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August 2010 Archives

Thomas: A Lapse in Faith, Focus

Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. We'll continue to introduce K-State's No. 8 to you with a five-part feature this week: The son of a preacher; A lapse in faith and focus; Becoming a Wildcat; Returning as a Wildcat; and Mr. Humble.
 
The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23

 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas' arrival in Manhattan, Kan., and on the Kansas State campus, took enough detours to make the healthiest Christian perhaps question his faith.
 
But not Thomas.
 

Letter from A.D. John Currie -- August 31

Good morning Wildcat fans! Game Week is finally here and it's certainly a busy time around the department and university community as the students have returned for fall classes and we gear up for another exciting year. We have made tremendous progress as a department over the past year and look forward to continuing that trend in 2010-11 with your ongoing support and dedication.

Here's an update from inside K-State Athletics.

 

Volleyball Home Opener Tomorrow

Coach Fritz and the volleyball team open up the 2010 home season tomorrow night at 7 p.m. The 2010 team will be a fun one to watch grow as the Wildcats feature an exciting group of talented freshmen to complement returning veterans like JuliAnne Chisholm and Lauren Mathewson. Wednesday's match against South Dakota will begin at 7 p.m. and is your first chance to see our new enhanced seating systems and other improvements. The Varney's Invitational on Friday and Saturday features Loyola Marymount, Oral Roberts and Georgia Tech and provides the backdrop for our biggest volleyball alumni reunion ever. Last year we started a rotation in which we'll honor the alumni of two or three of our teams with a major reunion each year over a five year period. More than 50 Wildcat volleyball alums are expected - you can see them in Ahearn as well as on the field before the football game Saturday.

If you have a ticket to Saturday's football game, you can gain admission to Saturday's 7 p.m. volleyball match against Georgia Tech for just $3. 

 

Let's Not Forget the K-State History

PERSPECTIVE
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder says an introductory Kansas State Football 101 course for his 2010 Wildcats wouldn't be all that bad of an idea.
 
He doesn't think it's all that necessary to know all the gory details of the first 50, 60 or 80 years of Wildcat history when they were, honest to goodness, the worst program in college football history (and you can look it up). But he does say, "I think it's important for the players of today to know the general picture."
 

Thomas: 'A Lot of Church'


Editor's Note: Very few times does a player with the talents of Daniel Thomas come through the Wildcat Nation. "K-State Sports Extra" thought you'd enjoy meeting Mr. Thomas ... the person. We'll introduce K-State's No. 8 to you with a five-part feature this week: The son of a preacher; A lapse in academics; Becoming a Wildcat; Returning as a Wildcat; and, Mr. Humble.
 
The son of Southern Baptist ministers Jerald and Louella Thomas, K-State's "DT" leads his total life through this scripture: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." -- Colossians 3:23

 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas sat on his purple chair with his brown eyes drifting eight ... 12 ... 15 years in his personal rearview mirror.
 
The question Thomas pondered was this: "Daniel, was it tough being the son of a preacher?"

Old-Style Uni Making a Return

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Coach Bill Snyder has a batch of old-school in his makeup, and part of that personality is coming back to this year's team. That Dallas Cowboy-look to Kansas State's uniform of Snyder's first 17 seasons is making a return in 2010.
 
In Snyder's first visit with then-equipment manager Shorty Kleinau in 1989, the new coach made it clear that he wanted an "America's Team" look.
 
"It had a clean, modern look, yet not too modern," said Kleinau of his visit 20-plus years ago. "Coach wanted a uniform look that the country could identify with and a logo that would sustain itself over time."
 

Samuels, Russell Enjoy European Trip

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Jamar Samuels at center and Nick Russell at the power-forward?
 
That's what it was for the East Coast All-Stars earlier this month as they traveled through Switzerland and France playing a five-game series.
 
The USA entry went just 1-4, losing to Switzerland, 92-80, to the Swiss National team, 96-91, and dropping a contest to the Tunisian Nationals, 104-85 and 111-85. The lone win came over the Paris Select team, 100-73.
 

Time to Volley

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Welcome to the big-time, you Wildcat volleyball ladies.
 
Stick those prep letter jackets and all-state certificates in safe keeping and never forget those special memories, but beginning Friday, there's a new dose of reality awaiting you.
 
"They're well prepared athletically, but they've never been in this situation before," said K-State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz of her young roster that includes nine freshmen and 10 newcomers. "You try to put them in game-like situations in practice and you try to create pressure, but there's really no way to replicate the real thing. It's just a case of going out and getting some live experience."
 

Schulz Q&A Part Three

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Q&A
 
 
Editor's Note: Today Mark Janssen of "K-State Sports Extra" completes his three-part visit with Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Sports Extra: Kirk, a year ago you said you would be a hands-off President when it came to athletics. Did you end up spending much more personal time on athletics than you expected?
 
Schulz: Yes I did spend more time with athletics. We have instituted a new governance structure in our KSA Board and, of course, the macro issues of the Big 12 Conference are very important to our University. But John and I have settled into a good rhythm. We talk about scheduling, but I'm not telling John who to schedule. We talk about facilities, but it's his job to put a plan in place. We're just making sure we're on the same page.
 
I can't do this job (Presidency) and that one, too.
 

Schulz: Using Athletics to Promote K-State

Q&A
 
 
Editor's Note: Today, Mark Janssen of "K-State Sports Extra" enters Part 2 of his three-part question and answer visit with Kansas State University President Dr. Kirk Schulz.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Sports Extra: A year ago, you talked about having a presence in Kansas City and in other metropolitan areas where there is a significant Kansas State alumni base. You have to be excited about the September 18 football game with Iowa State in Kansas City, as well as the basketball exposures with UNLV and the College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center.
 
Dr. Kirk Schulz: Yes we are. We're working on a plan to "Paint The Town Purple" in Kansas City on the Friday before the Iowa State game. We want to be proactive and encourage our people to display their purple on that day. I've heard so often that Johnson County is KU territory, but then I drive around and see the Powercat license plates. I'm not willing to concede that it's KU territory. We have some proud K-Staters in Kansas City, and we're asking them to show it.
 

Schulz-Team Calms the Waters

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Q&A
 
 
Editor's Note: Today, Mark Janssen of "K-State Sports Extra" begins a three-part question and answer visit with Kansas State University President Dr. Kirk Schulz. Today, we examine this past year in athletics.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Sports Extra: Kirk, a year ago, seemingly every headline concerning the program had a negative nature. Twelve months later, the waters truly do seem to have smoothed.
 
Dr. Kirk Schulz: Last summer in visiting with K-State folks, I was hearing about audits, Mr. (Bob) Krause as an AD and coaching contracts, but today our K-State people really do seem to be very positive and very excited. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm about Kansas State. John (Currie, athletics director) has bought in a professional set of fund raisers that are well liked by our folks out there and are people who bleed nothing but purple. Our Ahearn Fund was $3 to 4 million over last year. That's a great testament to how our people feel about our program.
 

Lehning Living Dream with the Dream

PROFILE
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
For the last month of the WNBA season, the Atlanta Dream became the Atlanta Nightmare.
 
"We weren't a very good basketball team the last few weeks, but we're in the playoffs and that's what it's all about," said second-year Dream point guard and ex-Wildcat Shalee Lehning. "We're just very excited about playing Washington and having a chance to advance. We're one of only eight teams still playing, so we feel very blessed."

Snyder Trying to Balance Classes

Bill Snyder's attention is on the 2010 months of August, September, October and November, which he hopes will lead to a postseason appearance in December or January.
 
But at the same time, he's also looking ahead to 2011 when he openly says, "We're going to be a young team. Because of the class balance, we have some concerns across the board."
 
With a senior-heavy roster, Snyder says that's going to lead to an "even more out of whack" roster makeup at the end of this season. 

Thomas to Prove Worth on the Field

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Daniel Thomas, Doak Walker Award candidate. Daniel Thomas, unanimous preseason First Team All-Big 12 selection. Daniel Thomas, All-American candidate. Daniel Thomas ... don't rule out Heisman Trophy candidate.
 
To date, there is no official campaign for any of these 2010 postseason awards for Kansas State's No. 8, and that's by design.
 
"I've never been a big proponent of campaigns," said K-State football coach Bill Snyder. "I also don't want to do anything to distract from any of our players being recognized at the end of the season. But too many times bringing attention to one player is not what's best for the entire team."
 

'Unity' One of K-State's 'Goals for Success'

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Kansas State's locker room is void of peppy slogans and motivational sayings.
 
What it does have, however, is a chart of K-State's "16 Goals for Success." The Wildcat Commandments, so to speak.
 
One goal that has been a theme during the summer and now into fall camp is the one that says: "Unity - Come together As Never Before."
 

All in the Family

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bill Snyder says it's not that complex.
 
"The best way to deal with it is when he's on the field or in a meeting, he's one of the players. Outside of that, he's my grandson."
 
With that being the philosophy, for the third time in his coaching career, the Wildcat football coach is literally coaching one of his own.
 

Zenger Remembers Roots

By Mark Janssen
 
 
The visit was short, but enjoyed. Sheahon Zenger returned home earlier this month and stopped by the Vanier Football Complex to say "howdy" to old friends.
 
"Coming back to Kansas State is that warm cozy feeling you get when you put on that old sweatshirt," said Zenger, who has served as the Director of Athletics at Illinois State for the last five years. "This is a home to me. Between my wife (the former Pam McAnarney) and I, and our extended families, I think we have around 50 degrees from Kansas State."
 

So-So-So-So Young

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Two questions hover above Kansas State's volleyball team for 2010 heading into the club's Aug. 27, opener against UCLA in Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
1) Can the Wildcats compete in the Big 12 with a roster of two seniors, no juniors, five sophomores and a whopping 10 freshmen?
 
"Yes," says K-State coach Suzie Fritz. "We're further ahead than we expected, and we had a very productive summer of coming together as a team. Each one of them has had great days, but being young, not so great days, but there's every reason to be encouraged."
 

There's a 'Buzz' in Wildcat Nation

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Scott Garrett has been away from big-time football for the last couple years when he served as assistant athletic director/ticket manager at Wichita State.
 
Now in a similar position at Kansas State, Garrett, who also oversees the Fan Experience office, says, "You can feel the buzz of football. With all the phone calls, you can just feel the excitement of the fans. They absolutely can't wait for that UCLA game."
 

Competition on at Quarterback

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Within the next week, at least in his own mind, Bill Snyder plans to have a starting quarterback in place.
 
He likely won't make it known for human consumption until the week of the UCLA game, and reps are sure to continue to be shared between Carson Coffman, Collin Klein and Sammuel Lamur, but he'll have a No. 1 man.
 
Up until now, nothing has changed since the end of spring drills. As Snyder says, "Carson takes the first rep, Collin takes the second rep, and Sammuel takes the third. We're not going to invest that kind of repetition unless there is a belief that they are on an equal stage and will remain competitive for the spot. If we had the decision, we would not equalize their reps."
 

The Amazing Mr. Thomas

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" finalizes its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
In 2009, Kansas State co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Dana Dimel said of ace dasher Daniel Thomas, "It's amazing what he did without a great knowledge of the position. Now I'm anxious to see how much better he'll be."
 
Thomas was a prep quarterback at Hilliard, Fla., and again at his next stop at Northwest Mississippi Community College. When he signed at K-State, he was looked at briefly as a wide receiver and considered at quarterback before finally landing in the backfield, honestly, for the first time in his career.
 

Letter from A.D. John Currie -- August 16

Good afternoon Wildcat fans! I hope everyone has safely endured the August heat and had a relaxing and enjoyable summer with friends and family. We are less than three weeks away from the start of the fall sports season as our football, volleyball and cross country programs are beginning final preparations for their first competitions. Here are some of the latest updates from inside K-State Athletics.
 

Latimore Likes Size, Depth Inside

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
With a blend of new and old, interior defensive line coach Mo Latimore says, "I'm excited," about his cast of four inside defenders.
 
"These guys are much better than they were in the spring, and I hope they've even improved more over the summer," said Latimore, who is entering his 27th season on the Wildcat coaching staff spanning five decades. "They're all about the same ... like clones, in a sense."
 

Offensive Line a 'Band of Brothers'

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
For so many years, Kansas State fans went into the fall season ultra concerned about the offensive line. Too short, too small; too this ... too that.
 
If there's a label to be hung on this offensive line, it's "too experienced."
 

Athletic at Wide Receiver

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Sheldon Smith caught three passes for 37 yards and Cole Bachamp snagged one for three yards.
 
That's it ... four catches for 40 yards for returning wide receivers from the 2009 Kansas State season.
 
Even though Brandon Banks (56 catches, 705 yards, 1 TD) and Attrail Snipes (28 catches, 424 yards, 2 TD) graduated, Lamark Brown (18 catches, 215 yards, 2 TD) elected to leave the program, and Collin Klein (6 catches, 38 yards, 1 TD) returned to quarterback, all in the K-State camp have a firm belief that wide receiver is perhaps a collective position where the Wildcats are most improved.
 

Cats Versatile at the Ends

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Spread offenses continue to have a hybrid-type impact on defensive looks across the Big 12 Conference.
 
At K-State, one of the midline positions is a linebacker/strong safety. And at defensive end, there's a regular end, but now on the flip side there's a "Bandit," which is a combo between an end and a linebacker.
 

The Very First 'Dream Team'

Editor's Note: Today is the second of a two-part story on Bob Boozer, who tonight will become only the second Kansas State basketball player/coach to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. The first Wildcat inductee was former coach Jack Gardner in 1984.
 
After a 27-year career with Northwestern Bell in Omaha, Neb., Boozer has served on the State of Nebraska Board of Parole for the last 13 years.
 
By Mark Janssen
 
Featuring Oscar Robertson and the two Jerry's - West and Lucas - the 1960 United States Olympic team might have been the first "Dream Team" before the label was invented by the 1992 unit that headlined Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.
 
"We were recognized as a strong team. For its time, one certainly to be compared to the 'Dream Teams' of today," said former K-Stater Bob Boozer, now 73 and living in Omaha, Neb. "We were a team recognized as one that should win the Gold and we did. We definitely think we were the first 'Dream Team.'"
 

Open Competition at Tight End

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Two catches, 37 yards.
 
Catch-wise, that's what Kansas State has returning to the tight end position with the departure of First Team All-Big 12 standout Jeron Mastrud.
 
The phrase that tight ends coach Ricky Rahne uses multiple times in a conversation about who might play the Wildcat tight end position is that it's an "open competition."
 

Boozer to be Enshrined

Editor's Note: Today is the first of a two-part story on Bob Boozer, who, on Friday night, will become only the second Kansas State basketball player/coach to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Former Wildcat coach Jack Gardner was the first Wildcat inductee in 1984.
 
Today, Boozer, a two-time All-American in the late-1950s, revisits his decision to postpone his NBA career to try out for the USA team. Tomorrow, the Omaha, Neb., native will relive his Olympic experience in the games staged in Rome.
 
After a 27-year career with Northwestern Bell in Omaha, Boozer has served on the State of Nebraska Board of Parole for the last 13 years.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Bob Boozer had a dream and he followed it.
 
It was a "gamble, for sure," he says, but, so to speak, well worth the roll of the dice.
 
The former Kansas State Wildcat delayed his entry into professional basketball for the right to try out for the 1960 Olympic team. Boozer made that team, and Friday night in Springfield, Mass., that Gold Medal winning team will enter the storied Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
 

Talent, Depth in Secondary

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
Let's say that a defensive guy - a linebacker or a defensive tackle - plays 70 plays in a game and he has 60 good plays, five pretty good ones and five not so good. Overall, that's probably a decent day.
 
To such a notion, first-year K-State secondary coach Keith Burns says, "Unless you're a defensive back. This is a position where you don't have the luxury of bad plays."
 

Attitude Great at Linebacker

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" continues its nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
To say that Kansas State wants to be improved at chasing the ball, and better at securing tackles, is an across-the-defensive-board blanket statement.  But it especially holds true for the collective linebacker positions.
 
"We have a good group," said Kansas State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Chris Cosh. "They're all competitive guys, but the one real important thing about this group is that they care about each other. They want to do well, but they don't want the other guy to do poorly. They're just out there trying to make each other better."
 

Cats Tackle Heat Issue

By Mark Janssen
 
 
In the Flint Hills, it's hot.
 
Nasty, sticky hot.
 
It was 108-degrees hot last week, and at least on the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Field Turf, it's flirting with that degree of semi-boiling again this week.
 
"It is what it is," said Kansas State ninth-year football trainer Matt Thomason of the heat. "It's something that we educate the guys on well before they get in the heat. Once you have that cottonmouth, it's too late."
 

Like They Came Out of the Spring

Editor's Note: Today, "K-State Sports Extra" begins a nine-part look at the 2010 Wildcats with each assistant coach taking an in-depth look at his respective position.
 
 
By Mark Janssen
 
 
You know the old saying: spring forward, fall backward.
 
Well, after a slight slippage in his play last fall, the quarterback game of Carson Coffman has indeed seemed to spring forward.
 

Tidbits from Media Day

By Mark Janssen
 
 
Friday was Kansas State's Media Day with 105 Wildcats gathering for a meet-and-greet with the Kansas-based media on the 100-degree turf of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
 
Here are some red-hot tidbits about the upcoming season.

'Second Time Around' A Difference Maker?

By Mark Janssen
 
OK, perhaps it was the heat of the week and being on the turf of Bill Snyder Stadium that got to yours truly Friday afternoon for K-State's Media Day, orrrrr, it's just a stretch for finding a nifty unique lead for this story.
 
But here's to the "Second Time Around," which will be pivotal to Kansas State's football success in 2010 as compared to 2009.

With All in Place, Let's Play Ball!

By Mark Janssen

It was a normal summer day for Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder in his old, but refurbished, office at the Vanier Football Complex.
 
Some 90-plus degrees outdoors, the soon-to-be 71-year-old head coach was in uniform - grey suit, white shirt and yellow patterned tie on this Friday noon hour.

Welcome to K-State Sports Extra

For those of you who received the K-State Official Sports Report last season, it's back! K-State fans across the country enjoyed receiving their daily dose of Wildcat news and stories through email, so to coincide with the launching of a new and improved k-statesports.com, we are pleased to re-launch this daily service - renamed K-State Sports Extra - beginning today.

These Wildcat-oriented stories, free of charge, will appear in your e-mail each day and will also be available online at www.k-statesports.com.

Letter from A.D. John Currie -- August 3

It's hard to believe that August is upon us - the students will be moving back to campus soon and football and volleyball training camps get underway this week! I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer... below are some of the latest updates from inside K-State Athletics.

Check out the new k-statesports.com
This afternoon we launched a new and improved k-statesports.com that will provide you with more information, features and ways to follow Wildcat athletics. One of our top priorities as a department is to find ways to improve upon our fan experience and customer service, and we feel we have taken another step with this enhanced website - which includes free live audio streaming of all game broadcasts. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think. As is customary with a project of such magnitude and layers of information, there may be a few pages or areas on the site that are temporarily unavailable over the course of the next week or two. Both our staff and the support team at CBSSports.com have been hard at work on this project for the past several months and will continue to iron out any bugs that we find after the launch.