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FSU AD Stan Wilcox optimistic about next year

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Despite a rare finish outside the top 20 in the Directors’ Cup standings, Florida State is pleased with gains the past three years under athletic director Stan Wilcox.

The university announced Friday that Wilcox has been promoted to vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics as part of a contract extension that will expire June 30, 2020. Wilcox’s original contract was scheduled to expire in August 2018.

Wilcox became Florida State’s athletic director in August 2013 from Duke, where he was the senior deputy director of athletics. In three years, the Seminoles have won national championships in football (2013) and women’s soccer (2014).

A major priority of Wilcox’s tenure has been improvements to most of the university’s athletic facilities. The most ambitious is a renovation of Doak Campbell Stadium set to be completed before the start of the season. The $50 million project adds the Champions Club to the south end zone along with a new scoreboard in the north end; new ribbon boards and a sound system; new restrooms in the concourse; and structural improvements to the bowl area.

The stadium renovations are just the first phase. In an interview with The Associated Press, Wilcox said that plans to renovate the rest of the stadium are in the preliminary stages, but that those could run $200 to $400 million.

“You are always going to be in the facilities business along with recruiting,” Wilcox said. “Student-athletes are savvy consumers. When they go around and do their visits, they are seeing what everyone is doing. They want to see where they are going to play, practice, eat and live. That is why we have upgraded all of the locker rooms.”

After finishing out of the top 20 in the Directors’ Cup Division I standings – a benchmark that entire athletic programs are judged by because it awards points based on each school’s finish in up to 20 sports – for the first time since 2005, Wilcox is optimistic that the program could possibly finish in the top 10 next year. The Seminoles were 21st this year after finishes of 11th (2014-15) and 12th (2013-14).

Even though football did not reach the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game for the first time since 2011, the team played in a New Year’s Six bowl game. The Seminoles, who won the national championship in 2013 and reached the College Football Playoff the following year, are expected to be ranked in the top five in the preseason, and have a Heisman Trophy contender in running back Dalvin Cook.

Men’s basketball has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2011, but will have another highly touted recruiting class coming in. Leonard Hamilton‘s recent success in recruiting was the driving force behind Wilcox giving him a contract extension in February.

“We have had top recruiting classes come in and that is momentum you don’t want to stop. We didn’t want there to be any doubt that he was going to be here,” said Wilcox about the extension.

Baseball came within one game of reaching the College World Series. Coach Mike Martin signed a one-year extension that takes him through 2018 and is two wins shy of becoming the second Division I baseball coach to reach 1,900.

Wilcox wants Martin, 72, to stick around long enough to become the winningest coach in college baseball history. Martin needs 78 wins to pass Augie Garrido.

“When you’re close to being the all-time winningest coach, how do you not come back? He’ll be here as long as he wants to be,” Wilcox said.

It ended up being a strong year for most of the women’s programs. Soccer reached the College Cup for the fifth straight year, softball advanced to the College World Series for the second time in three years, and basketball reached the Sweet 16, marking the first time that has happened two straight seasons. Beach volleyball, which was an NCAA-sanctioned sport for the first time, also reached the national championship match.

Both golf teams and men’s tennis qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

“We had a fairly decent year. We’re still having success across the board more so than a few sports here and there,” Wilcox said. “Football, men’s basketball and baseball were young teams that should be better next year. I’m very happy where we are at.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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