June 28, 2012
Karen Langeland, who has spent 36 years on the Michigan State athletics staff, has announced her retirement from the University, effective June 30. Langeland was MSU's women's basketball coach for 24 years, then served the athletic department for 12 years as an associate athletics director.
"There are really so many emotions involved when I think about my time at Michigan State coming to an end," said Langeland. "I have enjoyed the 24 years I spent coaching the amazing young women that passed through our basketball program. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work in the Athletics Department for the last 12 years with our outstanding coaches. Watching their successes has been such a tremendous part of the administrative experience, and watching our programs run their camps, and exposing Spartan Athletics to new generations, has also been a thrill. However, I am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life and look forward to new adventures. One thing I know for sure is that I will forever be a Spartan."
"Over the years, Michigan State University has had coaches that bring energy to the workplace every day, with a deep commitment for the student-athletes, community and supporters that surround their program," noted Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis. "The Spartans have also had great athletic administrators that are capable of viewing the big picture, understood the impact of one decision on other areas, and had attention to detail. Karen Langeland was both, and Michigan State University is proud that she is forever a Spartan. She made a positive impact on our department and the people around her. We wish her the best and always welcome her back home to Michigan State."
Langeland's was named the third head women's basketball coach in school history in 1976, and over the next 24 years, built a first-class program dedicated to achieving excellence on the court as well as educating and preparing players for the challenges of tomorrow. During her tenure at MSU, Spartan basketball alumnae went on to impressive careers in education, medicine, law, finance, athletic administration, and coaching.
On the court, Langeland guided Spartan basketball teams to 376 overall wins, a Big Ten title, three NCAA Tournaments, two Women's National Invitational Tournament appearances, 17 winning seasons and four 20-win campaigns. In those 24 years, there were 39 All-Big Ten selections, one All-American, and seven Academic All-America selections. She guided the squad to 24 victories over ranked opponents, was named District Coach of the Year in 1991 and the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1988. Seven of her athletes went on to play professionally, including Kristen Rasmussen and Maxann Reese, who were drafted by the WNBA.
In 1996-97, Langeland reached a pinnacle in her career after guiding Michigan State to a share of its first-ever Big Ten title with a 12-4 record in the conference. The Spartans, who finished the year with a 22-8 overall mark, also made their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and their third overall.
In 1989, the Calvin College graduate became only the third coach in the history of MSU men's and women's basketball to reach the 200-win plateau with a victory over Michigan. In 1993, she reached the 250-win mark with a victory over Northwestern, while midway through the 1995-96 season, she reached another coaching milestone with her 300th career victory as the Spartans downed Northwestern, 94-90.
Equally as important as the victories is the success of Langeland's players in the classroom. Every player who remained in her program through her senior year graduated, while student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten, District IV Academic All-America and GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors on 40 occasions.
Another highlight of Langeland's career was her selection as the coach of the 1994 Big Ten All-Star team that toured England and Scotland. She led the all-stars to a perfect 6-0 record, the first men's or women's conference all-star team to go undefeated. Langeland again was chosen to coach the Big Ten All-Star team in 1996 and duplicated her feat of 1994 by leading the team to a 6-0 record during its tour of Denmark and Sweden.
During her coaching career, Langeland was an active member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and served on the Naismith Player of the Year Selection Committee and Kodak All-America Selection Committee. She also served on the NCAA Midwest Region Committee for the Division I Women's Basketball Championship and was a voter on the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll.
After retiring from her coaching position, Langeland moved into athletics administration and spent 12 years as the director of the MSU summer camps program while serving as a liaison to the MSU booster clubs. She oversaw the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductions, and in recent years, Langeland has coordinated the newest "Celebrate" initiative that combines the presentation of letter jackets to current student-athletes with induction ceremony for the latest Hall of Fame class. She also has been the sport administrator for gymnastics, rowing, field hockey, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field and men's and women's swimming and diving.
Langeland broke into coaching at Kentwood High School where she guided the basketball and track teams from 1973-75. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native earned a bachelor's degree in education from Calvin College in 1970 and a master's degree from Michigan State in 1977.