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.
In the midst of all the busyness of the holiday season I hope that each of you has been able to enjoy some time with your families and those who are special to you. The extended Currie family enjoyed a special pre-Christmas weekend in Kansas City where we joined 16,303 of our K-State family members at the Sprint Center for the great men's basketball win over the No. 8 Florida Gators. With the win, Coach Weber's team became the first Wildcat squad to notch a victory over a regular-season non-conference top 10 foe since 1981! Congratulations also to Rodney McGruder for his second Big 12 Player of the Week award.
Men's Basketball Back in Bramlage... Today!
The 'Cats are now 9-2 and ranked No. 25 in the national polls, but we need a great crowd this evening in Bramlage for the 6 p.m. tipoff vs. UMKC followed by Monday's 1 p.m. New Year's Eve matchup with South Dakota. Tickets for both games are still available for as low as $20 each, while fans can purchase four or more general admission tickets for $15 each with a group rate of $10 each for 12 or more tickets. Tickets can be purchased at (800) 221.CATS or online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets. You can see both games on Fox Sports Midwest, Fox College Sports and also on K-StateHD.TV for those outside the Fox Sports Midwest footprint.
In just a little while I'll be listening via our free radio internet broadcast at www.kstatesports.com to our women's basketball game at UC-Santa Barbara at 4 p.m. (CT). After a big win over UNLV last week Coach Patterson's charges stand at 8-3 and will then roll into Big 12 play with an opening game at KU January 2. Brittany Chambers has toughed through her recent injury and continues her assault on the K-State record books as a number of exciting young players such as second-leading scorer Haley Texada are emerging for the 'Cats.
K-State, Big 12 Bowl Week Gets Started!
It's exciting to get bowl week underway and we're glad to have the Big 12 off to a terrific start as Baylor handled No. 17 UCLA in the Holiday Bowl Thursday and Texas Tech beat Minnesota last night to move the league to 2-0. Here in Arizona we have a full week of activities on tap.
The three Big 12 games today include TCU's game tonight in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl right down the road in Tempe which we are excited to attend - it is not too often that I get to attend a game as a fan!
We already see evidence of the Purple Pride invasion and we are estimating that between 30,000 and 40,000 K-Staters will be here for the game. Congratulations and thanks are due, again, to our incredible fans as the 22,500-plus Fiesta Bowl tickets distributed through the K-State ticket office were tops in the Big 12 and third only to Stanford (Rose Bowl) and Ole Miss (Compass Bowl) for tickets sold through participating schools.
If you are traveling to Arizona be sure and attend the traditional K-State bowl pep rally, set for Wednesday, January 2 at Chase Field, home of the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks. Gates to the stadium will open at 1 p.m. MST with the pep rally set to begin at approximately 2 p.m. After last year's unbelievable turnout at Rangers Ballpark, I can't wait to see the stadium packed with purple once again! The pep rally is produced through a joint effort of K-State's award-winning Alumni Association, the KSU Foundation and the President's Office, along with K-State Athletics.
You can keep up with the 'Cats in Arizona at k-statesports.com as daily stories, photo galleries and videos will recap each day's events and activities.
Finally, 2012 has been an incredible year for K-State. On the field and in the classroom we are making tremendous progress towards our vision of a model intercollegiate athletics program, while Kansas State University accelerates towards the ranks of the top American public universities under President Schulz's visionary K-State 2025 plan.
Thanks to the generosity of Ahearn Fund members we are tracking towards another record-breaking fundraising year. Remember that you can contact the Ahearn staff via AhearnFund.com or toll free at 888-232-9074 if you need any assistance to complete a calendar year end gift and receive a 2012 gift receipt for tax purposes. The office, in Bramlage, will be open through the basketball game on December 31.
That's it for today! Enjoy your weekend, cheer for the 'Cats and the Big 12 and we'll plan to see you in Arizona very soon!