The purpose of the FSU® Varsity Club is to provide an organization and facility by which the former athletes of Florida State University® may organize, congregate and socialize to promote the interests of our former athletes, socially and in support of Florida State University®. Here is our conversation with Sue, who has a warm smile and friendly hello for everyone.
This is obviously a big week for you. Please tell us about it.
"This weekend, starting Friday morning at 6 a.m., we have our FSU varsity day golf tournament. We have 36 foursomes, plus two extras standing in the wing, so we're well over capacity. If it's anything like last year, they will all show up – and more (laughing). Those guys have the best time, that's the reason they come. Since I've become the Varsity Club director, I've been trying to encourage our women to come out. Last year we had one foursome. This year we have two foursomes. And they actually have a good time with the older guys. They thought, ‘Well, they don't want us out there playing.' But, you know what, they had a really good time. So, that's increasing, which I think is good for the Varisty Club. We need the ladies to feel like they are included. From there, we are having a Bar-B-Q out there. And then we will run home and change clothes and go back for our Hall of Fame banquet. Warrick Dunn (inductee) is coming this year, which we are all excited about. And Burt Reynolds is going to come and be the stand-in for Gene Deckerhoff, who can't be here this year. First year ever, I think. Charlie Barnes, I guess, is going to be our MC. So, that's exciting. Saturday we have our big varsity day Bar-B-Q over at Tully Gymnasium, and we usually have about 900 people show. From that, then we get them all out on the field (Doak Campbell Stadium) for recognition of all of our varsity athletes who come back for varsity weekend. It's exciting. One of the nicest things about this job is having the reunions and watching these people come back. And, they can't get over Doak Campbell Stadium, how it has grown. Can't get over the campus. Just thrilled to see their old buddies and, of course, their lies get bigger and bigger the older we get (laughing). But that's the fun about this job, the reunions. That's what I love the most."
Tell us about your job.
"This is my third football season. Mainly, I put on the reunions. We are here for the benefit of the athletic alumni, to service them. And we try hard. They call about rooms and other team members they have lost contact with. There's just a lot of things we try to provide. We try to keep a current database of all members, all varsity athletes period, and where they are, so when we have a reunion they are all on the database and we can pull them all in. But that's the biggest challenge right there, with this moving, mobile society we have. Keeping up with them, it's a challenge."
It must be rewarding when you talk with a voice from years past.
"Absolutely. We had the first-ever basketball reunion this year – this past basketball season. And Dave Cowens came back and he had the best time. It was amazing. Everybody wanted their picture with him. When he got back home, he called and said, ‘Sue, my face still hurts from grinning, I had such a good time.' Those are things that are so rewarding. J.T. Thomas came back for a little reunion last year. He came back and what a super person he is. He has done very well for himself."
When FSU fans think about Bobby Bowden and Burt Reynolds, they also think of you. Talk about what those two gentlemen have meant to yourself and the university.
"Coach Bowden is such an inspiration to be around. You are dragging, and the man comes in whistling and smiling, he's always upbeat. I don't know how he does it. Every year come football season, he gets excited just like a kid. He's a very upbeat person, so you can't help but like working around somebody who is very positive and with the energy he has. It gives you energy. It makes you want to bust your britches to help out and do things and make him better. I don't know if that has anything to do with the team, but you can't help but admire and respect the man for what he brings to the table. Burt's coming up, of course. He tries to come up a couple times of year and he always wants to sit in coach Bowden's office. He always wants to go in there and talk a little and go in the locker room. He and I have become very good friends over the years. We always pick him up from the airport and see about him. Even with all this other stuff, we will see about him. Get his room and see he has food. We go down and stay with him a couple weekends every year. It has been a very good friendship. He's a very humble person, a lot of people don't realize it."