Steve Merfeld gives Creighton the unique distinction of having two staff members who have won games in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach.
After three seasons as an assistant coach, Merfeld was elevated to assistant to the head coach position in April 2013 on Greg McDermott’s staff, and enters his second season in that role.
In his first year at Creighton, he worked with MVC Newcomer and Freshman of the Year Doug McDermott, Preseason MVC Player of the Year Kenny Lawson Jr., and MVC All-Defensive Team big man Gregory Echenique. In his second season, McDermott became Creighton’s first player named First Team All-American, while Echenique became CU’s first honoree to be named MVC Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2012-13, McDermott repeated as a First Team All-American and as MVC Player of the Year, while Echenique became Creighton’s first player to be named to the MVC’s All-Defensive Team in three straight seasons. In addition, sharpshooting forward Ethan Wragge was named MVC Sixth Man of the Year.
McDermott would go on to sweep all 14 National Player of the Year honors in 2013-14.
Creighton has won 107 of 145 games in the past four seasons, making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Creighton tied the school record with 29 wins in 2011-12, then had 28 more wins in 2012-13 and 27 last winter.
Merfeld boasts 28 years of NCAA Division I basketball coaching experience, including 10 seasons as a head coach: at Hampton from 1997-02 and at Evansville from 2002-07.
As a college head coach, Merfeld collected 144 wins, two regular-season conference championships, two conference tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances. That first postseason appearance in 2001 led to one of the signature moments in NCAA Tournament history as the video of his players lifting him up in celebration following No. 15 seed Hampton’s upset of No. 2 seed Iowa State in the 2001 tourney remains a popular March Madness clip.
Merfeld led Hampton to a winning record in four of his five years, finishing with a 90-57 (.612) record that was capped by back-to-back sweeps of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles in 2001 and 2002. After Hampton became just the fourth No. 15 seed to win an NCAA Tournament game in 2001, Merfeld’s Pirates became the first and only 15-seed winner to return to the NCAA Tournament the following season. In his final season at Hampton, Merfeld led the 2001-02 Pirates to a school-record 26 wins. Merfeld was rewarded for his efforts in returning Hampton to the Big Dance by being named the 2002 CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Coach of the Year.
He replaced longtime Evansville head coach Jim Crews in 2002 and directed the Purple Aces to an RPI that improved 131 spots during his tenure. His Evansville teams also collected 11 victories against postseason squads (7 NCAA, 4 NIT). In addition to four All-Missouri Valley Conference players, he coached two-time Academic All-American Clint Cuffle (2003, 2004) and a trio of 1,000-point scorers on his 2006-07 squad.
Merfeld was a member of the Bradley coaching staff for three seasons; starting in 2007, Merfeld helped the Braves to a pair of 21-win seasons, including seven postseason victories that helped Bradley claim a pair of postseason tournament runner-up finishes.
A 1984 graduate of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Merfeld was a 10-year assistant for current Miami (Fla.) head coach Jim Larrañaga at Bowling Green prior to joining the Hampton staff as an assistant in 1996. During his time with the Falcons, Merfeld established himself as a highly-regarded recruiter and is credited with signing Antonio Daniels, the fourth pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. He also landed three Mid-American Conference Rookies of the Year in a five-year span, including Daniels and Anthony Stacey, both of whom went on to be named the league’s Player of the Year in 1997 and 2000, respectively.
Merfeld and his wife, Mary Jo, have a 15-year-old daughter, Lauren, and 13-year-old son, Andrew.
The Steve Merfeld File
• Wife - Mary Jo
• Children - Lauren (15) and Andrew (13)
• Date of Birth - Sept. 23, 1961
Career Coaching Experience
• Creighton - Assistant to the Head Coach 2013-Present
• Creighton - Assistant Coach, 2010-13
• Bradley - Assistant Coach, 2007-09
• Evansville - Head Coach, 2002-07
• Hampton - Head Coach, 1997-2002
• Hampton - Assistant Coach, 1996-97
• Bowling Green - Assistant Coach, 1986-96
• St. John’s Military Academy - Head Coach, 1984-86
Collegiate Coaching Honors
• 2002 CollegeInsider.com National Mid-Major Coach of the Year
• 2002 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year
• 2002 NABC District 4 Coach of the Year
• 2001 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Outstanding Tournament Coach
• 2001 NABC District 4 Coach of the Year
• Bowling Green - M.S., athletic administration, 1987
• Wisconsin-La Crosse - B.S., physical education, 1984