Follow Coach Sue on Twitter: @CoachSueFSU
• Associated Press, WBCA and ESPNW National Coach of the Year (2015)
• Four-Time ACC Coach of the Year (2001, 2005, 2009, 2015)
• Women’s Basketball Coaches Association President (2013-15)
• Guided FSU to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 12 in the last 13 years
• Five NCAA Sweet 16s, three NCAA Elite Eights and two ACC co-regular season titles
• 41 AP Top 25 victories at Florida State
• All-Time Winningest Coach in FSU History
• 2013 Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award Recipient
CAREER RECORD: 379-233*
Florida State Women’s Basketball head coach Sue Semrau comes off her milestone 20th season with the Seminoles, and enters the 2017-18 year looking to build off another NCAA Elite Eight finish. 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 13 NCAA Tournaments, including three Elite Eight appearances in 2010, 2015 and 2017, five NCAA Sweet 16s in 2007, 2010, 2015. 2016 and 2017, won a pair of gold medals with USA Basketball and has seen 31 student-athletes earn academic all-conference honors. Over the last nine years, Florida State has averaged over 25 wins per season and had 15 players sign professional contracts either in the WNBA or with a European club team. Eight Seminoles have been selected in the WNBA Draft since 2009, most recently Leticia Romero (second round by Connecticut Sun) and Kai James (third round by New York Liberty). Prior to that, FSU’s last three WNBA Draft picks in Adut Bulgak (12th in 2016), Natasha Howard (fifth in 2014) and Jacinta Monroe (sixth in 2010) had 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
Florida State became one of just seven NCAA Division I programs to make the Elite Eight in two of the last three years, finishing with a 28-7 overall record in 2016-17. The Seminoles defeated a school-record nine AP Top 25 teams, including eighth-ranked and second-seeded Oregon State in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Stockton, Calif. FSU finished second in the ACC with a 13-3 conference record and tied its highest end-of-season ranking in the USA Today Poll at seventh. The 28 wins tied for the third-most in program history, with 10 of those victories coming against RPI Top 50 opponents.
Once again, there was no shortage of individual accolades for the Seminoles. Junior forward Shakayla Thomas became FSU’s first ACC Player of the Year, while senior point guard Leticia Romero became the program’s first three-time All-American. Both standouts were named Associated Press and WBCA All-Americans while being all-conference performers. Junior center Chatrice White was honored as the ACC Sixth Player of the Year, the third straight for FSU, and senior Brittany Brown was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team for the second straight season.
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 2016-17, 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 2017, FSU once again participated in this endeavor. FSU was also able to spread its message of hope and inspiration to the U.S. Virgin Islands around Thanksgiving in 2016, doing another shoe distribution overseas to an area middle school.
The 2016-17 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.
For the second straight year in 2017, FSU tied or led the ACC with four All-ACC Academic Team members. Brown, Ivey Slaughter, Romero and White each were FSU’s representatives.
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 20 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, since broken by the 2016-17 team) 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 previous 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.
Semrau’s 401 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 13 of FSU’s 16 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. She had accumulated 41 AP Top 25 wins in her 20 seasons. When she arrived in Tallahassee, FSU had not won vs. a nationally-ranked team in the previous four seasons.
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 11 20-win campaigns through 20 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 comiled 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.
|SEASON||OVERALL RECORD||ACC RECORD (PLACE)|
|20 SEASONS||401-233 (.632)*||174-134 (.565)|
*NCAA RECORD INCLUDES 379 CAREER WINS; UNOFFICIAL WIN TOTAL IS 401
#22 TOTAL WINS VACATED BY THE NCAA