Suzy Merchant Finalizes Spartan Women's Basketball Staff

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant announced Friday that she has finalized her coaching staff, hiring Evelyn Thompson as an assistant coach. Thompson, who most recently coached at Buffalo for five seasons, joins assistant coaches Shane Clipfell and Mike Geary, director of basketball operations Julie Pagel, video coordinator Monique Govan and director of basketball operations intern Patrice McKinney.

"Evelyn brings national championship playing experience as well as tremendous knowledge of the game on the floor," said Merchant. "She is extremely well respected amongst high school coaches and AAU coaches, and is known as a tireless recruiter. We are thrilled to have Evelyn as part of the Spartan family."

Thompson was primarily responsible for overseeing Buffalo's recruiting program in addition to working with the Bulls' post players, running individual workouts and scouting opponents. Thompson brought four years of Division I coaching experience and an impressive playing background to the Bulls coaching staff when she joined the program prior to the 2002-03 season.

Thompson's successful collegiate playing career began at Northeast Mississippi Community College where she helped her team to the national title in her first season in 1986-87. After earning Kodak All-America accolades as well as her associate's degree in both English and psychology, Thompson went on to Auburn University on a full athletic scholarship where she helped the Tigers reach the NCAA title game in both 1988-89 and 1989-90. In her first season in 1988-89, Auburn posted a 32-2 record, won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title and finished second in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll. As a senior starter in 1989-90, Thompson led the Tigers to a 28-7 record, the SEC Tournament title and a final AP ranking of ninth in the nation. She was an NCAA All-Mideast Region selection and an SEC All-Tournament Team selection as a senior.

Following her playing career, Thompson served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at both Arizona State (1990-93) and Western Kentucky (1993-94). After taking two years off to serve as a full-time caregiver, she returned to the athletics and recreation field in 1996, serving as the recreation program supervisor at Fulton County Parks and Recreation in Atlanta, Ga., for three years.

Thompson was an assistant girls' basketball coach and a language arts teacher at Troup County Comprehensive in LaGrange, Ga., in 1999-2000, and she served as the head girls' basketball coach and language arts teacher at Callaway High School in Hogansville, Ga., in 2001-02. Thompson holds a bachelor's degree in English from Auburn.

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