Suzy Merchant

Suzy Merchant (born July 26, 1969)[1] is the current head coach for the Michigan State University Women's Basketball team. She is married to Gary Rakan and has two young sons, Tyler Rakan and Brady Rakan.[2]

Suzy Merchant
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamMichigan State
ConferenceBig Ten
Record246–120 (.672)
Biographical details
Born (1969-07-26) July 26, 1969
Detroit, Michigan
Playing career
1987-1991Central Michigan
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1992–1995Oakland (asst.)
1995–1998Saginaw Valley State
1998–2007Eastern Michigan
2007–presentMichigan State
2009USA World Championships (asst.)
Head coaching record
Overall447–240 (.651)
Accomplishments and honors
Big Ten regular season (2011, 2014)

Coaching career

Saginaw Valley State

After inheriting a team with a losing record, Merchant quickly built the SVSU program into a winner, compiling a 54-29 record during her three-year tenure as head coach. During her first season, the team earned a 15-11 record before going 19-11 in the following year. The latter achievement earned the team a berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second time in school history. In her final season, Saginaw Valley State collected a 20-7 record, and was ranked as high as 15th in the nation during the season.[3]

Eastern Michigan

While at EMU, she compiled a record of 147-91 (.618), including three 20-win seasons, three postseason appearances and two Mid-American Conference West Division titles. Merchant's 2003-04 Eastern Michigan team claimed the MAC West Division and MAC Tournament championships for the first time in school history, earning the program's first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament en route to a 22-8 record. However, Eastern Michigan stumbled in the first round against eventual sweet sixteener Boston College.[4] She followed that impressive season by winning 23 games in 2004-05, the most in school history. However, a loss in the MAC Tournament semi-final[5] sent EMU to the WNIT where the Eagles fell in the 1st round to eventual semi-finalist Kentucky 79-68.[3]

In 2005-06, the Eagles reached the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season and won their second MAC West title with a 15-1 conference record, notching the most league wins in school history. Their 22-8 overall record put them into the postseason for the third straight year as the Eagles earned a bid to the WNIT. EMU's 1st round opponent, Indiana State, defeated the Eagles 79-57. While on maternity leave for most of her final season at EMU, Merchant's Eagles finished second in the MAC West Division with a 10-6 league record and finished 16-13 overall, losing to Kent State 70-56 in the MAC conference semi-finals.[3][6]

Michigan State

Merchant was named head coach at Michigan State on Monday April 30, 2007.[3] She replaced Joanne P. McCallie who left Michigan State for the head coaching job at Duke University. In her second season, Merchant ousted McCallie's #1 seeded Duke Blue Devils in the 2009 NCAA Division I tournament.[7] With her team's Big Ten regular-season co-championship in 2014, Merchant becomes MSU's first women's coach to capture two conference basketball titles.

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Saginaw Valley State University (GLIAC) (1995–1998)
1995–96 SVSU 15–119–9T–7th
1996–97 SVSU 19–1110–83rdNCAA Div II
1997–98 SVSU 20–712–6T–3rd
SVSU: 54–29 (.651)31–23 (.574)
Eastern Michigan University (MAC) (1998–2007)
1998–99 EMU 14–138–83rd
1999–00 EMU 16–148–8T–3rd
2000–01 EMU 16–129–74th
2001–02 EMU 18–1110–6T–4th
2002–03 EMU 13–169–74th
2003–04 EMU 22–812–41stNCAA First Round
2004–05 EMU 23–811–52ndWNIT First Round
2005–06 EMU 22–815–11stWNIT First Round
2006–07 EMU 3–1*
EMU: 147–91 (.618)82–46 (.641)
Michigan State University (Big Ten) (2007–present)
2007–08 Michigan State 23–1410–8T–5thWNIT Runner-up
2008–09 Michigan State 22–1113–5T–2ndNCAA Sweet Sixteen
2009–10 Michigan State 23–1012–62ndNCAA Second Round
2010–11 Michigan State 27–613–31stNCAA Second Round
2011–12 Michigan State 20–1211–5T–2ndNCAA First Round
2012–13 Michigan State 25–910–63rdNCAA Second Round
2013–14 Michigan State 23–1013–3T–1stNCAA Second Round
2014–15 Michigan State 16–157–119th
2015–16 Michigan State 25–913–53rdNCAA Second Round
2016–17 Michigan State 18–7**6–3T-5thNCAA First Round
2017–18 Michigan State 19–147–99thWNIT Round 3
2018–19 Michigan State 21-129-97thNCAA Second Round
Michigan State: 265–134 (.664)127–77 (.623)
Total:466–252 (.649)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

* Missed all but four games of 2006-07 while on maternity leave
** Merchant missed 7 games during 2016-17 due to a Medicial Leave of Absence [8][9]

Playing career

Merchant played four seasons at the guard position for Central Michigan University. She was a four-year starter and a 3-year captain.[10]


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