Original article (Ferris State Tabs Michigan Native & Niagara University Head Coach to Lead Women’s Basketball) on the Ferris State’s athletic website ferrisstatebulldogs.com.
A Michigan native and current NCAA Division I head coach will return to her home state to guide the Ferris State University women’s basketball program as FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger today (June 11) officially announced the appointment of Kendra (Harris) Faustin as the Bulldogs’ new head coach.
Faustin, who competed collegiately in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) at Lake Superior State and later served as an assistant coach within the league at Hillsdale, brings considerable NCAA Division I head coaching experience to the position after having served the past eight years as the head coach at Niagara in Lewiston, N.Y.
She becomes the seventh head coach in the 41-year history of Bulldog women’s basketball and will officially begin her duties on June 19.
“We had an outstanding applicant pool and a very extensive search process to find the best person to lead our women’s basketball program and we are thrilled to officially name Kendra Faustin as our new Head Coach,” said Weisenburger. “Kendra has the background and ties to the GLIAC, Midwest and specifically to Michigan that we were seeking. Her experience as a former student-athlete in the GLIAC is a plus and certainly her recruiting and coaching relationships that she has will continue to develop as the head coach at Ferris State and serve our program very well in the immediate and long term future.
“Kendra is someone who has a plan, will hit the ground running and work tirelessly in building a championship driven program for women’s basketball at Ferris State,” he added.
During her eight seasons as Niagara’s head coach, Faustin recruited and coached 10 All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) players, one MAAC Sixth Player of the Year, two MAAC Rookie of the Years, four All-MAAC Rookie Team players and more than 40 MAAC All-Academic Team student-athletes. Three former players also went on to compete in professional basketball and the program recently compiled a perfect score in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) under her direction.
“I am keenly aware of Ferris State University’s outstanding reputation in both academics and athletics and look forward to leading the Bulldog program,” Faustin said. “I believe my experience has truly prepared me to lead this program to a high level of success on the court, in the classroom and within the community.
“While I have been blessed to be a Division I head coach at Niagara, this opportunity within my home state and in the league that I began my collegiate career is a tremendous one for our family. It will be exciting to serve a university that is highly-respected, committed to excellence and offers the potential to compete for both championships and NCAA Tournament berths on an annual basis,” she added.
The 2010 MAAC Coach of the Year, Faustin directed the resurgence of the Niagara women’s basketball program in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as the Purple Eagles earned back-to-back 9-9 marks in the MAAC as well as two postseason victories in each conference tournament. The squad’s 15 victories in 2012-13 were the most for the program in nearly a decade and the team’s semifinal league tournament finish marked the first time in program history that Niagara made consecutive MAAC Tournament semifinal appearances.
In her tenure at Niagara, Faustin led the squad to three MAAC Tournament Final Four showings in a four-year span and the squad’s cumulative GPA was 3.0 or higher in each of her eight seasons at the helm. She also helped facilitate the most financial giving in program history in 2013 and led all aspects of the NCAA Division I women’s basketball program. In 2011-12, her squad ranked as the fifth-most improved team at the NCAA-I level on the floor.
Regarded as one of the nation’s top young coaches on her arrival, Faustin was tabbed at Niagara after spending three seasons as the head assistant coach at fellow Division I member Canisius. In her three seasons at Canisius, the Golden Griffins posted an overall record of 55-35, including a 36-18 mark in MAAC conference play. During the 2004-05 season, Faustin helped lead the program to the MAAC Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to arriving in Western New York, Faustin spent two seasons as an assistant coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale where she was a part of a coaching staff that guided the Chargers to a school-best 23-6 record and a GLIAC South Division crown during the 2002-03 campaign. Faustin began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant at fellow Division II member Gannon, where the Knights posted a 20-8 record and earned a bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
A four-year starter and letterwinner at Lake Superior State, Faustin was selected the Lakers’ Co-Most Valuable Player after the 2000-01 season while also serving as team co-captain that year under head coach Kris Dunbar. She continues to rank among the school’s all-time leaders with 114 career three-point field goals. The Hartland native earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lake Superior State in 2001 and a master’s degree in sport administration at Canisius in 2006.
A member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), Faustin has served on the MAAC Women’s Basketball Committee and the NCAA Division I Regional Ranking Committee. Kendra and her husband, R.J, have two sons, Callard and Blake.