Suzy Merchant, Michigan State head women’s basketball coach, received recognition Monday for her off-the-court services by way of the 2018 ATHENA Leadership award, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce announced.
The award recognizes individuals for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to the community and for actively assisting all women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills, according to a press release.
Merchant, along with Leslie Auld, owner and director of Therapy Today Counseling & Consulting and recipient of the 2019 ATHENA PowerLink (APL) award, will be honored by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Dec. 6 at the Kellogg Center.
“Suzy Merchant is a great leader on and off the basketball court,” Tim Daman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release. “Her success in building the MSU women’s basketball into national prominence is matched by her work in preparing student-athletes for life after basketball."
"Her leadership in the community, most notably in founding the empowHER leadership retreats is inspirational. She is truly a role model who embraces qualities that all great leaders should possess.”
In regards to her work in the Lansing community, the 12-year MSU head coach has served at numerous community service events, has become Honorary Chair for Sparrow Hospital Foundation and helped foster the empowHER Retreat.
The retreat aims to promote confidence in girls ranging from 4th to 8th grade, as empowHER worked with 425 girls from the state of Michigan last year, according to the release.
“It is an awesome responsibility to be their second mom and help guide them through some challenging situations and celebrate their successes,” Merchant said. “There are a lot of changes that go on in college between the ages of 18 and 22 and a lot of choices that young people can make. As coaches, our job is to do the best we can to support them and develop them as people.”
Amidst her 12th year of a decorated coaching career, Merchant’s work off the court has come to recognition through ATHENA.
“I have certainly appreciated what ATHENA is all about and am truly honored and humbled,” she said.