September 9, 2020
FSU head coach Sue Semrau taking leave of absence for the 2020-21 season
Former Seminole player Brooke Wyckoff will become the interim head coach.
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Sue Semrau coaches the Seminoles at Wake Forest on Jan. 23, 2020. (Mitchell Northam / The Next)
Aside from the coronavirus pandemic, women’s basketball in the ACC is going to look a bit different this year.
The legendary Muffett McGraw won’t be on the sidelines in South Bend, and Kara Lawson has replaced Joanne P. McCallie in Durham. And now, another familiar face won’t be around either.
Florida State announced Tuesday that Sue Semrau was taking a leave of absence through March 2021 to support her family and be with her mother, who is recovering from ovarian cancer in Seattle, Washington.
Semrau, 58, has led FSU to the NCAA tournament 15 times and has led them to a pair of co-regular season ACC titles. Following McGraw’s retirement at Notre Dame, she is currently the longest-tenured head coach in the ACC. Semrau has a 453-257 career record.
Per Semrau’s request – to which FSU agreed to – her forfeited salary for the 2020-21 season will remain with the women’s basketball program to help offset budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the past several months I’ve found it increasingly difficult to commute back and forth due to the tedious and ever-changing restrictions due to COVID-19,” Semrau said in a statement. “I’ve prayerfully wrestled with how I can meet my family’s needs and continue to lead our team. In these uncertain times, I haven’t found an answer that works for everyone, but I always preach that family comes first.
“For this reason, I’ve decided to step away from the day-to-day coaching through March 2021. I will also forfeit my salary so it can be used to offset COVID-19-related budget cuts. This decision allows me to support my family while providing much-needed resources for Seminole Athletics.”
Filling in for Semrau on an interim basis will be Brooke Wyckoff, who is an FSU alumna and has been an assistant coach for the Seminoles since 2011. Wyckoff played nine seasons in the WNBA and has been the associate head coach under Semrau since 2018.
“She has been a stellar assistant for 10 years… and truly understands the heartbeat of our program,” Semrau said of Wyckoff. “I am confident in her and our staff. I believe she will maintain the high level of excellence this season that we’ve come to expect at FSU.”
A native of Seattle, Semrau played her college ball at UC-San Diego, then had stints as a head coach at Division III Occidental College and as an assistant at Northern Illinois and Wisconsin before landing at FSU in 1997. Since her hiring, the Seminoles have only had four losing seasons. She has guided FSU to the Elite Eight three times.
Semrau has been named ACC Coach of the Year four times and was named National Coach of the Year in 2015 by the AP, ESPN, and the WBCA.
The Seminoles finished last season 24-8, losing in the ACC Tournament Final to N.C. State. They were ranked No. 19 in the final AP Top 25 Poll.
Florida State expects Semrau to return in April 2021.