Director of Athletics
Miriam Merrill started on July 1 as professor and chair of the Department of Physical Education at Pomona College, and director of Pomona Pitzer Sagehens athletics, the joint athletic department’s activity classes, faculty/staff fitness and wellness program, intramural/club sport and recreation programs and academic offerings. Competing as the Sagehens, the shared athletics program of Pomona and Pitzer colleges fields 21 varsity teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the NCAA’s Division III. Pomona and Pitzer are both members of The Claremont Colleges, a unique consortium of five undergraduate and two graduate institutions in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Sagehen Athletics’ rich history dates back more than a century.
Merrill brings broad experience in athletics and academia to Claremont. She earned a Ph.D. in the psychology of human movement at Temple University in 2019, and previously has served as an athletics director at Richard J. Daley College, a Chicago community college, and as head coach of women’s track and field at Robert Morris University in Chicago. As an athlete, she was an NCAA Division I All-American in track and field for the University of Cincinnati in 2001 and was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
Merrill’s work frequently has focused on themes of student wellness, in addition to diversity of opportunity in athletics for women and people of color.
Merrill most recently served as the associate director of athletics at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and also served as interim director of Hamilton’s NCAA Division III program for four months in 2019. At Hamilton, she taught a physical education course called Mental Health Support Skills and Strategies. Hamilton also offered a physical education class taught by the college’s director of counseling and another on meditation in the outdoors. She also created Hamilton’s first Peak Performance Symposium for student athletes, with topics including mental health and nutrition, and has worked to establish supports for athletes with eating disorders.
Merrill’s focus on equity issues led her to establish a Student Athletes of Color Initiative for student athletes at Hamilton. She also has overseen Title IX compliance in regard to gender equity in athletics and has studied the reasons women do not hold more top administrative positions in sports. Her doctoral dissertation looked at the surprising reticence of many women to pursue athletic director jobs.