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Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 27

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

It's Homecoming weekend, and we are already enjoying seeing K-State alumni rolling in for a full weekend of activities, which we'll cover in greater detail later in this letter.  But first, let's all wish K-State's men's and women's cross country teams good luck in our first Big 12 Championship of the year, tomorrow morning in Austin.
 
I do want to take a quick moment to look back at our victorious trip to West Virginia last weekend, primarily because of the numerous letters and notes I have received from our fans about how well they were treated by the host fans of the Big 12's newest member institution.  We salute President Jim Clements and AD Oliver Luck for establishing a high level of sportsmanship expectation and tone.  And, we continue to appreciate the great job K-State fans are doing to set the example for all of college athletics in how we welcome our visiting fans here at Bill Snyder Family Stadium with "The Best Fan Experience in Big 12."
 
And, it was a tremendous performance on and off the field in Milan-Puskar Stadium, with K-Staters from 22 states attending the pre-game alumni function (click here for additional alumni functions on the road) and approximately 3,500-4,000 Wildcat fans at the game, all wearing purple I might add! Thanks for your passion for the Cats!

And now let's get to the updates!
 
No. 16 Volleyball on a Roll
Also storming into Morgantown this week was Suzie Fritz's 16th-ranked volleyball team, sweeping the Mountaineers on Wednesday night.  Come out to Ahearn tomorrow night 7 p.m. for Pack the Field House Night against Baylor.  All tickets are only $1.
 
Speaking of Incredible Fan Support
Over the last couple weeks I've had the pleasure of being with lots of K-State fans across the state including speaking to two classes on campus, the South Overland Park Rotary Club, our new Student Athletics advisory team, the K-State Dean's Council and the Kansas City Catbackers meeting at Lucky Brew Grill last Tuesday.  It was at that meeting that one of our loyal fans asked a question that for a moment left me speechless.  For a bit of background, I love going to the KC Catbackers events because we usually have about 150 of our most passionate fans and have a really interesting and direct question and answer session with the group that feels like a cross between a pep rally, town hall meeting and a (good) family discussion!
 
So after about 45 minutes of thanking our fans for the incredible support and attendance, answering questions about budget, fan experience, the Big 12, our university programs, facility plans, etc., came the "question."
 
A gentleman raised his hand and sincerely said, "John, it's great to see how much progress the University is making, but, are we as fans meeting YOUR expectations?"
 
Wow!  Another incredible example of how much our fans care and what makes the K-State Nation great and unique!  The world is full of people who wait for others to "fix" their problems.  Instead K-State people are determined to be part of the solution - and that's why you've packed the house wherever the 'Cats are playing, wear the Purple every day, and have driven $100 million in athletic facility construction over the past three years.  Together we're setting new levels of excellence while never taking success for granted, as we continue towards our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics program.
 
On behalf of our 458 student-athletes, and our 136 coaches and staff members, thank you!
 
Students Step Up, Again
Last night, K-State's Student Governing Association voted nearly unanimously (58-0-1) to continue the annual allocation of student privilege fee support of intercollegiate athletics at the $500,000 level.  These dollars are used solely to fund wages for the great student workers who serve as ushers, parking attendants, etc., at K-State events.  It is a great win-win partnership for Athletics and our students.  Our student section this year at football and volleyball games has been incredible.  National media and visiting teams are consistently amazed at their passion and energy.  Let's keep it rolling!
 
NCAA Compliance
One of my mentors, Hall of Fame coach Doug Dickey always said that the "wind blows hard at the top of the flag pole." As we head into the stretch run with nationally-ranked teams in equestrian, volleyball and football we have to remember that with high visibility and excitement comes potential vulnerability and pitfalls.  Please remember to call or email our compliance staff, led by Associate AD Lindsey Babcock, anytime you have NCAA related questions.  They can be reached at 785.532.3990.  Remember that it is generally not permissible for fans to send gifts, buy meals or drinks, though small and well intentioned, for our student-athletes or their families.  Let's all be vigilant and "ask before we act" to avoid accidently endangering a student-athlete's eligibility.
 
Klein Named a Finalist for Senior CLASS Award
Congratulations to quarterback Collin Klein on being named a finalist for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award, which highlights NCAA Division I FBS seniors that have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.  An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities, and Collin has certainly done that.  All of our student-athletes are great ambassadors and represent our university out in the community with tremendous class.  Fan voting is a part of the selection process and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website - www.seniorclassaward.com - through December 3.  Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' vote to determine the winner, which will be announced during the 2012-13 bowl season.
 
WSC Updates
Our sellout crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium tomorrow will have the opportunity to see the terrific progress being made on the West Stadium Center as truckloads of steel arrived in Manhattan over the course of the last two weeks.  The steel structure on the south portion of the West Stadium Center is taking shape and currently stands almost four stories high!  We are pleased with the progress being made and look forward to watching this facility rise over the course of the next 10 months.  Click here to see our live webcams of the project.
 
Big Wildcat Weekend Ahead
We hope you can make it to Manhattan this weekend as a host of events and activities culminate K-State Homecoming.  In addition to all of the homecoming activities throughout the week (click here for full details and a schedule), the football team will square off with Texas Tech tomorrow in a 2:30 p.m. FOX-televised game, while the volleyball squad will then host Baylor at 7 p.m.  Our basketball teams, which begin the 2012-13 season in just a few days, will get the weekend underway as we will host a public viewing of the new Basketball Training Facility and both squads will participate in the Wildcat Basketball Preview Show prior to Saturday's football game.  Click here for full details of these events.  Also, Mark Simoneau will be honored at Saturday's football game for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame this December as the National Football Foundation will be on hand for the official public recognition of Mark's selection.  And, the weekend will also mark the 20th anniversary of K-State's first bowl team as members of the 1982 Independence Bowl team will be back in town for a reunion.  We appreciate the legacy each of those individuals left during their time at K-State!
 
Niedermayerova Claims ITA Regional Crown
All-American Petra Niedermayerova had a big week at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Central Regional earlier this week as she brought home the ITA Regional main draw singles title, earning an automatic berth into the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York next month.  Congrats to Petra on her second straight appearance at the national indoor championships!
 
Cross Country Teams Head to Big 12 Championships
Good luck to Coach Smith and both of our cross country teams this weekend as they both head to Austin for the Big 12 Championships.  Both teams have had some terrific performances this season, and we wish them well on Saturday.  The women's race gets underway at 10 a.m., while the men start at 11 a.m.  Also, congrats to senior Kyle Hanson and sophomore Fernando Roman from the men's squad and senior Laura Lee Baird, sophomore Laura Galvan and sophomore Erika Schiller from the women's squad on earning Academic All-Big 12 honors earlier this week!
 
That will do it for today.  Good luck to all of our teams in action this weekend and next week, which include our No. 6 equestrian squad, winners of five in a row, and both of our men's and women's golf squads.  And while a majority of our teams are either in the midst of their seasons or approaching the start of competition, squads like our baseball, rowing and track and field teams are hard at work in off-season workouts.

As always, we sincerely thank you for your continued support of K-State Athletics.

Go Cats!


John Currie