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Eastern Washington University Basketball

Former Eastern Washington standout guard Brendon Merritt dies of heart attack

Brendon Merritt, left, averaged 11.1 points and 2.7 assists in 61 games for Eastern Washington in the early 2000s.  (JED CONKLIN/The Spokesman-Review)
By Dave Boling The Spokesman-Review

Brendon Merritt, a key contributor on the first Eastern Washington men’s basketball team to advance to the NCAA Tournament (2004), died of a heart attack last week, according to friends and social media accounts.

Merritt, 43, is survived by his wife, Erin, 1-year-old son, Brendon Jr., and step-son Brantley.

From the EWU men’s basketball social media account: “The Eagle family is saddened to learn of the passing of former men’s basketball guard Brendon Merritt. Brendon helped lead the team to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance after being named the 2004 Big Sky Tournament MVP. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”

Merritt graduated from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma and Tacoma Community College before spending his final two seasons at EWU.

Carl Howell, Merritt’s head coach at TCC and then assistant at EWU, said he received word of Merritt’s death on Thursday evening, when news arrived from a number of Merritt’s former teammates.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Howell said. “It’s hard for the people who loved him, of course.”

A Go-Fund-Me page has been set up for donations to Merritt’s family (

The post reads: “Brendon loved his family so much. Brendon was bigger than life and was a friend to hundreds. We hope you can all help him one last time for his baby boy and wife.”

A funeral service will be held on June 14 at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.