From the Tallahassee Democrat -
Once Florida State supporters digested the news late Wednesday and Thursday that Randy Spetman had been removed as the university’s athletic director, many were left with one immediate question:
Who is Vanessa Fuchs, and why was she chosen to lead the Seminoles’ athletic department on an interim basis?
Fuchs, 34, has maintained a fairly low profile — at least publicly — since returning to her alma mater in 2010 as FSU’s associate athletic director for compliance. The former Seminole women’s basketball player (1997-2001) was promoted last May to senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator.
Fuchs actually was in Indianapolis for a meeting at the NCAA’s headquarters on Wednesday when she learned of the change, and she was unavailable for comment Thursday while traveling back to Tallahassee.
Florida State President Eric Barron, who reassigned Spetman after five years, said Fuchs’ knowledge of NCAA compliance issues made her an obvious choice.
“We were extremely happy to have someone who knew the ins and outs of compliance,” Barron said. “That was a great thing. And everybody has been impressed with what she has done and how she did it. She has a lot of respect from her colleagues, and several people recommended her.
“So I felt good about it.”
While Fuchs might not be well-known outside of the university community, colleagues describe her as highly intelligent and driven.
“As a freshman, she came in as one of the most determined people that I’d ever met,” said Florida State women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau, who coached Fuchs for all four years in college. “Even today, she’s one of the most determined individuals I know.”
Semrau and Fuchs actually arrived at FSU around the same time. Semrau had been hired to replace Chris Gobrecht, who left after just one year, and Fuchs was recruited by Gobrecht’s staff.
Fuchs joined the Seminoles after successful basketball and track careers at Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, where she was a three-time state champion in discus and held school records in discus and shot put. Fuchs was inducted into her high school’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
She was a 5-foot-10, reserve guard/forward for most of her career at FSU, scoring only 2.9 points per game as a senior, but she was respected by teammates and named a team co-captain.
Semrau said Fuchs has exhibited those leadership skills ever since.
After interning with the Atlantic Coast Conference following her FSU career, Fuchs spent seven years on the NCAA’s staff, eventually rising to the position of associate director of academic and membership affairs.
“In every position she’s been in, she has advanced extremely quickly,” Semrau said. “She’s just extremely sharp. She brings a lot to the table.”
Semrau also believes Fuchs will keep the Seminoles moving forward until a new director is named.
“She has the experience with every entity that we deal with here at Florida State — from the ACC to the NCAA,” Semrau said. “She is a rising star, she has a bright future, and I think she’ll do a tremendous job of keeping us on task.”