EAST LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan State University has announced the school and women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant have come to a mutual decision to have her step down.
The school says Associated Head Coach Dean Lockwood will serve as interim head coach while a national 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," Michigan State Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller said in a news release. "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."
The school also released the following statement from 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.
Merchant has a record of 327-186 at MSU and an overall career record of 528-306, including two Big Ten titles, Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2011 and 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament.