Good Afternoon Wildcats!
Last night was a fun one for the Wildcats with an impressive nationally-televised Big Monday win at No. 7 Texas. We are all very proud of Coach Martin and our team for the way they battled back from a halftime deficit to take K-State to a 3-1 Big Monday record for 2011. As I pulled into the driveway about 1:30 a.m. this morning after the team flight home from Austin I couldn't help but reflect on an extremely busy five days or so around the department, a stretch representational of our vision of having a model intercollegiate athletics program.
We started Friday night with a dinner and reception for our 1951 Final Four men's team at Colbert Hills - 60 years after the fact we had 10 players and three wives of deceased players attend! It was great to see them all and hear about that special season and their run to the national championship game. Your standing ovation at halftime of the men's game was very meaningful for these legendary Wildcats while at the same time underscoring the respect Wildcat fans have of K-State's basketball heritage.
Early on Saturday morning, we held a very special program and ceremonial groundbreaking for our new Basketball Training Facility. Thanks to lead contributors Rand and Patti Berney and Jim and Laura Johnson, and the rest of our Ahearn Fund members, we are ready to begin the construction phase of this project. I believe this facility not only makes a strong statement about our basketball programs, but also about the future of our entire athletics program. We are very excited about the days ahead and appreciate the leadership of President Schulz and the tone he has set for our entire university and community.
Also on Saturday the equestrian team hosted the nation's top Varsity Equestrian team in Texas A&M and nearly pulled off the win, dropping a tightly-contested 10-9 matchup. The Western squad knocked off the Aggies, 5-4, while three Wildcats earned MVP honors.
And, at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships in Lincoln, sophomore Erik Kynard captured our first Big 12 championship of the year, winning the high jump by nearly three inches over his nearest competitor.
Both of our basketball teams faced hard-fought games later in the day. Coach Martin and the men's team beat No. 20 Missouri before another sold-out crowd in Bramlage. Congratulations to Jacob Pullen who achieved a significant personal milestone, joining only Mike Evans as K-State men's players to score 2,000 points in their careers.
Prior to Saturday night's women's contest we recognized Coach Patterson and her players in honor of our 800th all-time win last week at Nebraska, which made K-State just the 13th in NCAA history and second in the Big 12 to reach this milestone. It was a day that certainly all tied together as we honored the past, cheered on our present players and teams with two great crowds and looked to the future with the groundbreaking ceremony of what will be a first-class facility for our student-athletes and coaches. And, none of this would have been possible without the support and dedication of our fans.
Football Season Tickets Now on Sale
As a department, we are committed to the best fan experience in the Big 12 and last Friday, we announced our ticket prices and options for the 2011 football season. We encourage fans to renew or order their tickets beginning today and take advantage of several incentives, including a five-month payment plan option, savings on handling fees and the opportunity to purchase single-game tickets before the general public. Coming off our appearance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and record attendance figures last season, the anticipation is high for the upcoming season as we move forward with a new and exciting Big 12 Conference. We have seven home games, including four against 2010 bowl teams. View all of our ticket prices and options online at k-statesports.com and contact our ticket office to reserve your seat in Bill Snyder Family Stadium now!
Coach Rovelto Honored
We are extremely proud that Coach Rovelto was recently named the head men's coach for Team USA at this summer's Pan Am Games. His reputation for developing athletes at both the collegiate and international levels is unmatched, and we are excited that he will be representing Kansas State University and the United States in the 2011 Pan American Games. We will also have a special opportunity to see future Olympians in action right here in Manhattan when K-State's R.V. Christian Track hosts the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor Championships next spring.
Congrats to K-Stater Kirby Hocutt
Texas Tech University announced Friday that Kirby Hocutt, a K-State graduate and former linebacker for Coach Snyder, has been named its new Director of Athletics. That is now three K-State graduates who are currently AD's in the Big 12 Conference, joining Deloss Dodds at Texas and Sheahon Zenger at KU. It has been my pleasure to get to know Kirby over the last decade or so. Since I arrived at Kansas State he has been a tremendous resource to me in understanding the heritage and opportunities here, and I look forward to working with him for many, many years in support of the student-athletes and institutions of our league.
Baseball Opens Home Season at Tointon Family Stadium
Coach Hill and the baseball team are off to a 5-2 start on the year, including a 5-4 come-from-behind triumph over No. 17 Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this past weekend. We open our home schedule on Friday with a 3 p.m. game against Western Illinois. There are still great season ticket options available, including reserved lower bowl seats behind home plate for less than $4 per game! In fact, tomorrow night is "Meet Your Seat Night" at Tointon Family Stadium. Head coach Brad Hill and selected players will be available to chat with fans about the 2011 season and help fans pick out available seats with the best sight-lines to the field. The event will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Salute K-State's Basketball Seniors
Come out to Bramlage tomorrow night as we honor women's basketball seniors Kelsey Hill and Shalin Spani on Senior Night. The Cats take on No. 5 Texas A&M beginning at 7 p.m. The Wildcats have had a great season and are battling for a NCAA berth. Great seats still remain, including a Wildcat Weekday 4-Pack for as little as $30 that consists of four tickets and four concession stand vouchers. Then, we will honor men's basketball seniors Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly prior to Saturday's 12:30 p.m. game against Iowa State.
Staying Connected with K-State Athletics
The spring season, particularly the months of February and March, is a very busy time with so many of our teams competing. We want to make sure our fans are reminded of all the ways to stay updated and follow our student-athletes and how they are performing both athletically and academically. Whether it's through letters such as these, our official k-statesports.com website (All-Access player for video and audio, blogs or Gametracker live stats), K-State Sports Extra free email service, Facebook page (K-State Sports), YouTube page or Twitter account (@kstatesports), our staff is doing a terrific job in keeping Wildcat Nation informed. We hope that our fans are able to travel to Manhattan and attend ballgames on a regular basis but for those who cannot, including the 100,000 alumni and friends who live outside the state of Kansas, be sure to follow the Cats online via the internet, mobile device or television set.
That's it for today. The women's golf team is currently playing in Weston, Fla., in its first action of the spring and will wrap up later today, while Coach Bietau and the 45th-ranked tennis team will also host Houston Saturday at 2 p.m. at Body First Tennis and Fitness Center. See you this weekend!