It’s Oct. 18, 2014, and Sue Semrau just said goodbye to Roneeka Hodges, who spent the Notre Dame weekend returning to the program that built the current WNBA star. Just thirty minutes following the farewell, Semrau received a call from an ecstatic Hodges.
With cars humming by, the former FSU player screamed to her coach that she just received an incredible new contract as she celebrated on the side of the road.
“She had been playing basketball for ten years as a pro, had just gotten a phenomenal contract,” Semrau said, “and immediately she is sharing it with me, her college coach.”
Semrau lives for these moments, when past players return home and keep in touch with the woman that inspired them to lead determined lives. These instances remind the coach why she is exactly that. Even in her 18th season, Semrau still desires to create more of these moments.
“She has so much energy and she is always smiling,” redshirt junior Morgan Jones said. “When I came into the program, I was like there is no way she is like this all the time. Now I tell recruits, ‘no guys, she is really like that…all the time’.”
Her dedication to women’s basketball doesn’t go unnoticed. Semrau hasn’t won an ACC tournament, national championship, or even been to the final four; but she is a three-time recipient of ACC coach of the year, the 2013 Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award winner, and the current WBCA president.
She didn’t win these awards solely for her desire to win, but for her devotion to her family. With her blood family in the opposite corner of the country, the Seattle native created her own in Tallahassee. She makes sure that each member of her adoptive one is appreciated, and appreciative of the whole.
“They won’t care how much I know until they know how much I care,” Semrau believes. “If you try to tell someone that something different from what they desire is best for the team, I think its just words. If you can illustrate it and give them a longing to play that role, then you can have a successful team.”