Follow Coach Sue on Twitter: @CoachSueFSU
Entering her 18th season as the head women's basketball coach at Florida State, Sue Semrau, a three-time winner of the ACC Coach of the Year award and Florida State's all-time leader in wins, has earned a reputation as a coach that not only keeps her team in the national rankings by leading her players to victory but also one that helps foster the personal and professional growth of the student-athletes.
"Coach Sue" has guided the Seminoles to 10 NCAA Tournaments, including a 2010 Elite Eight appearance, won a pair of gold medals with USA Basketball and has seen 27 student-athletes earn academic all-conference honors. Over the last six years, Florida State has averaged nearly 23 wins per season and had 14 players sign professional contracts either in the WNBA or with a European club team. Nine Seminoles have been selected in the WNBA Draft in the last 10 years, most recently Natasha Howard who was chosen fifth overall by the Indiana Fever in 2014 to mark the highest pick in FSU history.
Semrau is so respected among her peers in the coaching community that she was named president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in the summer 2013 after serving as the vice president since 2010. Semrau's two-year term will last until the end of the 2014-15 season.
This Past Season
Florida State reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the 11th straight time, earning a No. 10 seed in the Stanford Regional and defeating No. 7 seed Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, by a 55-44 score. The win means that the `Noles have earned at least one victory in every NCAA Tournament they have participated in since 1991.
Semrau helped guide senior Natasha Howard to one of the best seasons and careers in school history. In 2013-14, Howard garnered multiple All-America honors from the Associated Press and WBCA, generating a single-season record 15 double-doubles and five 30-point games. Howard's dominance in the low post included an average of 20.5 points per game, the highest by a Seminole since Bev Burnett posted 21.3 points per game in the 1987-88 season.
Howard was not alone. She teamed with dynamic point guard Cheetah Delgado, who finished her senior season shattering the school's single-season assists record with 216. Her average of 6.5 assists per game was the highest by an ACC player in six years.
Overall, Florida State earned 10 Top 100 RPI victories in the 2013-14 campaign and once again reached the Top 25 polls, peaking at No. 18 in the AP and No. 17 in the USA Today Poll.
Molding True Student-Athletes
The 2013-14 Seminoles made a big impact in the community around the holiday season, visiting the Ronald McDonald House around Thanksgiving time and participating in the Soul Santa event in mid-December to help give presents to families.
Additionally, the Seminoles have performed a variety of services throughout the Tallahassee area and have been known to extend a helping hand when on the road, making visits to the Boys and Girls Club at the Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando and elementary schools in Harlem, West Chester and Wadsworth, Ohio and Martinsville, Ind., as well as the Duke Hospital in Durham, N.C.
In August 2013, Semrau and the Seminoles held a basketball clinic for youth in Dakar, Senegal, in addition to visiting an orphanage during the team's 2013 Foreign Tour.
These efforts have molded countless Seminoles into superstars in the game of life following their hoops careers. Current assistant coach Brooke Wyckoff (Class of 2001) and Christian Hunnicutt (Class of 2011) each earned prestigious ACC Postgraduate Scholarships, while Vanessa Fuchs (Class of 2001) served as Interim Athletics Director at Florida State and is currently the Seminoles' Senior Women's Administrator.
After the season was complete, star forward Jacinta Monroe was taken sixth overall in the 2010 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics; a draft slot that was the highest ever for an FSU women's basketball player prior to Natasha Howard's selection as the fifth pick by the Indiana Fever in 2014.
During a 24-8 campaign in 2010-11, the Seminoles extended their NCAA Tournament streak to seven consecutive years, nabbing another No. 3 seed. Along the way, forward Cierra Bravard nabbed honorable mention All-America honors and teamed with point guard Courtney Ward to capture All-ACC accolades.
Semrau basically built the Seminoles from scratch, as she inherited a program coming off of a 5-22 record in 1996-97 and hadn't reached double figures in wins in four years.
By her fourth year, Semrau had completely turned the program around, capturing a 19-12 record and the first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade. The 2000-01 season served as the jumpstart for unprecedented success.
FSU had only four 20-win seasons before Semrau guided the Noles to six 20-win seasons over a seven-year stretch beginning in 2004-05. She has now led the `Noles to eight 20-win campaigns through 17 seasons.
A Respected and Seasoned Coach
Before her hiring at Northern Illinois, Semrau served as head women's basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Occidental College in Los Angeles for four years where she compiled a 51-47 overall record. She also coached soccer for two seasons and was responsible for the administrative duties of fundraising and promotions at the Division III institution.
Semrau also worked as the public relations and promotions director for the L.A. Heat professional soccer team from 1986-87, and as the public relations director for the Seattle Storm soccer team in the previous year.
A native of Seattle, Wash., Semrau is a graduate of Shorecrest High School. She went on to attend the University of Puget Sound for two years. Semrau transferred to the University of California-San Diego in 1984 where she was a team co-captain and Co-MVP. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in communications and received her master's degree in athletic administration from the University of Southern California in 1988.