Follow Coach Sue on Twitter: @CoachSueFSU • Associated Press, WBCA and ESPNW National Coach of the Year (2015) • Four-Time ACC Coach of the Year • Women's Basketball Coaches Association President (2013-15) • All-Time Winningest Coach in FSU History • 2013 Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award Recipient
CAREER RECORD: 373-225 (.624)*
Florida State Women’s Basketball Sue Semrau has shown unmatched loyalty to the Seminole program, preparing for her 20th season as head coach in Tallahassee in 2016-17. A four-time winner of the ACC Coach of the Year award and Florida State's all-time leader in wins, Semrau 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 12 NCAA Tournaments, including two Elite Eight appearances in 2010 and 2015, four NCAA Sweet 16s in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2016, won a pair of gold medals with USA Basketball and has seen 30 student-athletes earn academic all-conference honors. Over the last eight years, Florida State has averaged over 24 wins per season and had 15 players sign professional contracts either in the WNBA or with a European club team. Six Seminoles have been selected in the WNBA Draft since 2009, most recently Adut Bulgak being chosen in the first round by the New York Liberty in 2016. FSU’s last three WNBA Draft picks in Bulgak, Natasha Howard (fifth in 2014) and Jacinta Monroe (sixth in 2010) have all gone in the first round.
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 recently finished up her tenure as WBCA President following the 2014-15 season.
This Past Season The Seminoles made their second straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and finished with an overall record of 25-8. FSU’s back-to-back round of 16 bids marked the first for the program in consecutive fashion, and the Seminoles were one of just eight programs who made it the regional semifinals in both 2015 and 2016.
FSU finished 13-3 in the ACC in 2015-16, its second-most wins in the conference since joining in 1991-92. The Seminoles ended at 12th in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, its third-highest final ranking ever. FSU will enter the 2016-17 campaign having spent 32 consecutive weeks in the Top 25, and managed to stay in the Top 15 wire-to-wire for the first time ever in 2015-16. Three WBCA All-Americans emerged in Semrau’s 19th season, including Bulgak, point guard Leticia Romero and forward Shakayla Thomas.
Molding True Student-Athletes As successful as Florida State has been on the court, Semrau's commitment to community service is just as important to her program's identity. Once again in 2015-16, Semrau partnered the Seminoles with Samaritan's Feet, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives through shoe distributions around the world. Semrau annually coached a game barefoot in an effort to raise money, and the Seminoles took a break from the 2010 Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas to give back on Thanksgiving. In 2016, FSU once again participated in this endeavor and held a shoe distribution in the Tallahassee community.
The 2014-15 Seminoles once again fulfilled their duties of giving back to the community and making strong connections within the Big Bend area. FSU influenced both children and adults by visiting schools, playgrounds and other locations that allowed it to positively impact and connect with the community. The sight of FSU Women’s Basketball coaches and student-athletes performing good deeds around the community is not an uncommon one.
Additionally, the Seminoles 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.
Recent Success The 2009-10 season served as the perfect example of just how strong the Florida State's women's basketball program has become under Semrau. The Seminoles captured their second consecutive regular-season ACC Co-Championship and made it all the way to the Elite Eight of the annual NCAA Tournament as a then-program-best No. 3 seed for the second straight season. Along the way, FSU set the school record for most wins in a season with 29, most conference triumphs ever with 12 and highest national ranking ever at No. 9. Those three school marks were all broken by the 2014-15 team.
After the 2009-10 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. Overall, Semrau has guided eight players to All-America honors in her 18 years.
It could be argued that Semrau’s best coaching job occurred in the 2014-15 record-setting year where new accomplishments were being made seemingly every game. Florida State finished with a 32-5 overall record, shattering the school record for wins while also setting new records for ACC wins (14), Top 25 wins (6) and regular-season victories (27). For the first time ever, the Seminoles finished undefeated at the Donald L. Tucker Center, going 16-0.
FSU highlighted its year by earning a 66-65 win over No. 3 seed Arizona State in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Greensboro, N.C., reaching its second Elite Eight appearance in program history. The Noles finished second in the ACC regular season with a 14-2 record, reached the ACC Tournament title game for the first time ever and garnered a program-best No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before taking down Alabama State (91-49) and 20th-ranked FGCU (65-47) in the first two rounds at the Tucker Center.
Semrau earned several national and conference coaching honors after FSU was predicted to finish fifth in the ACC and ultimately steam-rolled most of its competition. She was named the ACC Coach of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Panel and the ACC coaches. Semrau was also named the ESPNW National Coach of the Year, the WBCA Coach of the Year and the Associated Press Coach of the Year. Many college basketball fans, media and other personnel took notice of the way Coach Sue was able to blend a team with six new players and create one of the most collective, team-oriented and entertaining groups in the sport.
Semrau’s fourth ACC Coach of the Year honor gives her the distinction of having the most among active ACC coaches.
The fact that the 2014-15 team became the first in program history to average five double-figure scorers proves how well a new cast of faces played together under Semrau’s system. Offensively, the Noles averaged 75.5 points which was their highest in the last 24 years. FSU also set the single-season record for 3-point field goals made (216), offensive rebounds (625), defensive rebounds (986) and total rebounds (1,611). One of its most impressive feats was being the only Division I basketball team – men’s or women’s – to out-rebound every opponent during the regular season. Overall, FSU out-rebounded 36 of its 37 opponents.
Changed Culture Semrau's 373 career win total with the Seminoles more than doubles the second-most victories by an FSU coach (Marynell Meadors, 132), and her tenure has accounted for 12 of FSU's 15 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances.
Semrau basically built the Seminoles from scratch, as she inherited a program coming off 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 10 20-win campaigns through 19 seasons, including a 32-win season in 2014-15.
A Respected and Seasoned Coach Prior to coming to Florida State, Semrau served three years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Wisconsin under Jane Albright. While in Madison, she contributed to the Badgers' three-straight winning seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program's first ever back-to-back 20-win seasons. Semrau first joined Albright at Northern Illinois in 1991 where she assisted in leading NIU to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
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.