Semrau practicing what she preaches by taking time to be with family

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:29 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State women’s head basketball coach Sue Semrau has always said that, in her program, you’re a person first and the needs of you and your family take precedent.

At the end of the day, that message is what helped her make the decision to step away from coaching this season to be with her mother, who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Following the diagnosis, which came in February, Semrau has been split between two homes; her job and program here in Tallahassee and her family in Seattle.

The difference between the Big Bend and Cascadia is too hard to make up in an era of quarantines and travel restrictions.

“Had there not been COVID, I wouldn’t have made this decision,” Semrau said Thursday in her first time speaking with media since announcing she will not be on the bench this year. “I could have gone back and forth very easily, but with the testing and the ability to move from place to place, you lose a week.”

The move to be with family was ultimately one tied into the bedrock of the “family first,” culture Semrau has built for over two decades at the Tucker Center.

Semrau’s players understand that she wants what’s best for all parties.

“I opened up by saying, for 23 years we’ve talked about family first. For 23 years, we’ve talked about excellence, and they deserve excellence and I wasn’t going to be able to give them my 100% and that’s not fair to them,” she said.

Semrau says her mother is getting stronger every day and is happy to use this leave to find extended time at home that coaches so rarely get to find.

“I’ve never been with my entire family during Thanksgiving, so that will be an interesting, fun opportunity,” she said. “I’ve had three days, maybe two days, of Christmas and so those type of things they’re looking forward to.”

All involved looking to fight and win.

Semrau says she’s more than confident that Brooke Wykoff will be able to step into the role of coaching her alma mater, saying her role will be cheering on from afar and making phone calls to recruits.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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