Suzy Merchant is stepping away from her position as Michigan State’s head women’s basketball coach.

The program announced that news on Monday afternoon, stating that it was a mutual decision. Merchant recently completed her 16th season at the helm in East Lansing.

Merchant said in a statement that she is stepping away due to health reasons.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce I am stepping down from Michigan State University due to health reasons,” Merchant said in a release. “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.”


The Spartans made the NCAA Tournament 10 times during Merchant’s time in charge. They reached the Sweet 16 in 2009, which was the furthest the program went under Merchant’s leadership. Michigan State has made it to the Elite Eight just once in program history — back in 2005, when it reached the National Championship Game.

Michigan State has named Dean Lockwood as the program’s interim head coach. However, athletic director Alan Haller said a national search will begin immediately for a permanent replacement.

Merchant went 327-186 at Michigan State. The Spartans won 2 Big Ten titles during her tenure.

“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 in a statement. “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.”