Merchant steps down as WBB Head Coach at Michigan State

Michigan State Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller and women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant have come to a mutual decision that Merchant will step down as the program’s head coach, effective immediately. Associate head coach Dean Lockwood will serve as interim head coach while a national coaching search is conducted.
“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 ended her tenure with a record of 327-186 at MSU and an overall career record of 528-306. She captured two Big Ten titles (2011, 2014), earning Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2011. Under Merchant, the Spartans reached the NCAA Tournament 10 times, including advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 2009.
In 16 seasons under Merchant, 52 Spartans have earned All-Big Ten recognition and 76 have been named Academic All-Big Ten. A trio of Spartans have earned major Big Ten awards – Kalisha Keane was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2010-11, following up the Sixth Player of the Year award as a junior, while Lykendra Johnson (2011) and Allyssa DeHaan (2010) were each named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
She coached some of the most MSU’s most prolific scorers, including Aerial Powers who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors three times (2014-16), as well as being named an All-American her final two seasons. During the 2017 season, Tori Jankoska became the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer as well as capturing first-team All-Big Ten and All-America honors. In 2022, Nia Clouden was named first team All-B1G, as well as capturing AP and WBCA honorable mention All-America honors.
During her tenure, Merchant coached three WNBA first-round draft picks in Powers (2016), Jankoska (2017) and Clouden (2022).
Full Statement from Coach Suzy Merchant
“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.
“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.”

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