Dear Wildcat Nation,
With our winter sports heading down the final stretch of their seasons and the spring sports getting underway, we are entering one of the busiest and most exciting months of the athletic season here at K-State. This weekend typifies what college athletics is all about - our track teams are in Ames competing for conference honors and NCAA provisional qualification in multiple events at the Big 12 Indoor Track Championships with women's basketball right down the street to play the Cyclones Saturday night at 7 p.m. Our sixth-ranked equestrian team will open up its spring home season at Fox Creek Farm with an IHSA show Saturday at 9 a.m., tennis will host Wichita State at noon Saturday at Cottonwood racquet club, baseball is in Florida to play eight games in nine days, and last but certainly not least, the sixth-ranked men's basketball team will be back home in Bramlage Coliseum Saturday for a crucial game against Missouri (7 p.m. on ESPNU)!
We are excited to have both our basketball teams heading to Kansas City in a few weeks for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championships. I am personally looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere and hospitality for which Kansas City is famous. I believe KC is the ideal destination for both of our conference basketball championships - let's pack Kansas City with purple and support Coach Martin, Coach Patterson and both teams!
I want to take a moment today to express my special thanks to all the Ahearn Fund members who have already sent in their 2010 pledge in advance of our March 1 football benefit priority deadline. As we have discussed over the last few months, the collective contributions of Ahearn Fund members are indeed the winning edge for K-State Athletics - your annual gifts, along with your purchases of tickets, etc., are what enable us to provide scholarships for Wildcat student-athletes and also be aggressive in our ability to attract and retain quality coaching staffs, recruit nationally and improve student-athlete experiences through facility improvements and enhanced support.
Our staff has done a great job over the last few weeks in trying to keep up with the volume of mail! This is a great sign for our continued progress - currently our Ahearn gift total is ahead of the same date last year! Since our increased goal of $11.6 million is 26% of the budget, I appreciate each and every Ahearn donor who has sent in their pledge card for 2010. I have also been very encouraged by the number of Ahearn donors who have increased their 2010 pledge. Remember, as we continue to work towards the K-State vision of a model intercollegiate athletics program, every gift, regardless of the amount, matters.
Donors who have not yet sent in their pledge still have time to meet the March 1 deadline - this is very helpful in enabling us to improve customer service as it relates to potential seat and parking location requests and also offers us a much better platform to complete the next fiscal year budget-planning process and make fiscally responsible decisions.
Of course we have plenty of pledge payment options and Ahearn Fund staff is always available to assist you with a personal consultation by calling 1-888-232-9074. For additional information, you can also visit www.ahearnfund.com.
Spring football is also right around the corner and 2010 football season tickets will be going on sale in March. Be sure to check out k-statesports.com in the coming weeks as we announce a full menu of ticket options at price levels that will fit every budget and family schedule. The home schedule, which includes six games in Manhattan, is sure to be one of our most exciting in recent memory. For fans that cannot make the commitment to season tickets, be sure and take advantage of various packages and other options - please note there are special incentives to purchase early as well!
Before I close let me again say thanks to all the former women's basketball players who returned to Manhattan last weekend for our reunion. Over 70 former players came "home" including many from our very first teams in the 1960s and on through the decades, from literally all over the country. It was neat to see old friends catch-up and again reminds us that at the center of everything we do is the student-athlete experience.
We continue to strive to provide our student-athletes and fans a world-class experience. Thanks for all that you do to support K-State Athletics! I look forward to seeing you at a Wildcat athletic contest soon.