Marshall.
Prior to his time at Liberty, Eaker enjoyed a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma, helping the Sooners to a 45-17 record, the program’s first Big XII championship and a top-five recruiting class.
He also previously worked for Hoffman at Texas Pan American, serving as the video coordinator during the 2003-04 campaign.
Recruited by Hoffman at Oklahoma Baptist, Eaker finished his collegiate career at Hardin Simmons University. A two-year starter for the Cowboys, he earned a pair of academic all-conference honors while also garnering All-American Southwest Conference accolades in 2002-03.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Pan American in 2004 and a master’s degree in higher education leadership from Mercer in 2015.
Eaker resides in Macon with his wife, the former Meredith Hollyfield.
Jarred Merrill enters his second year on the Mercer men’s basketball staff after helping lead the Bears to a 19-15 overall record and their fifth straight postseason tournament appearance in the 2015-16 season.
Merrill arrived in Macon with a diverse resume that included three seasons as an assistant coach and seven years of professional basketball experience.
“Jarred played two years for me with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA D-League and is a very talented young man,” said Mercer head coach Bob Hoffman. “He has great experience at different levels of the pro ranks, which he will be able to bring to recruiting and individual workouts with our guys. His demeanor and attitude about the game will be tremendous for our program and we are thrilled to have him join our staff.”
Merrill spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Southern Nazarene, where he helped guide the Crimson Storm to a third-place finish at the 2014 National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Tournament. During his time at Southern Nazarene, Merrill also oversaw the development of 2014-15 All-Great American Conference selection and 2013-14 GAC Newcomer of the Year, LB Willis.
The 2005 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Player of the Year native starred at Oklahoma Christian, where he holds the all-time scoring record (2,189 points) and ranks second on the school’s all-time rebounding list with 1,120 career boards.
Merrill also set school records for single-season scoring (821 points), free throws made (259) and attempted (311), while owning the top marks in career field goals attempted (1,487) as well career free throws made (650) and attempted (795). He also shares the school record for career double-doubles with 59.
After his career at Oklahoma Christian, Merrill enjoyed a seven-year professional career with stops in Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Spain and South Korea. A member of the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Fame, Merrill also played professionally in the NBA D-League, the American Basketball Association and the United States Basketball League.
A native of Abilene, Texas and coach at Oklahoma City power Bishop McGuiness High School, he earned a master’s degree in management from Southern Nazarene in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian in 2005.
Jarred and his wife Candace have two children, a daughter, Jaya, and a son, Mannix.