You would be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic Seminole duo over the past 40 years than Guy and Delores Spearman who have eagerly provided Florida State University with their time and treasure.
Guy and Delores have each served on the Seminole Booster Board and the Alumni Association Board, albeit at different times. A 1975 graduate of the College of Social Work, Guy Spearman has served on the College’s Leadership Council.
The Spearmans have contributed to the Alumni Association and Seminole Boosters, where they have been Platinum Golden Chiefs, endowed scholarship donors and original skybox holders.
Their generosity to people and to FSU knows no boundaries. In addition to funding FSU athletics scholarships, they have provided scholarships for foster children, undergraduate and graduate military veterans, undergraduate and graduate social work students from Brevard County, Florida, and made donations to the Veteran’s Film Festival, the Marching Chiefs Instrument Fund and more.
Guy was awarded the 2017 Faculty Senate Torch Award and the 2013 College of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni in Social Policy and Administration Award. Guy and Delores were each inducted into the FSU Alumni Association’s Circle of Gold, “whose service and achievements reflect FSU’s tradition of excellence.”
“Whenever Florida State has needed anything whether advice, political help or financial support, Guy and Delores Spearman have been very generous,” said Seminole Booster President and CEO Andy Miller. “And, collectively, we have called on them many times and they have always answered.”
Guy Spearman’s service to Seminole Boosters was recognized in 2014 when the Seminole Booster Board presented him with the prestigious George Langford Award. The plaque states: “Guy’s counsel to Seminole Boosters and to our University Presidents and his contributions in dealing with both the Executive and Legislative branches of Government are truly beyond our ability to properly value.”
Born and raised in Cocoa, Florida, Delores makes sure the Seminoles are well represented in Brevard County, where she and Guy share a home along the Indian River.
Guy and Delores were instrumental in bringing the Seminole Boosters Spring Tour back to the Space Coast after a dozen or more years without it. The Spearmans talked to other Seminoles in the area to gauge interest and then made the right phone calls to Tallahassee to re-schedule a tour stop.
Two spectacular tour stops later, Seminole fires are once again burning brightly in an otherwise Gator stronghold.
Why does the dynamic duo do so much for Florida State?
“Why?” Guy responded. “I love the community and everything it stands for. Our son and daughter in law are graduates and our grandchildren are a long way from going to college but we’ve got them thinking the right way.”
“We both love FSU, Seminole Boosters and are very happy with John Thrasher and Willie Taggart,” Delores said. “It is a big honor assisting Seminole Boosters and Andy Miller and coming into contact with so many donors as a member of the Seminole Booster Board.”
Spearman’s Seminole pride and sense of humor were the subject of a 1987 Orlando Sentinel article.
According to the Sentinel: “In the late 1970s he was banned for a while from Clyde’s, a popular bar near the Capitol, for harassing the owners with a rubber alligator hanging from a noose.
“The owners (at that time) were University of Florida fans and had filled the establishment with Gators paraphernalia. Spearman supports the rival Florida State University Seminoles.
“On the weekend of a big game, Spearman says he went to the bar’s second floor and dangled the hanging gator just out of the owners’ reach. He did it long enough to be thrown out.
“Unfortunately for Clyde’s, which thrives on business from the lobbyists, Spearman took his friends with him to other bars.
“He said the owners asked him to return and end the boycott. ‘When I went back they carried me in on their shoulders and gave me a bottle of Dom Perignon.’ “
The Spearmans recently made a special $500,000 commitment to the FSU football program they love and have presented head coach Willie Taggart with a check for $100,000 at each of the past two spring tour stops. “Are we committed? Oh, yeah! We are 100 percent committed to Willie Taggart,” Guy said. “He’s a good person and good for FSU.”
Guy and Delores wish others had the opportunity to get to know Taggart like they have over the past 18 months. “Willie Taggart seems to genuinely care about the student-athletes,” Delores said. “He really takes them under his wings. He is doing good things at FSU.”
Guy Spearman spent a lifetime as one of Florida’s most-respected lobbyists, handling issues for entities such as Kennedy Space Center, the St. John’s River Management District, Budweiser, Gannett Media and USA Today.
He was introduced to Florida State while serving with Governor Reubin Askew, an FSU graduate. And his first connection was with former Alumni Association Director Jim Melton.
During their time in Tallahassee, where the couple maintains a second home, the Spearmans came to know many former presidents and their wives, including current FSU President John Thrasher and his wife, Jean, as well as athletic director David Coburn and his wife, Mary.
Their years serving FSU has provided them with a great deal of insight into Florida State’s current leadership team and the Spearmans believe FSU has the right people leading the program at the right time.
“Delores sat on the Presidential Selection Committee and moved John’s name for nomination,” Guy said proudly. “Someone else would have done it but she did it first. John Thrasher is at the right place at the right time. Look at how the faculty have come around to him. They really have.”
After graduation from Cocoa High, Delores went to college in Savannah and became a dental hygienist, which she practiced for 23 years. It was Guy who began bringing Delores to Tallahassee, where she would eventually earn a second degree in Historical Administration and Public History.
Delores has put her degree to good use as a volunteer with the Florida Historical Society, which is headquartered in Cocoa Village, a short, canopied-drive from their Riverside home.
Spearman became very familiar with Coburn in the halls of the Legislature and expresses great respect for him.
“We’ve known David and Mary Coburn since the 1970s,” Guy said. “Delores working with David has been a very good thing. David never missed a game during those years. David Coburn is someone you want looking after your money, but David is much more than that. He was Chief of Staff and in charge of policy. Coburn is the right man at the right time, too.”
The Spearmans’ relationships with Thrasher, Coburn and Miller, along with their experience on the Alumni and Booster boards, provides an informed viewpoint on the Florida State University Athletic Association, a new direct support organization, which will provide governance to Athletics and Seminole Boosters.
“It’s a very good idea because it will bring all the stakeholders together when making decisions that will affect the University, Athletics and the Boosters,” Delores said.
The Spearmans also have great respect for David’s wife, Dr. Mary Coburn, who was Vice President of Student Affairs under T.K. Wetherell, Eric Barron and John Thrasher.
“It was Mary Coburn who got us involved with the Unconquered Scholars Program for foster kids,” Guy said. “She introduced us to Lisa Jackson and the kids over lunch at the University Center Club and Delores and I said we have to do this. We fell in love with the program.”
The program provides an array of support services promoting overall success to youth who experienced foster care, homelessness, relative care, or ward of the State status.
As VP of Student Affairs, Mary Coburn came to know all there is to know about student life whether it be the insecurities of incoming freshmen, veterans, Greek Life, or the unique challenges FSU’s student-athletes face.
David was Chief of Staff to Barron and Thrasher, and more-importantly an active spouse, which the Spearmans believe uniquely prepared him for his current role in athletics.
“Mary has been involved with all the students at FSU, not just the student-athletes,” Delores said. “She and David are a good pair.”
There is an old fundraising axiom, which applies to the Spearmans: “People give to people for causes they believe in.”
A self-described “reluctant soldier,” Guy was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam era and that experience, and the men he worked with, made a lasting impression on him, which now benefits FSU veterans.
“When I first arrived at Ft. Polk for Infantry Training the lady checking me in said I had a high test score and asked why I hadn’t gone to Officer Candidate School, which was a three-year commitment rather than two as an enlisted man,” Spearman said. “She told me to put on my Class A uniform and report to the general who was looking for an enlisted man to talk with the troops, as they wouldn’t talk to officers.”
Spearman did as ordered and served as a liaison between the General and the 20k troops on post. As a result, the Spearmans fund scholarships for veterans attending FSU.
“The Spearmans provide the perfect blueprint for outstanding Seminoles,” said athletic director David Coburn. “They both love the university for all the right reasons. They both are willing to give, both time and treasure. They both are successful in their private lives, as spouses, parents and grandparents. They are the kind of rocks on which this University community is built.”
Today, Guy and Delores are enjoying life with their children and grandchildren and, of course, their Seminoles. While his clients won’t let him completely retire, he has slowed down.
Later this month the power couple will relax on the bi-annual Seminole Booster Cruise in the company of friends they have met through their involvement with Florida State University. Plus in the fall, they’ll be back in Tallahassee — in the board room and skybox — doing what they love best, volunteering for Seminole Boosters and cheering on their Seminoles.