“Membership in Seminole Boosters is the lifeblood of the athletics budget. Your membership funds scholarships and essential services for more than 550 student-athletes.”
Michael Alford, Seminole Boosters CEO
This is the fifth in a series of One Tribe Campaign articles written to examine how your contribution to Seminole Boosters provides services for more than 550 male and female student-athletes.
This article focuses on coaching — preparing student athletes to be the very best they can be in competition and in life.
“At the risk of stating the obvious, coaches are critical,” said athletics director David Coburn. “If you spend any time at all with coaches, you realize what a thrill it is for them to actually develop these student-athletes. Coach Norvell and I were talking about (the thrill of developing players). Leonard Hamilton is so proud of what’s happened over the years, with his kids. You talk to our coaches and the thrill they get from and developing them, not just as athletes, but as young human beings, and you understand why they are into coaching. Developing young people is what they do and they all perceive clearly how critical that piece is in our athletic mission.”
Your contribution to Seminole Boosters provides the funding to help the athletic department attract and retain the right coaches, competitive and caring individuals who share Florida State’s vision for success on the field, in the classroom and in preparation for life.
Coaches are one of the following essential services, which account for more than 45 percent of FSU’s $80 million budget:
Part 5 Coaches
Facilities and Equipment
Sue Semrau missed everything about being with her Florida State family. She watched the games — and like many of us watching and yelling at the TV at times. But sitting in the same room as her mom and dad, she cheered and felt an overwhelming sense of pride at how the young Seminoles battled through more than a dozen schedule changes and reached the NCAA Tournament.
“At first it was brutal,” Semrau said. “I’m on a couch watching TV, listening to announcers say, ‘What’s Brooke going to do here?’ And I’m thinking, ‘You guys never know what we’re going to do.’ Just watching that, screaming at the TV, for some kid to do something differently. But throughout the course of it, I learned so much about myself. I learned so much more about almost coaching the entire game and a little bit of an overall view versus coaching in the moment.”
There were, of course, many times when Semrau wanted to be back in Tallahassee. But Semrau knew she had preached family first to her players and had to be back home in Seattle, helping to take care of her mom, Rosemary, who was battling ovarian cancer.
“Her last scan after the treatment showed no signs of cancer,” Semrau said. “She had the rarest kind of ovarian cancer, which is the fastest growing, called clear cell carcinoma. And so they were pretty aggressive with the chemo treatments to make sure because you couldn’t always see it. The fact that we can’t see it, we are celebrating. And at the same time, she’s got to meet a lot of different markers every three months.”
When her mom and dad received coronavirus shots, and a new puppy as a welcome home gift, Semrau knew it was time to return to FSU. She rejoined the team on April 1, with Brooke Wyckoff returning to her previous title as associate head coach.
“I am so grateful to Florida State and the administration for allowing me to do that,” Semrau said. “And not a lot of administrations would have done that, especially in a COVID year.”
Semrau had the support of players, assistants and administration from the start. Athletics director David Coburn knew what Semrau meant to the program, how she built consistent winning teams that played in the NCAA Tournament (each season from 2005-11 as well as 2013-19) and graduated players. Semrau has been committed to the program since she arrived on campus in 1997, and Coburn knew FSU athletics should show its gratitude in allowing Semrau to take a single-season leave of absence.
“She’s a star,” Coburn said. “She’s very, very special. She means a lot to the entire athletics department, not just women’s basketball. We are thrilled to have her back on the sideline. Really looking forward to this coming fall with her. Brooke did a fabulous job given the circumstances.”
When Semrau told the players last fall, there were tears but there was also understanding. She also had the perfect interim head coach already on staff in Wyckoff, who played at FSU from 1997-2001, had experience playing in the WNBA and spent a decade on the Seminoles’ bench as an assistant coach.
“I look at what our team was able to do, and what our coaching staff was able to do, and I’m quite amazed,” Semrau said. “I’m quite amazed at all of the programs in the country that were (in a) stop-and-start situation. And I know I would have had a really hard time coaching in a mask. I was just downstairs with our team. We were doing some stuff. It was the first time I’d ever coached in a mask. And wow. So, yeah, I was so proud of them. To keep the streak of going to the NCAA Tournament, I think that was really a great feat for Brooke with a relatively new team and all of their different roles.”
There may come a day in the future where administrators will pursue Wyckoff and the job will be too good to pass up. But in the near future FSU has the luxury few schools have: Two women with experience as head coaches. They understand the responsibilities and have walked in each other’s shoes, so to speak. The value of the perspective Wyckoff has will strengthen the team in the 2021-22 season.
“For her to be coming back is such a gift,” Semrau said. “For me, for the players, it really gives us a kind of a 1-2 punch in a very different way. And she’s excited. She said, ‘I can help you more now that I’ve been in this position.’ And I can help her more now knowing what she’s able to accomplish on the court. But then we had a lot of things that weren’t having to be done because of COVID that a head coach does.
“You’re so much of a CEO in so many phases. And I want her to experience that side of it this year. And she’s excited about that really as the associate head coach directing everything off the floor to really let us let me get back to focusing on the floor, with recruiting and then with building the relationships back with the players.”
The One Tribe Campaign
Florida State University is a preeminent, Top 20 public institution, and Sue Semrau is one of the coaches who have helped the Seminoles play in 15 NCAA Tournaments in her 23 seasons in Tallahassee.
In addition to winning games and gaining knowledge, FSU coaches like Semrau are helping their student-athletes graduate and learn the value of giving back to the community and becoming successful members of society.
Your Seminole Booster membership helps FSU Athletics develop these future leaders and outstanding citizens.
In a quest to achieve more, we are excited to announce the launch of the One Tribe Campaign! Your 2021 Annual Fund contribution will strengthen our Annual Membership in support of the following areas of Athletics: coaching, support staff, sports medicine, academics, mental health, nutrition, scholarships, professional development and COVID-19 response.
As of April 16, 2021:
2021 Members: 9,563 (74% to ambitious 13,000-member goal)
Thank You For Choosing Our Team!
Thank you for your continued support of Florida State Athletics! Florida State Athletics simply can not compete for championships or provide the educational and leadership opportunities for student-athletes without you. You are a vital part of the team. If you have questions about giving or benefits, or would like to make a contribution over the phone, please call us at (850) 644-1830 or visit FSUonetribe.com.