BGSU’s Fralick leaving for Michigan State


EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University has hired Bowling Green State University women’s basketball coach Robyn Fralick.

Fralick was announced as Michigan State’s new women’s basketball head coach on Friday by MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller.

“Falcon Faithful, you will always have our hearts,” Fralick said in a statement. “BGSU is so special to me and my family. Thank you for wrapping your arms around us with support and kindness and cheering your hearts out. To the Squad, thank you for giving your best, every day. You were a genuine joy and inspired an entire community with your heart, grit and togetherness. Forever grateful.”

Fralick, who coached at BGSU five years and is an Okemos, Michigan native, becomes the sixth coach in Spartan women’s basketball history. She will be formally introduced at a press conference next week.

“This is a great day for Spartan women’s basketball as we welcome Robyn Fralick to our Spartan Family,” Haller said. “Her resume speaks for itself, both in the historic success and championships she captured at Ashland and the job she did turning around the program at Bowling Green, not only capturing a championship but also creating an expectation of postseason success.

“Beyond that, Robyn possesses the ability to connect individually with student-athletes in order to maximize their abilities, while also bringing everyone together to create team success.

“Although she grew up in our community and we couldn’t be more excited to bring her home, it’s important to note that she’s respected nationally. That became evidently clear throughout this process during conversations with individuals throughout the women’s basketball community.

Fralick comes to MSU after directing the Bowling Green program the last five seasons, guiding the Falcons to an 88-73 record (including 69-31 over the last three seasons) and three postseason appearances. This season, Fralick led BGSU to a 31-7 record, matching the school and Mid-American Conference records for most wins in a single season.

The Falcons made a historic run in 2022-23, advancing to the WNIT Fab 4, before falling in the semifinals.

“My family and I are so grateful for this new journey,” said Fralick. “It is an honor to return home to East Lansing to join the Spartan community.

“I would like to thank the Bowling Green community for wrapping their arms around my family and the BGSU women’s basketball squad for giving their best, every day.”

“We extend our best wishes to Robyn and the Fralick family on their new venture,” said Derek van der Merwe, BGSU director of athletics and recreation. “Since joining Bowling Green in 2018, Robyn has been an invaluable asset to the women’s basketball program. She has transformed the team from a string of losing seasons to tying a single-season program record for wins with 31 this year. The Falcons’ recent appearance in the WNIT’s “Fab 4″ marks their third consecutive postseason bid. She has transformed this campus and community, reigniting that passion and love for the game of basketball.  She has transformed the student-athletes she mentored and coached. It has been an honor to work alongside her. A national search for her successor will begin immediately.”

Fralick, who owns a career record of 192-76, was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2021 after leading the Falcons to one of the nation’s top turnarounds. BGSU went from 10-21 in 2020 to 21-8 the next season.

She led her squad to a MAC regular-season championship in year three of her tenure after inheriting a program that had four straight losing seasons prior to her arrival. The Falcons also earned a berth in the 2021 WNIT.

In 2021-22, BGSU lost nearly 75 player-games to injury, but Fralick still guided the Falcons to 10 MAC wins, a 17-16 overall record, and an appearance in the 2022 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).

In late 2018, Fralick was named the recipient of the C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award. The award is presented to an individual who has experienced outstanding achievement as a coach for female teams.

The award’s website indicates that the winner exhibits “a high standard of propriety, imagination, and innovation as a character-builder in the tradition of great teacher-coaches.”

Prior to Bowling Green, Fralick had an unprecedented run as the head coach at Ashland University. In three seasons (2015-16 to 2017-18), she accumulated an overall record of 104-3 (.972), which was the highest winning percentage in NCAA history at any level (minimum of 100 games coached).

Overall, she spent 10 seasons at Ashland as both an assistant and head coach with the Eagles earning a 267-59 record during that time.

Fralick and the Eagles advanced to the NCAA Division II national championship game four times between 2012 and 2018, winning national championships in both 2013 and 2017. The Eagles were the National Runner-Up in both 2012 and 2018. AU won 73 consecutive games, the longest streak in NCAA Division II history, before a loss in the 2018 national title game.

Her coaching career also includes stops on the staffs at Appalachian State (2004-05), Western Michigan (2005-07) and Toledo (2007-08).

She is a 2004 graduate of Davidson, having earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in religion. At the end of her four-year playing career, she left Davidson among the career leaders in assists (4th), steals (8th) and free-throw percentage (12th). Fralick earned her master’s degree in counselor education from Western Michigan in 2007.

The former Robyn Flewelling had a storied career at Okemos High School. She garnered second-team all-state honors and was named to the All-Michigan Fifth Team as a senior.

In addition to her basketball honors, she was named all-league in soccer as well as honorable mention all-league in softball. She was named to the Okemos High School Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Bowling Green State University is incredibly grateful for Coach Fralick’s many contributions to the women’s basketball program, BGSU Athletics and our community,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “She has built a successful program that absolutely represents BGSU, she has engaged our fans in a special way, and she has created an atmosphere of excitement and much-deserved support and recognition for our student-athletes. On behalf of BGSU, I want to thank Coach Fralick for the foundation she has built, which will be felt for years to come. We wish her all the best at Michigan State University.”

‘No place like Bowling Green’

After the Falcons’ 77-70 loss to Columbia in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,155 at the Stroh Center in a WNIT semifinal Thursday, in so many words Fralick said, “There is no place like Bowling Green,” but she is still making the move.

“We love it here. My kids have grown up as a family,” Fralick said. “The community, the girls — we absolutely love it here.”

Fralick said a lot of time has gone into rebuilding the program to where it is now.

“When we came here five years ago, I remember the first two years, people would find me with my head just laying on my desk, kind of like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m trying to figure this out, right?’

“Day by day, step by step, you search for a way, and then all of a sudden, I walk out today, and my eyes are all teared up when our girls are getting announced because I’m like, ‘You build it, they will come.’ We built it and we got to experience that.”

Fralick said even her daughter Clara became attached to the program, and to the community.

“My daughter, she is 6 years old, and she talks about the girls all the time like they are her best pals. She wants to know all about them. Now, I’m hearing that from amongst the whole community,” Fralick said.

“I’m hearing that from adults. I came home Monday night and there are balloons on my mailbox. Today, there is a ‘Beat Columbia’ sign on my front yard, right?

“It’s fun to be part of something, right, and it’s fun to watch something where it matters. That connection has been incredible, and we are really grateful for it.”

The momentum from the Falcons’ WNIT tournament run resonated throughout BGSU’s athletic programs. The football team took an entire section during the Falcons’ 69-52 Great Eight victory over Florida, and they weren’t the only BGSU athletes to make an appearance.

“On Monday, we are playing Florida at home and our head football coach and head volleyball coach are getting warned for their cowbell,” Fralick said. “I’m like so proud of them.

“I don’t want them to get a technical, but it is so cool. The connection with the student-athletes, the connection with the community, and Derek (van der Merwe), our new athletic director, he’s been instrumental in just the spirit of bringing people together. How fun is that?”

Fralick said this year’s BGSU team earned its 31 wins, which tied a program record and Mid-American Conference record.

“They are really fun. We had practice 98 yesterday,” Fralick said. “Think of that — 98 practices together and we’re still laughing. They are still such a joy in the gym.

“You have to have fun if you are going to play 38 games. I think joy is such a connector and toughness, too. So, those are the things that stand out. I think it is a team that has a great joy to it and we’re tough.

“It’s who we are. I would say some of the things that we won this year it was literally just on toughness. That’s a great formula for success. We’ve got kids who are committed to every possession.”

Fralick and husband, Tim, have two children, Will and Clara.

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