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Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 19

Good Morning K-State Nation!

It's time for installment No. 4 in our five-part series reviewing progress towards our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program introduced July 10, 2009, (click here to see that announcement) along with our five core goals of:

A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience
Value to Our University, Community and State
Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance
Championship Level Athletic Performances
The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12

Earlier this week we covered Goal No. 3 - Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance - and today we focus on Goal No. 4 - Championship Level Athletic Performances.

Before we get into the highlights, I want to share how proud I am of our coaches and student-athletes for the success they have achieved over the past four years. Collectively, I truly believe we have the best group of coaches in the country and over 450 student-athletes who are fully committed to achieving success on the field, in the classroom and in life.

Space does not allow including every single athletic achievement since 2009 but here is our best attempt at the highlights. You can visit k-statesports.com to relive every season with stories, stats, photos and videos.

Now on to the highlights:

Let's start with a few cumulative numbers. Since 2009, Wildcat student-athletes have earned 78 All-America honors, 101 All-Big 12 honors and four individual national titles. We have won three Big 12 team championships - all coming this past year - while our teams have made a combined 43 appearances in the post-season in the past four years.

We are equally as proud of our student-athletes' success in the classroom as a total of 358 have been named Academic All-Big 12 since 2009, while 16 have earned Academic All-America distinction and a total of 1,724 have been named to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. The Big 12 began a new program in 2012-2013 of naming a "Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year" in each conference sport and I am pleased that three were Wildcats - Brittany Chambers in women's basketball, Jared King in baseball and Petra Niedermayerova in women's tennis. Also Ryann Krais and Alyssa Bellinder from our track and field squad have also earned NCAA Elite 89 and 88 Awards for having the highest GPA during their respective NCAA Championship appearances.

This past year was arguably one of the best in school history, and fans will remember the "Year of the Wildcat" for quite some time as K-State became just the second Big 12 school and fourth BCS program since 1998 to win league titles in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same year. Additional highlights from 2012-13, included:

  • A No. 1 BCS ranking in football and Fiesta Bowl berth.
  • Heisman Trophy finalist in Collin Klein.
  • NCAA Tournament appearances in volleyball and men's basketball.
  • An NCAA Regional championship (in Manhattan!) and Super Regional appearance in baseball.
  • Five individual Big 12 Track and Field championships.
  • Olympic silver medalist in high jumper Erik Kynard.
  • A Reserve National Championship in equestrian.
  • NCAA Cross Country Championships appearance by Laura Galvan
  • Became the first school in Big 12 history to win coach of the year honors in football, men's basketball and baseball in the same year.

A look back at 2011-12 finds many accomplishments as well with K-State being the lone Big 12 school and one of only five across the nation to advance to a bowl game and win games in the NCAA volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball tournaments. Here are some other memorable moments from 2011-12:

  • A No. 8 final BCS ranking in football and berth in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
  • A Sweet 16 appearance in volleyball.
  • Numerous Big 12 Track and Field individual championships.
  • A combined 9-4 record against the Jayhawks.
  • Tysyn Hartman was named a National Scholar Athlete and Campbell Trophy Finalist.
  • Victor Ojeleye won the Arthur Ashe, Jr., Award.
  • Mark Simoneau was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

The 2010-11 athletics year saw a record-number of teams advance to the NCAA postseason as the football team appeared in a bowl game, both basketball and baseball teams made the NCAA Tournament and both track and field teams finished in the Top 20, while piling up a 13-1 head-to-head record against in-state rival KU. Individually the Wildcats sported two NCAA championships in track & field, and women's tennis sensation Petra Niedermayerova was both Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year.

My first year in 2009-10 was memorable in so many ways. My first-ever K-State sporting event took place in Tennessee as I watched Coach Sweeney and our rowing team compete in the SIRA's in Oak Ridge shortly after my hiring. The football team played for the Big 12 North division title on the last weekend of the regular season in Coach Snyder's first year back, while the baseball team made its second straight appearance in a NCAA Regional. And who could forget the men's basketball team's run to the Elite Eight in Salt Lake City that saw our guys fight hard and fall just four minutes short of advancing to the Final Four.

Which one of these highlights or years has been most memorable to you?

After four years of working with our terrific coaches, faculty and staff, experiencing the hard-working culture of our student-athletes, living in the best college town in America and witnessing the passion and commitment of Wildcat fans world-wide, I am more convinced than ever before of K-State's championship potential. Candidly, when we first arrived in 2009 I cautiously hedged a bit on goal No. 4 by including the word "level" between "championship" and "performances."

We can never take success for granted - we have to stick to the fundamentals that enabled the accomplishments of the past few years. But, it is time to adjust our goal just a bit, and henceforth "level" is deleted - Goal No. 4 of our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program will simply read "Championship Athletic Performances."

Next we wrap up our five-letter series with the most important goal of all, No. 1, A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience.

I wish everyone a great weekend. Be sure and check out all the happenings at Monday's Big 12 football media days - the fall is just around the corner.

And, as a reminder we announced yesterday that a limited number of standing-room-only football single game tickets and 500 returned visitor tickets for the Oklahoma game are going on sale on Monday at 8:30 a.m. Remember that we are essentially completely sold out for the season for the first time ever - spread the word to your K-State friends who are used to being able to grab a ticket game week that this may be their best chance!

Thanks as always and

Go Cats!


John Currie