March 12, 2014
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
Do you believe? Are you elite?
Jimbo Fisher's message resonates with his players, staff, and fans alike. It's about being the best both on and off the field.
And to continue developing Florida State's elite program, exciting renovations are in place for mid-April. From the locker room, to coaches offices, and meeting rooms, the national champion Seminole football program is taking the next step.
"What we wanted to do was take the momentum of this year with the national championship and incorporate some of these ideas we had to redo the stuff the players and staff use every day," director of football operations Mark Robinson said. "Every day they use the locker room, they use the meeting room space, and coaches' offices. So what we wanted to do was come in and completely redesign all that area and rejuvenate it."
"But we are outdated, with a championship comes many expectations. When you're trying to recruit the best athletes in the country and our recruiting has gotten to where it is now," senior associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte said. "You've just got to stay at that level and maintain that level in all areas of your department. The locker room and the players' lounge, players' meeting rooms, coaches offices, it's just the total picture of the program as being an elite program."
And the centerpiece is the locker room. With state of the art graphics and technology that honors Florida State's legacy of elite athletes, the defending national champions will have an elite facility that it unlike any other in the country.
"We wanted it to be unique, we wanted it to be the showcase of this facility," Robinson said. "What we did was we looked around at other facilities and what other people were doing with their new locker rooms, and we didn't want to model ourselves after anyone else. "We're one of the top programs if not the top program in the country, we won a national championship and so we didn't want to build our locker room off somebody else.
"We asked this one company what they best locker they've designed, and they said that in football, we love the Dallas Cowboys locker room, and in baseball, we love the New York Yankees locker room. So we took the best of both their ideas and put them together in the individual lockers the players are going to use. When they see just the picture of it, they get so excited, so I can't wait to see them when they see the real thing."
"We've talked about putting names and numbers on the lockers of people who wore that number before them so they can understand what the history is," Bonasorte said." If you see a Deion Sanders, Chris Weinke, Charlie Ward, Fred Biletnikoff."
"The focal point is going to be statues of all the players who jerseys are currently retired," Robinson said. "One of the beliefs behind that is the ancestry and our current players will be sharing this locker room with all the great players who came through here. So when you see some of these retired jerseys like Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, their jersey will actually stay lit the whole time. The number will always be lit, and that's the belief behind the fact that you're sharing a locker with all the great players who have played here at Florida State."
And that's just the beginning. Updated football offices and meeting rooms will celebrate the history of Florida State and receive a graphically updated look. From Noles in the NFL, to the countless championships and awards, the elite will be on display. But the highlight of the football office renovation includes a new College GameDay set, celebrating the history of Florida State on ESPN's national pre game show.
"It's something that no other school has right now, and it will be unique to us," Robinson said. "It's going to be neat to bring the recruits by and show them what it's like on Gameday, it will almost be an exhibit of what College Gameday is like here and at the same time showcase what Gameday is like in Tallahassee."
"How many times do we have College GameDay here and people are trying to get on stage to take a picture?" Bonasorte said. "Now all of a sudden, you just have to come up to the offices and stand in front of it and take a picture, and it is the GameDay set. That concept was a very unique concept, it's a piece of our history. We have been on GameDay so many times, plus the relationship with Lee Corso, it's just a perfect fit."
And as the renovations begin in mid-April, everything would not be possible without the support of the Seminole Boosters, whose fundraising efforts have made this vision a reality.
"Our folks and our Boosters have really rallied around Jimbo. What you see here is an extremely bright future, this is not a one or two year phase," Bonasorte said. "We need our fans and groups to support us and contribute to these programs and contribute to the Boosters so we can continue to fund and make these available to continue to recruit the student-athletes to be successful in the future."
"It's amazing to have support from the Seminole Boosters and administration and everyone who has given to this project," Robinson said. "It makes the players feel great, it makes the coaches feel great, it's going to help us every day have a more functional place and somewhere you can show off when recruits are here."
It's the next step in developing the elite in Florida State's football program. To go higher and be a champion on and off the field.