Dr. Edward Strong Merrill is considered to be the greatest athlete in the history of Beloit College and one of the top athletes of his era in the country. From 1898 through 1901, Merrill starred in baseball, football and track at Beloit. He and the legendary Jim Thorpe were considered by many to be the best athletes of early 1900s.
One day when Beloit played Northwestern in two sports, Merrill set a record in the quarter mile, won the high hurdles, placed in the lows and won or placed in the hammer throw, shot put and discus. He then ran to the baseball diamond in time to hit a ninth inning homer as a pinch-hitter.
In a football game against the University of Chicago, Merrill played tackle in the first half and then switched to fullback in the second half with Beloit trailing 17-0. He scored two touchdowns, kicked the extra points and a field goal to earn a 17-17 tie.