EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — When Robyn Fralick made her official entrance as the Michigan State University women’s basketball head coach, she already felt at home. She remembers coming to the Breslin as a kid and playing during halftime.

“I’ve been here as a kid, I’ve been here as a fan, it’s a community I grew up in, and I’ve marveled at the teams and players with so much admiration, and it feels surreal,” said Fralick. 

A native of Okemos, she is now coaching minutes away from where she played growing up. As the former head coach at Bowling Green, Fralick takes over as MSU’s sixth head coach, replacing Suzy Merchant, who stepped down after 16 seasons with the program. 

“There are so many amazing connections and resources, and those coaches are resources too for continuing to recruit Michigan State, and I’m grateful for the momentum that they’ve created here,” said Fralick. “Now it’s our job to keep it going.”

Where Fralick’s been, success has followed. She turned around a struggling program at Bowling Green and won a national title with Ashland University at the Division 2 level. Now, she’s challenged with taking over a program in one of the best conferences in the country.  

“When I was at Ashland and when I was at [Bowling Green] those were full gyms and what a cool experience for your kids,” said Fralick. “Where they know that they’re valued and cared about, and to have that here, and to continue to build that here, will be a really cool part of our student athlete’s experience.”

“She seems really awesome, she seems really positive,” said Michigan State guard Theryn Hallock. “She’s really grateful to be here, and we’re really grateful to see her here, just her style of play and who she seems to be with first impressions. I mean, there’s nothing but positive things to say about her, and I’m really excited to get to know her and keep going with her.”

Athletic director Alan Haller said the search was down to three finalists but after taking a trip to watch Fralick coach at Bowling Green, it didn’t take long to figure out she was the woman for the job.

“When I looked at the criteria that the student athletes put together,” said Haller. “They were up-tempo, they were aggressive, very few turnovers, they looked like they were having fun, high-fiving each other. Robyn was active on the sidelines, and those are the things they said they wanted.”