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January 2013 Archives

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 31

Good Morning K-State Nation,

It's already been a busy week including two excellent days of Big 12 meetings and a big home basketball win over Texas, both of which we will review in a few moments, along with a few other topics from around the department.

However, I first want to share the very exciting news that later this morning we will be announcing that Coach Snyder has signed a new five-year contract that will solidify his services through the 2017 season. The new contract, which has an automatic rollover provision after the completion of each season mirroring the agreement signed in 2009, increases Coach's compensation to $2.75 million for the 2013 season, while annual increases of $100,000 will bring the five-year total to $14.75 million through the 2017 season. The new deal has been approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Kirk Schulz. Check k-statesports.com later this morning for our full announcement.

We are thrilled Coach Snyder has accepted this new contract and proud of the competitive improvement our team has made - both on the field and in the classroom - under his leadership. Coach Snyder's daily drive, focus and energy in continuing to build the K-State football program are truly remarkable and inspirational. While he is not one to focus attention on himself, President Schulz and I felt that it was important to recognize, in this very significant way, his tremendous leadership and commitment to continuing to lead the K-State football program.

Coach Snyder, our coaching staff and our student-athletes have done their part by representing the university in a first-class manner while also providing championship performances both on the field and in the classroom. Our fans have done their part by filling Bill Snyder Family Stadium every week, setting a national standard for post-season travel and investing in transformational projects such as the new West Stadium Center. Thanks to our K-State donors, over $100 million in facility improvements are currently ongoing to enhance our student-athlete and fan experience.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 21

It was a great K-State weekend with big basketball wins over Oklahoma and TCU, respectively, exciting record-breaking track performances in Ahearn Field House and a number of tennis victories for the Wildcat netters!

Today's holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has special significance for K-State. As most K-Staters are aware, on January 19, 1968, Ahearn Field House was the site of Dr. King's last campus address prior to his assassination in Memphis.

Since arriving in Manhattan I've also learned that it was on the K-State football team that Harold Robinson in 1949 became the first African-American in the Big Seven Conference to receive an athletic scholarship, while Manhattan native Earl Woods, the late father of professional golfer Tiger Woods, later became the first African-American baseball player in the conference. Click here to read an excellent article from K-State's Division of Communication and Marketing about K-State's earliest African-American students.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and K-State is proud to have the most diverse student population in our history as well as the highest African-American student population of any four-year institution in the state of Kansas.

K-State's Office of Multicultural Programs and Diversity, led by Dr. Myra Gordon, provides terrific leadership in building an inclusive campus climate that fosters mutual understanding among diverse groups. Click here for more information on the university's multicultural programs.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 10

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season and is off and running with positive New Year's resolutions for 2013! After arriving back in Manhattan last Friday from Phoenix, we put in a full and triumphant day at Bramlage Coliseum Saturday with a great men's victory over then No. 22 Oklahoma State followed by a thrilling buzzer-beating win for the women over TCU. Both games featured spirited crowd support including a valiant alumni pep band, filling in for the Pride students who were still on their journey back from the Fiesta Bowl after a side trip to the Grand Canyon.

Before I go any further let me again thank the entire Wildcat Nation for a tremendous turnout in Arizona for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. With an estimated 20,000-plus in attendance at our pep rally inside Chase Field and more than 40,000 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium for the game, you once again made a statement to the nation that K-State fans are the best in college football. The entire Fiesta Bowl staff, in addition to national and local Arizona media that attended both events, were blown away with the passion of our fans and how the Valley of the Sun was painted purple! Our alumni association, led by Amy Button Renz, once again set the national standard!

It was awesome to have ABC television star and K-State grad Eric Stonestreet in attendance at our pep rally, and I enjoyed hearing President Schulz's remarks on the progress towards K-State 2025. President Schulz also debuted an awesome video on upcoming campus improvements. Click here to see the video and learn more about these exciting steps forward as K-State heads towards the ranks of the top 50 public universities.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 29

Greetings from the Valley of the Sun! I have just returned to the hotel here in Scottsdale after attending this morning's excellent FCA breakfast with several members of our football team and staff. Former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna gave an inspirational address to a crowd of 1,200 local high school students, families and fans. As always, K-State was represented in a first-class manner as Coach Snyder, Collin Klein and Tre Walker took the stage and shared great comments.

It was good to be seated on the team plane yesterday among some of the 17 seniors (out of 27 total) who have already completed their K-State degree! Several Fiesta Bowl board members commented to me how well our university was represented as our team emerged from the plane in their grey slacks, ties and blazers. I am grateful to Coach Snyder, his staff and our captains for the leadership they provide.

Fiesta Wednesday: Bowl Day 6


View Wedneday's photo gallery | Watch video recap from Wednesday

By Mark Janssen

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Around 10:30 tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium, an era comes to an end.

It's about that time that No. 7 ... Collin Klein ... will take his final snap as a Kansas State Wildcat.

The hope is that it will come in an unprecedented 12th victory for a single K-State season, and a win that will make Klein the all-time winningest starting Wildcat quarterback with 23 victories.

That would be one more than Michael Bishop and Ell Roberson, who each lost in their final Wildcat game at the 1998 Alamo Bowl and the 2003 (season) Fiesta Bowl, respectively.

"He's been such a great leader for us and one that has created so many plays," said pass game coordinator Del Miller. "You really don't like to put such a load on one person, and we didn't necessarily try to, but so much of our offense came from keeping the ball in his hands."

First as a little-recruited quarterback, then moved to a backup receiver, and then back to quarterback where he eventually placed third in the Heisman Trophy voting and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Klein said, "It's definitely been a journey. It's been a great experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am just so blessed that God gave me the opportunity in this place and on this team."

Fiesta Tuesday: Bowl Day 5


View Tuesday's photo gallery | Watch video recap from Tuesday

By Mark Janssen

PHOENIX, Ariz. - September 15, 2009: Louisiana 17, Kansas State 15.

It was on that day, and against that team, and by that score, that Braden Wilson was introduced to losing.

"Honestly, it didn't hit me that hard," said the Wildcat fullback. "It was just on to the next game."

In Wilson's prep career at Smith Center (Kan.) High School that he was a part of 54 victories and 0 losses.

Yes, that's zero ... as in 0 ... losses.

"We lost a game when I was in seventh grade," said Wilson, who was on the Redmen team that once scored 72 points in the first quarter of a game for a national record, and was the stud running back who accounted for 1,807 yards on just 112 rushing attempts, plus scored 29 touchdowns, and, was part of the defense that didn't allow a point through the first 11 games of the season and allowed just 20 (840-20) in a 14-game season. "The next loss came on Sept. 15, 2008. It really didn't sink in for a while that I had been on a team that lost a game."

Wilson is now heading into the final game as a Wildcat with a K-State record of 34-16. In the last two seasons that mark is 21-4, with a Big 12 Championship and a conference record of 15-3.

While not compiling huge numbers himself - 21 all-time rushes for 44 yards and two touchdowns, plus 18 receptions for 144 yards - it's been Wilson's blocking from his fullback position that allowed Collin Klein to finish third in the Heisman Trophy balloting, and for John Hubert to have rushed for nearly 1,900 yards in the last two years.

"My top goal is to win the game. It's not in accumulating statistics," said Wilson. "I've just never been big on numbers other than wins and losses. When we're winning, all is good."

Fiesta Monday: Bowl Day 4


View Monday's photo gallery | Watch video recap from Monday

By Mark Janssen

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Kansas State's coaching staff isn't into picking "surprise" players, but if really pressured, the name of Cornelius Lucas would most certainly come up in the conversation.

So, are you a "surprise," Cornelius? "I wouldn't say that because I knew I had this in me."

Out of New Orleans, La., Lucas redshirted in 2009, had a few snaps in 2010, and a few more in 2011. But he never started, and never played at his home of offensive tackle when the game was on the line ... until this year when he started every game and became a first-team All-Big 12 performer at left tackle.

"It's just been a process," said Lucas. "Awards like that have always been my aspiration, but it's just taken working toward it every day."

Lucas admitted that perhaps his "drive to excel" wasn't what it should have been before because there were fixtures on the line ahead of him.

"It wasn't right, but I knew I wasn't going to play on Saturday so maybe I didn't put enough into it," said Lucas. "This year I had guys in front of me leaving, so I knew the door was open ... .it would be up to me. My motivation to play and practice harder went way up."

Of the 6-foot-9, 324-pound Lucas going from a non-factor in 2011 to a first-team all-conference player in 2012, line coach Charlie Dickey said, "He became committed to those '16 Goals' that coach has set. He decided he wanted to be a great player. You know, it takes time to grow, get stronger and learn the offense. With Cornelius, it's been a process. He's always been committed, but it's been a process."