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Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 10

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!
Today is a very significant day for K-State, and let's start by announcing that our incredible fans and supporters have set a record for total giving to the department for the FIFTH STRAIGHT YEAR as well as catapulting Ahearn Fund membership to an unprecedented level!

Thanks to grass-roots support of Ahearn Fund members world-wide, a record $46.4 million was contributed to K-State Athletics in 2013-14, reflecting a jump of 21 percent from the previous year's total of $36.8 million, while the number of K-Staters participating in the Ahearn Fund surpassed the 10,000 mark for the first time in department history.

Thanks to you, in just five years outright contributions to the department have totaled $143 million, while the $46.4 million amount this year is closing in on quadrupling the amount of $12.7 million raised in 2009.

In addition to our grassroots family base of 10,156 Ahearn Fund donors making gifts beginning at just $50 per year, over the past five years, we have also been fortunate to receive 21 private gifts in excess of $1 million, enabling the department to complete the new $18 million Basketball Training Facility, Intercollegiate Rowing Center, Mike Goss Tennis Stadium and build momentum towards the department's comprehensive facility improvement plan benefitting all 450 Wildcat student-athletes. On August 30, 2013, doors to the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Stadium, a transformational project and a facility that is an essential step in advancing K-State's competitive future, were officially opened, while plans were unveiled this spring for Phase III of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan - the Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium Project.

Gifts to the Ahearn Fund are designated for scholarships, sports medicine, academic support, modernization of facilities and other services that directly benefit K-State student-athletes while also funding K-State's margin of excellence through enhancements such as recruiting budgets and coaches salaries. We now boast members from 49 states, and hope that you will join us (if you haven't already!).
Today also marks the five-year anniversary of our K-State Pledge. It was on July 10, 2009, (click here to see that announcement) that we first introduced the pledge and unveiled our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program and 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 Athletic Performances.
The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12.

Last summer, we covered each of these goals and highlighted the progress that we have made toward our vision, and we have taken even further steps this past year. I am proud of our coaches, staff, fans and student-athletes for all doing their part!

It would be difficult to cover everything that we have accomplished over the past five years, but I would like to take a moment to provide a snapshot of some of the highlights. Later this summer we will publish our 2013-14 Annual Report, which will not only highlight our achievements from this past year but also the past five years.

Goal 1: A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience
New facilities include the new West Stadium Center at BSFS, Basketball Training Facility, Intercollegiate Rowing Center and Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.
Expanded the staffs in life skills, academics, sports medicine, and strength and conditioning to increase individual attention for student-athletes.
Opened the new Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table in West Stadium Center and hired a dedicated sports nutritionist.
Held a reunion weekend for every K-State athletics team over the last five years.
Shared the great stories of all K-State student-athletes through the daily K-State Sports Extra newsletter.
Formalized and expanded opportunities for student-athlete feedback through exit interviews and end-of-year surveys, continually improving our marks for student-athlete satisfaction over five years.
Rewarded teams with Wildcat Cup recognition tracking achievement by student-athletes in personal, academic, athletic, career and service achievement.
Upgraded practice, training and competition facilities for all sports including a new turf surface at Tointon Family Stadium and Colbert Hills Clubhouse.
Fundraising has been completely overhauled with more than $143 million in actual gifts raised for K-State Athletics in five years.

Goal 2: Value to Our University, Community and State
President Kirk Schulz's leadership has helped maintain K-State's place in the national landscape of collegiate athletics through service on the Big 12 and NCAA Board of Directors as well as the NCAA Executive Committee.
Expanded season ticket fan base to 46 states nationally leading to increased economic impact from visitors to home athletics events.
Generated work for local sub-contractors and business for Manhattan hotels, restaurants, and stores with over $125 million in athletics facility projects.
Collected and transferred over $6.5 million in sales tax to state of Kansas over five years.
Eliminated $1.6 million in annual direct university support since February of 2010 and after FY2015 will annually receive zero direct or indirect university support.

Goal 3: Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance
Published an annual budget card each year for fans, donors, and other stakeholders as part of our pledge to transparency.
Operated with a budget surplus in all five years, allowing for annual investments into key program investments and annual budget growth from $44 million to $60 million.
Included all contractual details in coaching announcements on www.kstatesports.com.
Have taken a proactive approach in following University, Big 12 Conference and NCAA rules, including transition to new compliance software, monthly coaches meetings and education of all staff resulting in no major violations over five years.
Made enhancements aimed at improving opportunities for female student-athletes, including Mike Goss Tennis Stadium, Intercollegiate Rowing Center, Basketball Training Facility, clubhouse and locker room at Colbert Hills, upgrades at Ahearn Field House, R.V. Christian Track Complex, and Timbercreek Stables.

Goal 4: Championship Athletic Performances
99 All-Americans, 133 All-Big 12 honors, 30 Big 12 championships and five national titles.
459 Academic All-Big 12 selections and 37 Academic All-Americans.
Elite 89 and 88 Awards for highest NCAA GPA by Ryann Krais and Alyssa Bellinder.
All Wildcat programs have remained well above the NCAA .930 APR standard with five teams currently leading the Big 12 (FB, M/W Golf and M/W CC).
Epic 2012-13 year with Big 12 Championships in football, men's basketball and baseball.
Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, two-time National Coach of the Year Bill Snyder, four bowl appearances and a 42-22 overall record in football.
Men's basketball's elite eight appearance and five straight NCAA tournament bids.
Volleyball Sweet Sixteen appearance including a dramatic win over Nebraska in Lincoln.
Two-time NCAA National Champion and Olympic high jump silver medalist Erik Kynard.
Baseball's NCAA Regional Championship victory in Manhattan.
Have recruited three proven winners as head coaches to Manhattan all of who had won conference championships and coach of the year honors at previous institutions, including 2013 Big 12 men's basketball coach of the year Bruce Weber.

Goal 5: The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12
Developed a customer-first culture, including "Welcome to K-State" greeting throughout all K-State Athletics facilities and events.
Invested in facility improvements that benefitted fans directly including east view-level restrooms at Bill Snyder Family Stadium (2011), seating and safety enhancements at Ahearn Field House (2010, 2012) and outdoor track (2012).
Launched K-StateHD.TV in August 2011 and have grown the network into the No. 1 digital network among all CBS college sports properties.
Completed Phase II of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium master plan, installing a Hall of Honor, doubling concessions points of sale and restrooms, improving walkway and leisure space along the south end zone plaza, and resurfaced the east parking lots.
Initiated a comprehensive fan feedback program including post-game surveys, "Tell John" email accessibility, and focus on issue resolution and responsiveness.
Steadily increased home football attendance, selling out season tickets for two consecutive years (2013, 2014) and generating 21 home sellouts in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  

So, what do you think is next for K-State Athletics?  Shoot me an email and give me your thoughts.  And remember the grass-roots support and personal engagement of the K-State Nation has been, and will continue to be, the driving factor in achieving our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. We will continue to work hard every day to provide our student-athletes a world-class experience, and we thank you for everything that you do in support of them!

Have a great rest of the week, and......
Go Cats!