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August 7, 2013
Stan Wilcox woke up in Durham, N.C. on Wednesday. By the end of the day, he was the next athletic director at Florida State.
Wilcox, 54, formerly the Senior Deputy Athletic Director at Duke University and longtime administrator throughout college athletics, was introduced as FSU's new athletic director during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
"I never imagined I'd be here," Wilcox said. "But now that I am, it's a blessing."
Wilcox's hiring completes a two-month search process that began when former FSU athletic director Randy Spetman was reassigned - and effectively demoted - within the department. FSU president Eric Barron wanted to have a replacement named by the start of the fall semester, and accomplished that goal with a bit of time to spare.
Barron said that he and a few members of the booster club and the board of trustees flew to Atlanta on Sunday to interview Wilcox for the job, and all came away impressed. Wilcox was chosen from a pool of four finalists and said Barron called him Wednesday morning to offer him the job. He said his initial contract was a for five years.
Barron, who said a pool of candidates was whittled to four finalists, cited Wilcox's extensive resume - which includes stops at Notre Dame as a basketball player and as an administrator, the Big East, the NCAA and Duke - was a key factor in the decision.
"Here's a truly finished product in a lot of ways," Barron said. "Here's someone who consciously made the decision that, 'I'm going to be an athletic director for an institution.'"
Wilcox said when he found out the job was open, he immediately sought to put his hat in the ring.
"When it came open my first reaction was, 'Oh my goodness, the top program in the ACC is open,'" Wilcox said. "My first thing was, '(Duke Athletic director Kevin White), I think this might be the one.'"
Through White, Wilcox put his name in for the job and White's recommendation was a powerful advantage on his behalf.
In Wilcox, FSU acquires an athletic director firmly plugged in to the power structure of the ACC. As a longtime understudy of Duke Athletic Director Kevin White, Wilcox is well connected throughout the conference. He also cited a good working relationship with North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham.
"My goal is Florida State is going to be the institution within the ACC that everybody else wants to be like or everybody wants to listen to," Wilcox said. "Because we're going to be the driving force making things better."
Those connections will be important to FSU with the recent media grant of media rights firmly locking Florida State into the ACC for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, Wilcox does have experience with big-time football at Notre Dame, a trait that will come in handy at FSU.
"It was all about how you keep that program at a high level and how you get back to a national championship," Wilcox said. "And that experience was awesome."
Wilcox also mentioned facility improvements as one of his main focuses, but said he didn't have any definitive suggestions right away. Rather, he plans to take his first 90 days to assess the department, the staff and the booster organization.
"I can do my own evaluation after I kind of take everything in," Wilcox said. "I wouldn't come in here saying, 'Oh we need this and we need that.'"
He is sure about at least one thing. When asked about a matchup between Florida State and his alma mater of Notre Dame, Wilcox turned to the side and did a tomahawk chop.
"Does that answer your question?" he said.
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