GNAC Insider Episode 118 Now Available On iTunes
Dr. Gary Gray is in his fifth year as the director of athletics for the Alaska Nanooks.
Dr. Gary Gray is in his fifth year as the director of athletics for the Alaska Nanooks.

Monday, March 20, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – The GNAC’s half-hour weekly online radio GNAC Insider is now available on iTunes, featuring Alaska Nanooks director of athletics Dr. Gary Gray, Northwest Nazarene head softball coach Rich Wagner and Montana State Billings baseball outfielder Casey Merritt featured on this week’s episode.

Gray made his third appearance on the show and first since being named the chair of NCAA Division II Management Council. Gray began his role as the chair in January after nearly a year and a half as the vice chair. The Management Council reports directly to the Presidents Council and is responsible for recommending administrative policy and regulations that govern Division II. Gray is in his fifth year as the director of athletics at Alaska after serving in the same capacity at Montana State Billings for 18 years.

Wagner is in his fifth year at the helm of the softball program at NNU. The 1999 Northwest Nazarene graduate took the program from a 2-22 season in 2015 to an 11-17 record in GNAC play in just his first season. The Crusaders have continued their upward trajectory this year, winning four of their first eight games in GNAC play. They will look to build on that this week with a four-game set against Simon Fraser, which was pushed back 24 hours allowing Wagner to join the show. The first doubleheader will be played at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with the back end of the four-game set being played at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

A defending Second Team All-GNAC selection, Merritt has been a key part of Montana State Billings’ lineup in his senior season. Merritt has started 18 games this year, playing primarily left field. He has a team-best batting average of .343 with a perfect fielding percentage. Merritt has recorded 11 multi-hit games this year, including four in the last five games. Last spring, Merritt received his second Academic All-GNAC selection as a health/human performance major. The Yellowjackets will be back in action this weekend in the final four games of an eight-game homestand. This week, they host Central Washington which leads the GNAC in overall wins this year.