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Letter from A.D. John Currie -- May 18

Dear Wildcat Nation,

It was one year ago today that I was introduced as your Athletics Director, and what a year it has been! We are very proud of how hard our student-athletes, coaches and staff have worked this year and are excited to keep the momentum going as we move towards our vision of a model intercollegiate program.

While much of the current media buzz centers around conference expansion and realignment, which I touched on in my previous letter, I want to share with you a few updates from around our department as we head into the summer months:

62 Student-Athletes Earn Degrees: Congratulations to the 62 Wildcat student-athletes who earned their K-State degrees this past weekend. Providing our student-athletes with that opportunity is the driving force behind our goal of a world-class experience and those individuals are to be commended for this accomplishment we started a new K-State tradition by hosting a reception and ring presentation for our graduates and their families this past Friday in the East Club!

Coaches Rovelto and Bird Honored: Coach Cliff Rovelto and baseball strength coach Scott Bird were recently honored with awards and recognitions in their respective fields. Coach Rovelto was honored by the Women in Engineering & Science Program at the sixth annual WESP Making a Difference Awards Celebration at the K-State Alumni Center. He was nominated by track student-athlete Thomaida Polydorou for making a difference during her time at K-State. Coach Bird received the highest honor in his profession by being named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches association. Congrats to both!

George S. Wiggins Football Scholarship: Last Monday, Coach Snyder and I had the privilege of accepting a gift from Larry Wiggins and Joan Wiggins Goodknight for an endowed football scholarship, given in honor of their late father, George. George played football at K-State in the early 1930's, went on to serve in the U.S. Army and passed away in a Japanese prison camp after being captured during World War II. We sincerely thank the Wiggins family for their contribution and commitment to our student-athletes.

Orange Bowl Classic: We are pleased to announce that our men's basketball team will play in the 2010 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Classic on December 18 against the Florida Gators. Both teams have already surfaced in preseason national rankings for 2010-11 and the game will be an exciting one for our fans. Following next year's game at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., the Gators will make a return trip in 2012 at a neutral site yet to be determined. As I have said before, we are committed to playing games against top-level competition in important K-State markets such as Kansas City and Wichita.

NCAA Committee: Earlier this month, I accepted an appointment from the NCAA to serve as a member of the NCAA Division I Administration Cabinet, which is responsible for addressing Division I administrative functions including governance issues, the Division I membership process and all committee selections. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the inner-workings of the NCAA as I represent the Big 12 on this committee.

Upcoming Catbacker Schedule: We had a tremendous week to kick off our annual Catbacker tour as a record total of more than 1,500 of you were in attendance at our five stops in western Kansas. The hospitality and dedication of all of our Catbacker Clubs are what make this unlike any other tour of its kind in college athletics. This week includes functions in Beloit, Kansas City, Topeka, Salina and Emporia.

Mark Your Calendars: We recently announced that our season opener against UCLA on September 4 will be televised at 2:30 p.m. by ABC. Let's show the nation what we all already know about K-State and "Fill the Bill!" All North End Zone season tickets for the 2010 season have been sold out, but great seats in other areas of the stadium remain on sale and can be purchased online at k-statesports.com or by calling 1-800-221-CATS. Single-game tickets for our six home games will go on sale June 14, while a limited number of four-pack tickets to the UCLA game can be purchased for $99 from June 14-30. Also, K-State Alumni Association members can package UCLA and Texas tickets for only $120 if ordered between June 1-11 while supplies last. We need 50,000 inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium on September 4, so make your plans now to be in Manhattan.

Track and Field: Congratulations to Sara Stoakes Big 12 Champion in the 800m as a true freshman! Martina Tresch (3000m) and Jeffrey Julmis (110H) also set school records in their respective events at last weekend's Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Columbia, Mo. Both of our teams are now preparing to make some noise at NCAA Regionals in two weeks and at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June. Yesterday Jeffrey stopped by the office to say hello he and his teammates are indeed great representatives of K-State.

Baseball: With a series win over the Jayhawks this past weekend, our 25th-ranked baseball team is 34-16 on the year and in second place in the Big 12 standings heading into the final week of the regular season. With everyone's support this year, we set new records at Tointon Family Stadium for both total attendance (46,290) and average attendance during conference play (2,173)! The team will travel to Texas A&M this weekend and will then head to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Championship May 26-30. If you are in the area, Bricktown Ballpark and Oklahoma City are tremendous hosts for the championship, and it is a great place to watch a baseball game. Coach Hill and his staff are doing a terrific job, again.

Rowing: Coach Sweeney and the rowing team completed their season last weekend at the South/Central Regional and Conference USA Championship in Tennessee - congrats to Kris Richman on being named to the all-conference squad and Nicole Vogt for earning academic all-conference honors! For those who may not know, C-USA announced last month that the Wildcats will be joining C-USA as an affiliate in rowing along with Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Two schools from the Southeastern Conference - Alabama and Tennessee - will also be joining C-USA to create a nine-team conference in rowing with Central Florida, SMU and Tulsa forming one of the top leagues in the nation for the sport. Also, a conference must have at least six members and hold at least two conference championships before the NCAA will consider its champion for automatic qualifying to the NCAA Championship.

Golf: Good luck to Mitchell Gregson and Joe Ida of our men's golf team as they compete as individuals this weekend at the NCAA Regionals in Georgia. Both are among the Big 12 leaders in stroke average and will look to advance to the NCAA Championships.

That's it for now. Remember to always check out k-statesports.com for the latest news, features and ticket information on Wildcat athletics. We will be announcing some significant changes and improvements to our official website later this summer that will benefit all K-State fans considerably. Stay tuned!

Again, thank you for making our first year at K-State so memorable. My family and I look forward to an exciting year No. 2!

John Currie