Home Featured News How family became the foundation for Sally Merrill’s legacy at GRCC

How family became the foundation for Sally Merrill’s legacy at GRCC

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Sophmore #20 Sally Merrill prepares to run a play vs. Muskegon Community College (Alena Visnovsky/The Collegiate).

By Kevin Lopez

For Sally Merrill, family has always been the most important thing in her life. With her father being a varsity basketball coach and helping her grow her game, and her mother encouraging her to work hard in everything she does, it has helped Sally build a legacy here at GRCC.

The Merrill family hometown is Allegan, while Sally went to Hamilton High School. Her parents Rob and Jennie Merrill attended all of GRCC’s home games this year.

“Our family is very close and supporting Sally and the team is very important to us,” said Jennie. “It’s been a fun season and we’ve grown close to a lot of the other parents.”

Her parents have been there for her in every way possible to support and encourage Sally to keep getting better and to always give it your all, but of course they knew her potential and already had envisioned her future with basketball.

“When she was in the second grade she went to a basketball camp and her dad said to me that he knew she was going to be a good player,” Jennie said.

All the support she received from her family during her youth is paying off now, as she is leading the team in scoring with 17.1 points, while also being second in rebounds with 7.4 and has led GRCC to win the Great Lakes B Tournament Championship and being named MVP of the tournament averaging 21 points a game..

Despite all the success that Sally has accomplished as of late, she is more than just a basketball player. Although, it has helped mold how she goes about her education and her own ambitions. 

Merrill is an avid reader of romance novels, loves to hike, wakeboarding, and hanging out with friends and family.

Her major goals in life are to get a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology, to one day become a mother, and to become a basketball coach and inspire young girls that basketball is not just a male sport.

However, her family has always been the number one focus in her life, as seeing how supportive her mother is in her life, that is the reason why she wants to be a mother. So, she can be just as supportive to her children as her parents were to her.

“I am very close with my family,” said Sally, a sophomore forward on Grand Rapids Community College’s women’s basketball team. “I grew up watching my dad coach and playing basketball in a rec league or out in my driveway.”

Basketball has been such a big part of Sally’s life that she even recalls memories of her father’s players from the team he coached babysitting her and even picking her up from school.

With her dad being a coach in basketball, it definitely helped fuel the fire for her passion for the sport and allowed her opportunities to sharpen her skills from a young age.

With all that pushing her and making her better throughout the years, it has led to this very moment in her life. Her devotion and passion for basketball hasn’t gone unnoticed by her peers as GRCC’s head coach Dave Glazier was very complimentary of her skills and mentality.

“I think Sally impacts the team through her actions,” Glazier said. “She works hard on her game and her performances have shown that dedication. Those performances have been an important part of our team’s success.”

Sophmore #20 Sally Merrill at the free throw line vs. Kirtland Community College (Alena Visnovsky/The Collegiate).

Assistant coach Michael Glass agreed with Glazier on Sally’s impact on the team.

“Sally is a leader on the court,” Glass said. “She is aggressive on offense and the point in our defense.”

Also her teammates such as Marlene Bussler, a sophomore guard, have embraced her leadership and value her impact on and off the court.

“Sally is one of our captains, and she has a very positive impact on our offense,” Bussler said. “Now that we’re roommates I’d say I’ve enjoyed spending more time with her outside of basketball and I’m excited to see where we end up.”

Sally also wants to leave behind a strong legacy at GRCC, especially after winning the Great Lakes B tournament championship and being awarded the MVP.

“I want my legacy at GRCC to show people how much JUCO can help you grow and develop as a player and grow your role and overall abilities on the floor,” Merrill said.

She also hopes to inspire other girls from her high school that they will want to follow in her footsteps and come play for GRCC.

As for right now, Sally Merrill is letting everything take its course and just looking to take life one day at a time.

“No idea what’s next for me in life,” Merrill said. “I’m just taking life day-by-day and letting things just flow.”

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