March 13, 2006
A short time after the Florida State women’s basketball team learned of its bid to the 2006 NCAA Tournament, a new tradition was begun at the University. Following the announcement, the team, staff, administrators and fans all gathered at the “Unconquered” statue which sits on Williams Plaza at Langford Green just south of Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium for the lighting of the spear.
FSU adopted a policy last week that will mean flames will lap more frequently from the spear of the “Unconquered” statue recognizing events of great significance and accomplishment on the FSU campus.
“We were obviously thrilled when we were approached with the opportunity to light the spear,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Obviously we have so much respect for our football program and to be the first team to experience that lighting of the torch for a special occasion is really awesome.”
Unconquered, a 31-foot high sculpture that depicts a spear-brandishing Seminole astride a rearing horse, was designed by Fritz White to capture the indomitable spirit of the Seminole people and those who have adopted that spirit as a symbol for their university.
Since its dedication in 2003, the spear has been set ablaze at sunset before FSU home football games only and it burns until sunrise the morning after the game. The new policy means the spear will be lit when FSU wins an Atlantic Coast Conference team championship in any sport, or an NCAA individual championship in any sport. In addition, the spear would be lit the night an FSU team is selected for NCAA Championship competition and will burn for 24 hours. For any sport in which the NCAA does not select full teams (currently swimming and track and field), the spear will be lit if five or more Florida State individuals qualify to compete. For sports with preliminary and final rounds of NCAA championships, if the team advances to the final site (i.e.: Final Four, College Cup, College World Series), the spear will be lit again to recognize the achievement.
The spear may also be lit to recognize the winning of a “National Player of the Year” award in any sport (i.e. Heisman Trophy, Rhodes Scholarship).
The new policy will also allow the spear to be lit on the night of graduations and convocations, along with other special occasions as approved by the President.