Nick Merullo has been named the new baseball coach at Guilford, the school announced in a release on Wednesday afternoon.
For the last five seasons Merullo was an assistant coach at Hand, where he starred in both baseball and football. Merullo went on to play at James Madison University.
“When I saw the opening, it was hard not to jump at the opportunity,” Merullo said. “Guilford is a baseball-rich town, one of the better teams around when I was playing.”
Merullo, 28 years old about to turn 29 later this month, also briefly played in the Baltimore Orioles’ minor league system.
Merullo’s dad, Matt, played at Fairfield Prep and the University of North Carolina before being drafted by the Chicago White Sox. He played for them, the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins over six seasons. His grandfather and great grandfather also played professional baseball.
“When you talk about people being born into the game, I was born during spring training when my dad was with the White Sox,” Merullo said.
Merullo said he loved the game of baseball since he was born and when he was a kid, he wouldn’t just set up a whiffle ball game in the neighborhood, he would make sure that every kid had a uniform to wear. He added that during school he would write out fake lineups for his little league team.
“Coaching was natural to give back to (a) game after it’s given so much to me,” he said. “It’s kind of come full circle, I get to write lineup cards that mean something.”
He credits Hand coach Travis LaPointe for helping him be ready to take over his own program. He said that LaPointe gave him the opportunity to take on more responsibility, which made him feel like he was ready to make the jump to be a head coach.
Merullo said that he hopes to make baseball fun for his players and teach them valuable lessons through the game.
“I think that’s the ultimate goal to me,” he said. “Get a little bit better every day and a byproduct of that, we will compete at a high level.
“It’s not (a program) you have to rebuild. They have been a successful program for a long time.”
Merullo replaces Brian Hayden, who coached the program for eight seasons, not including 2020, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hayden is now an assistant baseball coach at Southern Connecticut State University, his alma mater.
“Coach Merullo brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for the game of baseball,” Guilford athletic director Jake Jarvis said in a statement. “I am excited for Nick to take over leadership of our baseball program. He believes baseball is a great avenue to teach student athletes valuable life lessons. Our baseball program is fortunate to have him as our new head baseball coach.”