Florida State University boasts 20 sports programs that are held up by an intricate network of administrators. Vanessa Fuchs, School of Communication alumna, is one of those administrators. Fuchs serves as the athletics department’s Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator where she has oversight of the FSU Women’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball and Beach Volleyball teams.
Fuchs came to Florida State as a student in 1997, studying media production. The high school basketball and track star continued her love of sports, joining the FSU Women’s Basketball Team .
After four years of academics and athletics, Fuchs took an internship with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) through their Futures Internship program. Fuchs worked as the Championships Intern out of the Greensboro, NC office and jumped into the world of collegiate athletics administration.
“It’s where my passion for working in college athletics began,” she shared. “It was eye-opening to see how much forethought and planning went into the ACC’s championship events.”
Now on the other side of the ball, the athlete turned administrator had found her place. She furthered her education at UNC Chapel Hill’s Sport Administration master’s program, one of the country’s only programs focused on intercollegiate athletics.
After Chapel Hill, Fuchs went to work for the NCAA National Office where she held four different positions. She worked her way up to Associate Director of Academic and Membership Affairs, where she oversaw the Legislative Relief Waiver team, issued rules interpretations and served as a staff liaison to several NCAA committees. Over seven years, she learned the inner workings of governing college athletics. The national perspective on NCAA schools in every division was a springboard for her return to Florida State.
In 2010, Fuchs found her way back to the “special place” that holds a place in her heart. Joining the Florida State Athletics department as the Associate Athletics Director for Compliance. In 2012, she advanced to the Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator and served as Interim Athletic Director in 2013.
She describes herself as an advocate for the sports, departments and student athletes she oversees. Fuchs strives for comprehensive excellence each day, pushing athletes to graduate and succeed as leaders. Administration juggles finances, facilities, communication for the athletics department; and the nutritional, medical and emotional needs of student athletes.
Fuchs wears many hats in her role, but says the most rewarding part is seeing the staff and student athletes succeed. She strives to give today’s student athletes the opportunities she was afforded as a student athlete.
“I’ve been blown away by the opportunities Florida State has provided me,” she shared. “I tell all our student athletes that if they give of themselves and maximize their time, this university will give back to them many years after they leave.”
Fuchs’ work ethic has not gone unnoticed.
The National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) named her as the D1 Administrator of the Year. NACWAA works to champion the success of women leaders. The annual award is presented to women administrators who make significant contributions. Fuchs will be honored at the NACWAA National Convention from October 11-13th in Tampa, Fl.
“This award is a shared honor, I’ve been blessed to have so many incredible people in my life who have positively impacted me,” she shared. “This is a tribute to them.”
Looking into the future, Fuchs dreams of leading an athletic department and eventually serving as a Commissioner of a Division 1 conference.