Feb. 18, 2004
On our last road trip to Maryland, we had the pleasure of having Florida State President Dr. T.K. Wetherell and Mary Coburn, Vice President for Student Affairs, along with us. It was great having the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level. After dinner the night before the game, I sat down with President Wetherell and asked him a few questions:
Being a former Florida State student-athlete, do you feel that is an advantage when relating to current student-athletes?
“Well, I hope that it’s an advantage. The world is so much different now. Athletics is so much different. The athletes still play the game, still have to go to class, still have to graduate and be eligible. Athletes today are under so much more pressure then what we had. It’s the media. Almost all the games are televised. People know who they are and they are just so much more accountable then we were, so from that side, it’s more difficult to be an athlete. But it’s also the same games, the same travel deals, the temptations and the same accountability, so I hope I can relate a little better and I hope that they feel a little more comfortable.”
What has it been like traveling with 30 women?
“Heaven! (laugh) I try to travel with every sports team at least once and usually two or three times. This is a great trip because I get to travel with the women’s basketball team and I’ve got some business in Washington that I’ll do before the game. I’ll be able to kill to birds with one stone. It’s fun to watch every team and be apart of them and see how they act and react to situations. Every Florida State team that I have been on the road with has been fun and they represent the University well, moving around through airports and things like that. I am really proud of them.”
Why did you choose a career in higher education administration?
“Well I wasn’t good enough to coach. I always enjoyed college campuses, enjoyed college students. I love to be on the college campus. I love the activities that are there. Young people keep you on your toes. I felt like that when my life was over, I want to look back and say maybe I made a difference somewhere. It never was how much money I could make; I just enjoy a college campus.”
What are your thoughts on the direction of the women’s basketball program?
“I think we are doing great here at Florida State. We’re heading in the right direction. I think that of our basketball program and all of our Olympic sports and spring sports. The ACC used to take us for granted, I don’t think they do that anymore. I am very pleased on not just where we are in women’s athletics at Florida State but where women’s athletics is nationally and throughout the ACC. I think more and more people are attending games, more and more enjoy the games, and we have a better venue to showcase our athletes. I am very proud where we are and where women’s athletics is going.”
When you’re not working, what do you do with your time?
“Seems like I’m working all of the time, but I have a ranch and I enjoy getting out on my ranch, getting away from my telephone, television, computer and those kinds of things. I’m a pilot, so I like to fly airplanes a little bit. Just kind of get away and chill out from the pressure of being on stage and whatever that takes. Sometimes that’s walking in the woods, going fishing, just hopping on a plane and buzzing off somewhere.”
What are you passionate about?
“I am passionate about our athletes getting an education. I am passionate about leaving Florida State better than you found it whether you’re an athlete, a student, a college professor. I am passionate about life and trying to live all of it. You’re only here for a little while and I think people ought to experience everything they can and hopefully become a better personal and maybe influence somebody else’s life so they’ll be passionate about something.”