After leading the Ferris State University women’s basketball program to both its first first NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance and the school’s first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship in eight years this past season, head coach Kendra Faustin announced her resignation today (April 8).
Faustin, who served the past five years as the Bulldogs’ head coach and built the foundation for FSU’s championship success this past year, is departing to become the Athletic Director at Comstock Park High School, but plans to stay on until May to aid the Bulldogs’ current and incoming student-athletes during the transition process and help ease the closure of an academic year that has been impacted by the COVID-19 virus.
A national search for the program’s eighth head coach will begin immediately with the application process starting soon, according to FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger.
“Coach Faustin has done a wonderful job with our women’s basketball program and we certainly wish her nothing but the best as she transitions to a new opportunity and career. It’s never easy, coming off a championship season like we just had, for a coach to make a decision like this, but it’s a lifestyle change that Kendra and her husband RJ have determined is best for their young family,” Weisenburger said. “So, with great respect for their decision and because of our inability to get together and personally express our gratitude like we normally would, I want to be sure to thank Kendra and her family at this time for their sacrifice, dedication and commitment to our women’s basketball program these past five years. We had a lot of fun this year in particular and credit to Kendra, her staff and the young women in our program for a very rewarding and memorable season.
“Transitions following success, especially the way this season ended on the day before the NCAA tournament began, are never easy but our program is in a very good place due to the quality of young people within our program,” he added. “We look forward to the search process and the appointment of our next head coach who will inherit a very talented and dedicated group of returning and incoming leaders and ball players.”
A Michigan native, Faustin returned to her home state prior to the 2015-16 campaign to take over the Bulldog program following an eight-year tenure as the head coach at NCAA Division I Niagara University. After her first two years at the helm, the Bulldogs made one of the league’s biggest turnarounds, eventually making three consecutive GLIAC Tournament berths in her final three years and winning 14 games or more all three seasons.
“The decision to step away from coaching has been heart-wrenching because these young ladies in our program have meant so much to me. I have been a part of college basketball for over 20 years and have been blessed to be surrounded by amazing student-athletes and colleagues,” Faustin said. “I’m saddened to leave this program, but I’ll always be there to support these young women, especially during these challenging times, and I’ll always be a Bulldog.
“I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes for all they have given to our program and to me,” she added. “I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication our program has put forth. Those efforts certainly were on display this past season with the success we had, both on and off the court. We’ve worked hard to put the pieces in place to move this program forward and I believe we’ve done that and I will be celebrating the achievements in the years ahead.”
Faustin added, “Although this was a difficult decision, I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue a career in education and sport as the Athletic Director at Comstock Park, a role where I can broaden my impact and continue to serve athletes, coaches, educators and a community.”
Faustin guided the Bulldogs to 15 wins in 2017-18 along with an appearance in the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals following a first-round upset road win over Michigan Tech in the conference tournament before helping FSU to a 14-win campaign and another tourney berth in 2018-19.
This past season, Ferris State claimed only its third-ever GLIAC North Division Championship as the Bulldogs compiled a 21-8 overall mark, which included a 15-5 record in the GLIAC. FSU finished third overall in seeding for the league tournament and posted 10 wins at home along with 10 on the road during the memorable campaign. The Bulldogs drew the fifth seed for the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament and were slated to square off against rival Grand Valley State in their fifth-ever national tourney showing before the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. Overall, the 21 wins were the third-most in a single campaign in program history and FSU scored 80 points or more in 12 different games.
During the 2019-20 season, under Faustin’s watch, senior forward Riley Blair led the GLIAC in scoring at 21.1 points per game and was one of three players to claim all-conference recognition along with junior guard Adrienne Anderson and freshman guard Mallory McCartney. Along with the impressive season on the floor, the Bulldogs also succeeded in the classroom with Faustin at the helm. In 2019-20, nine of the 10 student-athletes who qualified earned GLIAC All-Academic or GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team accolades.
Faustin competed collegiately in the GLIAC at Lake Superior State and also served as an assistant coach within the league at Hillsdale after beginning her collegiate coaching career at fellow Division II member Gannon University. Before taking the reigns at Niagara, she served as the head assistant coach at NCAA Division I Canisius.
A total of eight letterwinners are eligible to return next season for the Bulldogs, who will also welcome the addition of a strong incoming recruiting class to help offset the departure of four seniors from this year’s squad.
This past season, both the Ferris State men’s and women’s basketball teams reached the NCAA Tournament in the same campaign for the first time in school history and both claimed GLIAC Championships.
Photo Courtesy Ferris State Athletics