For Immediate Release
March 27, 2017
Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Beth Harrison, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com
Sue Semrau’s Seminoles Aim for First Final Four
Semrau Has Been a Longtime Supporter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes; No. 3 Florida State Takes On No. 1 South Carolina Tonight
KANSAS CITY, Mo—Florida State’s Sue Semrau never thought she’d be a basketball coach, let alone see a 20-year career on the hardwood. But tonight, Semrau’s Seminoles are fighting to play another day in the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship. A win tonight would seal the Seminoles’ first trip to the Final Four, after making their 12th tournament appearance in 13 years. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET.
Semrau has been a longtime friend and supporter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org), sharing her faith story with FCA Magazine as she strives to reach players on a much higher level than the basketball court.
A Washington native, Semrau played college basketball at the University of Puget Sound and then UC San Diego. After graduation, she worked in public relations for professional soccer franchises before landing her first coaching job—or jobs—leading the women’s basketball and soccer programs at Division III Occidental College in Los Angeles.
“I didn’t think I would ever be a coach,” Semrau said. “But once I started, I just really fell in love with the game even more, and it brought about the merging of basketball and my faith.”
A lifelong believer in God, it was through a volunteer stint at an FCA Camp that Semrau began to understand the significance of a relationship with Christ. After hearing the testimony of fellow basketball coach Debbie Haliday, Semrau made an on-the-spot decision to begin a new walk with Christ. She began attending a vibrant local church and delved deep into the gift she had been given.
“It wasn’t a decision about Jesus,” she said. “The Bible says that even Satan believes and shudders when it comes to Jesus. I always believed in Jesus, but so what? So does the devil. It’s become less about believing in Jesus and all about truly accepting the gift of salvation I was being offered and what I would do with it.
“It’s like a basketball pass,” she continued. “You can choose to receive a pass, or you can do nothing and just let it go out of bounds. But once you receive the pass, the real question becomes what you’ll do with it. I realized it was time for me to create scoring opportunities.”
Semrau’s career continued, and at an FCA Camp she met FCA Hall of Champions inductee Jane Albright, who later invited Semrau to her coaching staff at Northern Illinois. Three seasons later, Albright moved to a coaching position at the University of Wisconsin and took Semrau with her as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. At that same FCA Camp in 1997, Semrau met folks from Florida State who wanted to interview her for an open head women’s basketball coaching job. The Seminoles routinely found themselves at the bottom of the ACC standings during that era and hadn’t had a winning record in 10 seasons.
“I had no desire to go to Florida State,” Semrau recalled.
But thanks to her renewed relationship with God, she was able to hear His call as clearly as the one she received from FSU administrators. Semrau felt Him telling her to take the next step and go where He was leading.
“I really felt like God was asking me if I feared Him or the world more,” she said. “The world said the head coaching position at Florida State was not a good job and that the Seminoles would never be good at basketball. It was a football school. The world also said that you don’t take your first Division I head coaching job in the ACC.”
But with some fear and trembling, Semrau agreed to head to Tallahassee to take over a team that hadn’t reached double figures in wins in four seasons. From day one, she steadily built the Seminoles’ program and continued to pour into the FCA community, serving as a coach and speaker at various FCA Camps and clinics throughout the country.
Fast-forward 20 years, and Semrau’s Seminoles are perennial powerhouse contenders. Did she ever think she would spend two decades at Florida State? Certainly not. But now she knows the God brings all things together for her good.
“I just don’t pay a lot of attention to the future, because, if I could have planned my life in advance, this would not be what I planned,” she said. “It’s been incredible. It’s like an adventure. What’s God going to do next? What does He want me to do next? I certainly never guessed I’d be at Florida State for 16 years, so whatever He wants me to do and wherever He wants me to go, I’m open to it.”
To interview a representative from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, contact Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102, or Beth Harrison at 610-584-1096, ext. 104, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.