Born March 3, 1921 in Ironwood, Michigan
Graduate of Luther L. Wright High School, Ironwood, MI, B.S. University of Wisconsin-Superior, M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Luther L. Wright High School 1949-53; and
University of Wisconsin-Superior 1954-85.
Mertz graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood, Michigan, where he lettered four years each in football, basketball and track. He held the state record in the 880 for 40 years. At the University of Wisconsin-Superior he was one of the all-time great athletes, excelling in football, basketball and boxing. He was an all-conference performer in football for two years. He was the first athlete to sign a modern NFL contract with the New York Giants in 1948.
In over 30 years at UW-Superior Mertz has established the true meaning of loyalty and dedication. He brought Superior from a two-sport university to 11 in 1954 by raising all the money from the outside. As a coach, Mertz was involved with 109 seasons, including 39 in football, 27 in wrestling, 18 in track, 17 in basketball, 5 in baseball and two each in gymnastics, golf and tennis. The overall record of this man at all levels of competition stands at 823 wins, 538 losses and 24 ties.
In 1953 he coached the number 1 high school football team in the State of Michigan. In 1962 at Superior he coached one of the best football teams in the history of the university. He coached 34 all-conference football players, 29 Little All-American football players, and 30 have signed pro-football contracts and 2 have been drafted in the football draft. He also coached 16 all-state football players in the State of Michigan.
In the sport of wrestling he has over 200 wins with five conference championships, four NAIA District Championships. His wrestling teams placed in the top 10 nationally five times.
Mertz served on many advisory committees in his lifetime including: President of the National Hockey and Wrestling Coaches, Associations, the AAU Wrestling Committee for 12 years, and was game administrator for the National Football play-offs for three years. He served on the US Olympic Wrestling Committee for 12 years, and the US Olympic Committee for three years.
He is a member of the NAIA District Coaches, State of Wisconsin, Northern Michigan, District 14, UW-Superior, City of Superior and Duluth Hall of Fames.
The contributions and achievements made by Mertz toward State and National sports will live forever.
Tag(s): Hall of Fame