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Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 28

Good Morning Wildcat Nation!

It's hard to believe we are already heading into the month of March, which means our basketball, track and field and equestrian teams are gearing up for postseason action. Congratulations to both basketball teams on big road wins this week as the men knocked off Texas Tech in Lubbock and the women picked up a big Sunflower Showdown win over the Jayhawks in Lawrence. Before we dive into our regular department updates, I would like to share with you some exciting news.

President Schulz Announces Largest Private Gift in K-State History
Earlier this morning, President Schulz announced a $60 million gift from the Jack Vanier Family - the largest private donation in Kansas State's history! This historical gift will have a tremendous impact on the entire university community with $40 million benefitting students, faculty, programs and facilities on both the Manhattan and Salina campuses while $20 million of the gift has been designated by the family towards Phase III of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan - the North End Zone project - which we announced several weeks ago. The support of the Vanier Family is one of the most consistent factors in the modern history of K-State Athletics and this gift will have a dramatic effect on our ability to get closer to our fundraising goals and the potential beginning of Phase III construction. All K-State coaches and student-athletes join me in expressing our appreciation for Jack, Donna, Marty, John and Mary Vanier. Click here to read the full university announcement on this transformational gift.

From our dedicated fans across the country, who have packed Bramlage and created a 13 game sell-out streak at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, to local Catbacker clubs, $50 annual Ahearn Fund members and transformational gifts like the Vanier's, K-State Family members have come together like never before to provide Wildcat student-athletes a world-class experience and drive momentum towards the vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. Thank you and let's drive on!
And now for some additional updates from around the department:

Football Season Tickets on Sale Monday
With the start of spring football practice just about a month away, and our full schedule now in place, excitement is building for the 2014 season. Fans can secure their seats for one of the best home schedules in K-State history beginning Monday as season tickets go on sale. Public season bench seating is priced at $320 again this season, a cost of $46 per game, while chairback seating remains at $355 or $51 per game. Prices for K-State faculty/staff are $255 for bench and $285 for chairback - a cost of $36 and $41 per game, respectively. A Young Alumni ticket package is available at only $200 for K-Staters who received their undergraduate degree since December 2009.

While there are several single-game promotions and combo packages for numerous games, new for 2014 is a "Wildcat Pricing" model for key games against Auburn, Texas and KU -- should any single-game premium bench tickets remain available after season ticket sales conclude. This unique concept will start with remaining reserved premium bench seats priced at $225 per ticket. Each week that any of these tickets remain available, the price will drop $25 until all remaining seats are sold. It is important to note that every fan who purchases a "Wildcat Pricing" ticket will pay the same lowest price. So, if you buy a ticket at $225 during the first week, and the final lowest price when all tickets are sold is $125, then you would be refunded $100 from your original purchase. All premium seats available in this option, which are located in sections 2-9 and 20-23, will be sold for no less than $100 per ticket.

Click here for our full release and all ticket options for the 2014 season, and be sure and reserve your place in Bill Snyder Family Stadium beginning Monday!

Track and Field Ready for Big 12 Championships
Both of our track and field squads are back in Ames, Iowa, for the third time this indoor season as the Big 12 Championships take place today and tomorrow. Click here for an up-close look at participants from both the men's and women's teams. Among those to watch this weekend are Kyle Wait (pole vault), Jharyl Bowry (long jump), Devin Field (long jump), Carlos Rodriguez (sprints), Devin Dick (heptathlon), Tia' Gamble (600), Alyx Treasure (high jump), Sara Savatovic (weight throw) and Erica Twiss (pentathlon). Be sure and check k-statesports.com throughout the weekend for championship results.

Baseball Home Series Cancelled, Heading to Texas
Mother Nature has decided not to cooperate and forced our first home baseball series at Tointon Family Stadium to be cancelled. However, Coach Hill and his staff have worked the phones this week and arranged a trip to Abilene, Texas, where the squad will face Abilene Christian, Grand Canyon and Missouri State in four total games. Click here for the full release and schedule for the weekend. Following this weekend's action, the Bat Cats are scheduled to visit Nebraska on Tuesday -- weather permitting -- before returning home a week from today for a three-game series against Iowa.

Basketball Readies for Big Games on Saturday
Both basketball teams are in the stretch run of their conference schedules as the women travel to Oklahoma State Saturday for a 2 p.m. matchup, while the men's squad will look for win No. 20 during a 6 p.m. home game with Iowa State. Listen to the women's game along the K-State Sports Network, while the men's game can be seen live on ESPNU. The women's squad then returns home on Monday to face TCU on Senior Night, so come out to Bramlage for the 7 p.m. matchup as we honor seniors Chantay Caron, Ashlynn Knoll and Katya Leick in their final home game!

Busy Weekend Ahead for Equestrian and Tennis
Also today, our fourth-ranked equestrian team hosts No. 2 Baylor beginning at 10 a.m. at Timbercreek Stables (admission is FREE!), while our women's tennis team is in the Big Apple for matches against Columbia (today) and Memphis (Saturday). Check k-statesports.com throughout the weekend for results of these teams.

A Look Inside K-State Athletics
You've heard me say many times how proud I am of our entire staff for their hard work and relentless efforts toward our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. One of my favorite events occurs each month when all 150-plus members of our staff, including our coaches, meet for 45 minutes in the team room at the Vanier Complex. These meetings serve as a way for us to discuss current national events in athletics, department initiatives, and we also welcome a special guest from the university to discuss their particular program or specialty area. For instance, yesterday, Dean John Floros from the College of Agriculture visited with us about the college's nationally-ranked academic programs and international impact K-Staters have in the field of agriculture. It is very important for all of our staff to meet and be engaged with our university community as we all work toward President Schulz's K-State 2025 vision of becoming of Top 50 public research university. We were also joined at yesterday's all-staff meeting by former Wildcat tennis student-athlete and current Ahearn Fund NLC member Mike Goss, who shared a few inspirational words to the staff. Mike is a good friend and a terrific K-Stater who, following his days at Great Bend High School and K-State, has gone out and achieved great things in the world and positively impacted so many people - just like so many of our great fans and supporters!

That will do it for today. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night at Bramlage Coliseum for the men's game. The madness of March is beginning - our team needs Bramlage to be packed and loud!

Go Cats!

John