In 1958, T. Russell Merrill founded an annual award celebrating the most outstanding male scholar-athlete at Colorado State University. Merrill was the captain and 3rd baseman of the 1921 Colorado Agricultural College baseball team that won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship. Russell Merrill also was his senior class vice-president and member of the agronomy club and dramatic club. Merrill graduated in 1922 and in 1933 founded Merrill Farms in Salinas, California growing and packing produce.

Russell Merrill continued to support athletics at Colorado State and while visiting Denver for a reunion, died of a sudden heart attack in 1964. His family continued to support CSU after his death and in 1969 when Merril's' son-in-law, Joseph Gheen, suddenly died the family asked that his name should be added to the award. It has been continually awarded to the school's top male scholar athlete as the Merrill-Gheen Award since 1970.

2013 Josh McMillin Track & Field
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