Merricks joins EHS Hall of Fame
He was the first baseball coach for the Bobcats and now Clarence Merricks joins the Eunice High Sports Hall of Fame.
According to Merricks, he was hired at EHS in the 1971-72 school year to fill an opening in math and science.
“I did not have the wildest dream that in the summer of 1972 I would be named assistant football coach under Joe Nagata and was named the head coach of the newly formed baseball team,” he said.
“John Burson was my assistant coach,” Merricks reflected. “We were able to taste some success even though we finished with a losing record.
“We made it to the semifinals in 1973 and lost to Morgan City – who won the state championship the next week.”
Merricks said the Bobcats had losing seasons in 1974 to 1976, but he and Coach Burson were hopeful things would change with the right combination of players.
“In 1977, we were able to add depth on the pitching staff and after that the Bobcats were very competitive,” he said of the team that advanced to the state quarterfinals.
“In the spring of 1979, the Bobcats were performing like a well-oiled machine,” the coach said. “With confidence and a battling spirit, the Bobcats against all odds won the Class 3-A state title.”
After winning three straight district titles, Eunice began its state championship run with a 4-0 win over Jonesboro Hodge.
The Bobcats earned a 7-4 win over Menard in the bi-district round and then downed Springhill 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
After 3-1 win over Denham Springs in semifinals, the Bobcats then earned a 4-3 thriller over Pineville in the state championship.
Merricks coached at EHS from 1973 to 1993 and finished with a 255-220 record.
Merricks was also an assistant football coach on the 1982 state title team.
Merricks went on to Opelousas High and Opelousas Catholic and helped the Vikings also have an outstanding baseball program.
Merricks, a J.S. Clark graduate, earned his bachelor’s degree from Grambling University.
He also obtained a Masters degree from Southern University.
He was named teacher of the year at both Eunice High and Opelousas Catholic, won numerous both district and parish coach of the year honors.
Merricks also received the Dr. Martin Luther King Award and was named the Alpha Man of the Year by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
He is lay minister of communion and a member of the choir of Holy Ghost Catholic Church.
Now retired, Merricks is married to JoAnn and they have one son.
“I could not have been successful in life without God surrounding me with a group of caring and faithful people,” he said.
“I have always respected him for his spiritual side, Eunice High head baseball coach Scott Phillips said of Merricks. “He was always a man of God first.
“He still goes and cooks for the church and feeds the needy.
“One thing I always admired in him is his work ethic,” Phillips said. “He always was working the field.
“I remember back in high school, Coach Moe would drag the field with his Volkswagen. “He is part of our Bobcat family forever.
“He was successful at Eunice High, Opelousas High and Opelousas Catholic and that was not by accident,” the coach said. “It was because he put his heart and soul into each one of those programs that he was the head coach.
“He was a great coach but I think he is a better man than a coach,” Phillips said.