Sue Semrau was just beginning her career at Florida State and often leaned on the wisdom of longtime NC State coach Kay Yow.
“She was about the person,” Semrau said. “She wasn’t about the result. And that’s what we’re here about at Florida State. We want to see growth, we want to see process. We want to love people.”
Many of the lessons Yow taught Semrau are ones that she has passed on to assistant coaches and players. It’s part of the legacy of Yow, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and battled the disease on and off before her passing in 2009.
Through the years, FSU and other programs around women’s college basketball have raised funds to bring awareness and raise money for breast cancer research. FSU will take the court on Thursday for its annual Paint it Pink game, facing off against Clemson at 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Florida) and a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center.
“To use this as a platform to raise money for the research, the cure, I hope, for cancer is really an important piece for all of us,” Semrau said.
Semrau recalled Yow fondly on Wednesday. She recalled ACC meetings with Yow where the coaching legend made simple gestures, offering to do something small like get the young FSU coach a glass of water. During meetings and at other points over nearly 15 years, Semrau learned from Yow about “servant leadership.”
As Yow was losing her fight with cancer, Semrau visited her mentor in the hospital.
“I remember watching her go through and fight this battle, visit her in the hospital and her saying, ‘Hey, make sure that we move forward in the same way that we’ve been moving forward. Do what you’re doing, do it in the way you’re doing it,’ ” Semrau recalled. “And that meant a lot to me.”
Thursday’s game is the penultimate regular-season game for FSU. The Seminoles finish at home against Notre Dame on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets for senior day will be $1.