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October 8, 2008

COB Alumnus, Blugold Basketball Player Memorialized through Coaching Fund

The widow of a COB alumnus has established a stipend available to both part-time and graduate assistant coaches through the UW-Eau Claire athletics department.

Susan Merten established the fund in memory of her husband and 1983 business graduate Joe Merten who died this past March. The fund will award $600 to a Blugold coach who demonstrates strong commitment to their student athletes and who has a passion for lifelong learning.

Joe Merten played basketball for UW-Eau Claire from 1977-1981. A starter for 98 out of 113 games he played, Merten scored 1,193 points, had 598 rebounds and 439 assists. He still ranks at UW-Eau Claire in the top 20 for career scoring and in the top five for career assists.

In 1981, he was drafted by the Utah Jazz. He was also invited to the Milwaukee Bucks camp that same year. Merten then played for the Continental Basketball Association as part of the Alberta Dusters from 1981-1982. He then went on to play with the Las Vegas Silvers and was eventually traded to the Oshkosh Flyers. Merten later went back to become the head coach of the Flyers from 1985 1986, making him the youngest head coach in the CBA at the time.

For the past 25 years, Merten was a commercial contractor sales representative at Menards.

- Source University News Bureau