BRADENTON — Peter Warrick believes Florida State may be hurting its football program if the Tallahassee school forces Southeast High to change its logo and drop its nickname.
The two-time All-American, who sparked FSU to a national championship and won two state football titles at Southeast, says the move would turn people at his old high school against FSU and could have a negative impact on recruiting.
No one in state history has had more success playing for a team called the Seminoles than Warrick. But if he had to choose between one or the other, he says he would rather be known as a Southeast Seminole.
The Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles the FSU trademark, has sent a letter to Southeast demanding it drop its logo and nickname.
Warrick, who has joined the Southeast High coaching staff this season is scheduled to be inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame on Sept. 3, said he will bring up the subject at his induction speech and take up the cause for his high school.
“I am a Southeast High Seminole first,” Warrick said Thursday before practice. “The nickname is one of the reasons I chose FSU. We’ve been the Seminoles for about 30 years, and I am a Southeast man no matter what.”
Southeast head football coach Paul Maechtle said he hopes the issue can be resolved in a way that would satisfy both programs.
“We’ve been using the name Seminoles since school began, and this whole thing was kind of surprising, but sometimes in this day and age legal things come about, and you get kind of blindsided,” Maecthle said. “I hope it can be resolved in a way that will benefit both programs, which is what they are working on.”
It seemed as if FSU was backing off its original position and seeking a different solution Thursday that would satisfy Maechtle and local Seminoles fans.
“We are looking forward to working with Southeast to reach a mutually agreeable plan regarding the use of Seminoles marks and logos,” said Liz Maryanski, FSU interim vice president for University Relations.
Warrick doesn’t believe Southeast is hurting his former college and possibly cutting into profits it gets from merchandising. If anything, he believes his old high school helps promote FSU with its logo and name.
“We are Southeast Seminoles; it is what we do and how we live. It’s always been like that and should stay like that,” Warrick said. “It would be wrong if Southeast had to drop its name and logo. I just hope things get resolved. We should all sit down and come up with an agreement on what should happen and what should not happen.
“You know I am going to say something when I get up there for the induction. I am going to let them know once a Seminole always a Seminole and that is one of the reasons I went to FSU.”
Keenan Wooten, an assistant football coach for Southeast and school career adviser, believes dropping the logo would have an extremely negative impact.
“It’s going to crush the students and crush the community. This is a staple here and it involves traditional pride,” Wooten said. “They had it first, but why is it bad now? The colors in our logo are different, and the logo is different. They have Florida State written on the feather and we don’t.”
During Warrick’s senior season in 1999, FSU won the national championship going No. 1 wire to wire. He even put the finishing touches on that season with an acrobatic catch in the Sugar Bowl that locked up the Noles title.
It has been written that Warrick sacrificed money for FSU when he decided to stay in school his senior year rather than come out for the NFL Draft after his junior season. He was the fourth overall pick in the draft by the Cincinnati Bengals the following spring.