After securing her 500th career win last Tuesday, Michigan State Women’s Basketball Coach Suzy Merchant has reached another milestone in her career. Her 100-60 win over the Bryant Bulldogs Friday marked her 300th victory at MSU, becoming just the second women’s basketball coach in school history to accomplish this historic feat.
Her overall record at MSU stands at 300-157, second only to Karen Langeland who had a 376-290 record during her 24 seasons as head coach.
Merchant, a Michigan native, is grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to be a Spartan, mentioning that she wanted to be one since high school and that both of her brothers attended MSU.
“Where I came from, you’re either a Spartan or a Wolverine and we’ve always been Spartans, so to stand on the sidelines means something,” Merchant said.
She was also able to celebrate the milestone with her son Brady who was attending the game with his fifth-grade class whose cheers seemed to give the team the motivation they needed to pull out the win. Although her husband Gary and other son Tyler were unable to attend the noon game, they were all there Tuesday to celebrate her 500th career victory.
While reflecting on her 500th victory Merchant praised the people rather than the games she was involved with and she repeated that belief while reflecting on her 300th. Over the past week, her phone has been blowing up with texts from former players congratulating her on her historic accomplishments and putting the impact she’s had on her players over her 15 seasons at MSU on full display.
“Those are the texts I appreciated the most were the ones from the former players and parents,” Merchant said. “Relationships you’ve built over the years, at the end of the day that’s kind of what it’s about. Wins do matter but I really appreciate hearing from some of those people I haven’t heard from in a while.”
Her current players also had some kind words for their coach.
“I think she genuinely cares about her players," graduate student forward Tamara Farquhar said. “I think that shows with how she gives all of us opportunities and really just believes in all of us and gives us the chance to go out there and prove ourselves."
Senior guard Nia Clouden has been through a lot of big wins with Merchant, but the relationship she's built with her coach means a heck of a lot more.
"She's really put the work in,” said senior guard Nia Clouden. “Most importantly I think she builds relationships with her players that she brings in to the point where they wanna see her succeed and they do whatever they can to get the win."
Although her 500th and 300th victories are historic career milestones, Merchant isn’t letting them distract her or the team from their goals they look to accomplish this year. While she is grateful to the fans and the university for their support that got her to this point in her career, Merchant remains focused on continuing to look for new ways to win as the competition intensifies.
“I'm really grateful and appreciative,” Merchant said. “To get to 300 that’s something, but now I’m looking for 301 because we’re gonna go on the road now, it gets tougher.”
Merchant and the Spartans look to build off their 4-0 start to the season when they embark on their first road trip to New York to play Fordham tomorrow at 2 p.m. and St. Francis Brooklyn on Nov. 23, at 2 p.m.
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