Duke’s Wilcox hired as Florida State’s AD

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 12:12 AM

In the middle of helping lift Duke football out of its on-the-field doldrums, Stan Wilcox simultaneously played an impact in helping the team through its darkest hours last summer.

Duke’s senior deputy athletics director, Wilcox and his wife, Ramona, became the people Leslie Holliday counted on after her son, Duke wide receiver Blair Holliday, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a July 4, 2012 personal watercraft accident.

“I feel like Stan was an intricate art of helping our family feel secure,” Leslie Holliday said Wednesday upon learning that Wilcox was leaving Duke to become Florida State’s athletics director. “He was always a calming force. I think that we knew that we could always count on him and rely on him to get the information we needed to make important decisions.”

Holliday said the Wilcoxes were “invested” in her family’s needs and he’s remained close to her as Blair Holliday fought back from the brink of death to become an undergraduate assistant football coach and resume his full-time Duke studies.

“Having Stan as a part of the team that helped our family move forward during the difficult time was something that gave our family a lot of security,” Leslie Holliday said.

Wilcox’s professionalism and ability to make strong personal connections are major reasons why Florida State President Eric Barron said he was the choice to run the school’s athletics department.

“His exceptional portfolio of strategic planning and fundraising experience and his reputation as a motivator, effective communicator and facilitator, as well as a commitment to the education of our student athletes made Stan a clear choice,” Barron said upon announcing the hiring on Wednesday in Tallahassee, Fla.

A former Notre Dame basketball player who was part of a 1978 Final Four team with the Irish, Wilcox earned a law degree in 1988 from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Law School.

He has administrative experience both and Duke and at Notre Dame. In addition, he was an associate commissioner of the Big East Conference for 11 years and was a legislative assistant at the NCAA from 1989-94.

This will be Wilcox’s first athletics director’s job. He replaces Randy Spetman, who was reassigned to a lesser position in the FSU athletics department last June.

“I have followed Florida State athletics from afar and through the ACC Conference, and have always been a big fan of FSU’s student athletes on the field and in the classroom,” Wilcox said. “I look forward to continuing in the great tradition of previous Florida State athletic directors as well as addressing the challenges and opportunities that this outstanding athletics program will hold.”

Florida State men’s basketball coach Leonard Hamilton, a Gastonia native who was formerly Miami’s head coach when the Hurricanes were in the Big East, said his experience with Wilcox then makes him ecstatic with his hiring now.

“I can’t think of a more qualified person to take over our program at this important time for both Florida State and the new ACC,” Hamilton said. “With the growth of the ACC, it has the potential to become the greatest conference in the history of college athletics. We are very fortunate to have a person of Stan Wilcox’s character and experience taking over our program.”

Working at Duke under athletics director Kevin White for the last five years, Wilcox’s duties including oversight of the football program. That included coordinating the football schedule. Last season, Duke made a bowl game for the first time in 18 years.

“Florida State,” White said, “is gaining a highly seasoned professional in Stan Wilcox, who has an outstanding track record, ‘moving the needle’ at every turn. A truly gifted and well-respected leader, Stan has the distinct ability, relationship skills, and industry knowledge to be the ‘clubhouse leader’ within all of college athletics.”

Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said Florida State made an ‘excellent’ hire.

“He is highly respected – at all levels – within Duke University and beyond,” Krzyzewski said. “From a coach’s perspective, he will be an athletics director who will provide the support, leadership and passion to create a culture of excellence. In all instances in which Stan and I collaborated, he handled them professionally, ethically and responsibly. Most importantly, all generated terrific outcomes.”

Wilcox will oversee a Florida State athletics department that sponsors 20 teams and has an annual budget of $75.2 million.

 “We could not be more excited for Stan to take his next step professionally at Florida State University,” Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said. “In my 30-plus years in college athletics, I have never been associated with a person with more integrity or reliability; he will be a terrific ambassador for Florida State and the Tallahassee community.  We certainly thank him for his time and effort spent in helping our football program reach new heights both academically and athletically.”