Thrasher: FSU will be deliberate with A.D. search despite 'awkward' timing
Despite the oppressive north Florida heat, Florida State University President John Thrasher stepped outside of his office Monday afternoon to spend a few minutes with the Marching Chiefs' "Big 8" percussion section.
Around this time every year, the drum line will practice around the fountain in front of the Westcott Building, where Thrasher's office is located, and he likes to step out and say a few words and pose for pictures.
As he walked back inside wearing a dress shirt, tie and dress pants, Thrasher remarked that he would have been better off in more casual attire. Of course, that might not have made his seat a whole lot more comfortable given the circumstances of the moment.
It was just a few hours earlier that news broke about FSU athletics director Stan Wilcox leaving the university for an executive position with the NCAA. Wilcox, who had been at Florida State since the summer of 2013 and was promoted by Thrasher to university vice president about two years ago, leaves just as the Seminoles are embarking upon several major initiatives.
The biggest of those being a soon-to-be-announced plan for a state-of-the-art football operations center.
"Not ideal timing," Thrasher acknowledged during an interview in his office. "But you know what, I'm not sure there's ever an ideal time for stuff like this."
Thrasher confirmed to Warchant that a fundraising campaign for the new football facilities will be announced shortly before the Seminoles' Sept. 3 season opener against Virginia Tech.
While Thrasher did not offer specifics, Warchant has previously reported that the project is expected to be a standalone facility and will cost in the neighborhood of $65 million. If facility upgrades for other sports are included, the price tag could be around $100 million.
Even though Wilcox has been intimately involved in that initiative, Thrasher said he doesn't believe his departure will cause any setbacks.
"He endorsed it and certainly supported it," Thrasher said of Wilcox. "But after that, it's going to be up to our Advancement people, our Foundation, our Boosters, and frankly all of us to pull the wagon to where we need to go. ...
"I read over the weekend that Alabama just announced a $600 million campaign [for stadium upgrades]. So I'm gonna tell our boosters and friends they're getting off light (laughing)."
Wilcox informed Thrasher of his new job opportunity Sunday evening during a visit to Thrasher's house. The president said the conversation was pleasant and that he appreciated the "phenomenal" success FSU's sports programs have achieved on the field and in the classroom under Wilcox's watch.
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