Bryan Merritt, who coached the Chickasha boys basketball team to the state semifinals last spring, has officially resigned his position to take the head coaching job at Norman North.
The Norman North school board offered Merritt the job on June 3 and Chickasha's Board of Education accepted his resignation earlier this week to make the deal official.
The chance to coach a large program like Norman North was something he had to take, Merritt said.
"When you get an opportunity like that, you've got to jump at it," Merritt said. "It's a great opportunity for both myself and my family. I loved my time at Chickasha, and this decision has nothing to do with the town or the team that I had."
There is no indication as to who Merritt's successor will be. He said while he did talk to Athletic Director Yohance Brown about his decision to leave, he will not be involved in naming a new coach.
"I spoke with Yohance Brown and had a good conversation with him," Merritt said. "He was very nice. I think they'll get the best person possible, but I'm not certain as to who they'll bring in."
Merritt grew up in Chickasha and was part of the basketball team that reached the state tournament in the 1970s. He later was an assistant coach of the boys team that reached state for a second time before coaching them to the semifinals last March only to lose to Bishop McGuiness. Merritt had been the head coach at Chickasha for five years.
"I can't say one negative word about Chickasha," Merritt said. "It's a great place. I was born there, I went to high school there, and I even went to USAO. Everyone was great to me. We had a lot of accolades."
Merritt said he considers the state tournament run with the Fightin' Chicks last spring one of the standout moments in his career so far.
"Everyone in the town was so supportive when we reached the semifinals," Merritt said. "It was the best time of my life. I'd have paid any price for those few weeks. And of course, I wouldn't be getting this job without the great players I had."
Merrit has already begun working with Norman North players as the school with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students prepares for the fall.
"We're hitting the ground running," Merritt said.