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MSU Women's Basketball head coach stepping down due to health reasons

Suzy Merchant has lead the team to two Big Ten titles and 10 NCAA tournament appearances. She ends her MSU career with a record of 327-186.
Credit: AP
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant signals from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant is stepping down from her post after 16 seasons on the job. 

The decision was mutual, Michigan State Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller said, and it's due to health reasons. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce I am stepping down from Michigan State University due to health reasons. After much consideration and consultation with my healthcare providers, I have come to the difficult decision that it is in my best interest. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the entire Michigan State community, including the administration, faculty, and staff," Merchant said in a statement. 

"I have had the privilege of coaching some of the most talented and dedicated young women in the country. The opportunity to mentor, lead, and empower young women has been the honor of a lifetime.  Over my 28 years as a head coach and the last 16 years at MSU, I have been blessed to work with incredible assistant coaches as well as staff members that have shared the love of the game, mentoring young women, and were passionate about the Green and White. I am truly grateful to each of you for your time, energy, and dedication to our program. Much admiration and love to you all.

"And of course it goes without saying to express my heartfelt appreciation to the best fans in the world, the SPARTAN NATION! You have supported our team through thick and thin and your unwavering enthusiasm has been a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Finally, I would like to extend a special appreciation to Mark Hollis and Dr. Lou Anna Simon for giving a small-town kid from Northern Michigan the chance of a lifetime to live my dream as a Spartan. I'm eternally grateful.

"It has been an incredible journey…Thank you, Spartan Nation."

Associate head coach Dean Lockwood is serving as interim head coach as the search to replace Merchant continues. 

"We are grateful to Coach Suzy Merchant for her contributions to Michigan State women's basketball and Spartan Athletics over the last 16 seasons," Haller said. "We appreciate everything Coach Merchant has meant to our community. Her two Big Ten titles and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances provided lasting memories. Beyond the team's on-court success, she invested considerable time and energy into our local community as a leader and a role model for young people." 

Merchant wraps up her time at MSU with a record of 327-186, and an overall record of 528-306. 

She took home two Big Ten titles in 2011 and 2014. She earned the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2011. 

During her tenure, Merchant coached three WNBA first-round draft picks in Powers (2016), Jankoska (2017) and Clouden (2022).

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