Since succeeding Hall of Famer Terry Long as Florida State’s head men’s and women’s track & field coach prior to the 2004 season, Bob Braman has seen the Seminoles ascend to a position of national prominence, highlighted by a pair of NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2006 and 2008.
The FSU men have finished fourth or better seven times in the last 10 outdoor seasons and fifth or better six times in the last nine indoor campaigns, including a fourth-place finish in 2014.
Simply put, the Seminoles are synonymous with success on the national stage.
Florida State’s trophy case provides substantial evidence. The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) bestowed the John McDonnell Award, presented to the program that posts the highest average NCAA Championships finish from cross country, indoor and outdoor seasons, for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years.
The FSU men placed in the top five in the final McDonnell Award tabulations for five consecutive years. Not to be outdone, the Florida State women have finished sixth or higher for five consecutive years - one of only two programs that can make that claim - in the competition for the Terry Crawford Award, signifying comprehensive excellence on the women’s side.
Over the course of Braman’s first 11 seasons, the Seminole men have won nine Atlantic Coast Conference indoor and eight outdoor championships, including a sweep of the 2014 titles. In 22 combined team championship opportunities, FSU has 17 ACC championships and five runner-up finishes.
The Florida State women have been building their own impressive ACC resume, capped by the 2014 sweep of indoor and outdoor team titles to earn the program’s second Triple Crown; a feat they first achieved in 2009 under Braman’s watch.
Beyond the team success, the Seminoles have amassed 199 All-American honors between the track & field and cross country programs, producing 36 national champions on the track. In 2011, Ngoni Makusha claimed The Bowerman Award - college track & field’s version of the Heisman Trophy - after claiming NCAA titles in the 100 (he set the collegiate record, 9.89), long jump and 4x100 relay.
Much of FSU’s success can be traced to the continuity within Braman’s outstanding coaching staff, led by veterans Ken Harnden, Dennis Nobles and Karen Harvey.
FSU’s excellence has allowed Braman to stockpile a total of 35 national, regional and conference Coach of the Year honors.
Through the relentless efforts of the coaching staff under his direction, the Seminole brand extends well beyond the borders. Twelve student-athletes who competed collegiately for the Seminoles participated in the 2012 London Olympics. It marked the second consecutive Summer Games the `Noles were represented by a dozen Olympians.
Braman’s Florida State men’s cross country program has reached unprecedented heights, advancing to the NCAA Championships 11 times, highlighted by a runner-up finish in 2010 and a fifth-place showing in 2012. To add perspective to those accomplishments, prior to his arrival the Seminoles had just one NCAA Championship appearance and produced two All-Americans.
Braman’s arrival Florida State had made just one NCAA Championship appearance and produced just two All-Americans. Six Seminoles have earned All-American honors on his watch, including five since 2010.
Not surprisingly, the Seminoles have been one of the premier programs in the ACC over the course of Braman’s tenure. Prior to his arrival in 2000, the FSU men’s cross country team had not finished higher than seventh in nine ACC Championship meets. Braman matched that all-time best finish in his first season and hasn’t looked back. The Noles have 13 top-five finishes in 15 seasons, highlighted by the program’s first ACC title in 2010. FSU has five runner-up finishes in that stretch.
The `Noles won back-to-back NCAA South Region titles in 2011 and 2012, the second of which came at Apalachee Regional Park, FSU’s home course, which Braman was instrumental in developing as part of a joint venture between Leon County, the Gulf Winds Track Club and the university. The South Region Championships will return to FSU’s home course in 2014.
In addition to his work with the men, Braman also laid the foundation for the women’s cross country program, which he directed from 2000-2006 before turning it over to Harvey. He guided the women to the first NCAA Championship appearances (2002, 2003 and 2006) in school history.
Prior to his arrival in Tallahassee, Braman enjoyed 17 years of national success at the University of South Florida, where he began his coaching career as the men’s cross country assistant in 1983. He was promoted to head cross country coach in 1985 and launched the women’s program in 1986. When USF began its track program in 1991, Braman assumed head coaching duties for that sport as well.
A Tampa, Fla. native, Braman graduated from the University of Florida in 1980 with a degree in broadcasting. He was a three-year captain of the Florida cross country team and earned All-SEC honors in cross country (1979-80) and indoor track (1979), while setting the school record in the indoor three-mile run.
He is married to the former Debbie Turner. They have two sons, Steven and Tyler, who are Florida State graduates.