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Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 21

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It has been a busy week, especially in Western Kansas as the 2015 Summer Catbacker Tour kicked off Monday in Dodge City and continues today in Colby before concluding tomorrow in Hays.  It is great to see the passion of K-Staters across the state, and I am reminded each year what a special and unique tradition these events are each summer.  We had another huge crowd in Scott City last night, which roared with applause when we announced the final score of our baseball team's Big 12 Tournament first-round upset over the Sooners as we began the program.

This afternoon we are making an exciting announcement about a new Ring of Honor class, K-State Football's highest honor, which was established under Coach Snyder's leadership in 2002. We are pleased that former greats Michael Bishop, Jordy Nelson, Clarence Scott and Darren Sproles will comprise the third class inducted into the elite fraternity, bringing the total number to 14.

These four football legends, all of whom have also earned their degrees from K-State, will have their names permanently affixed to the facing inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium during a halftime presentation of the 2015 season opener against South Dakota.  The names will also be prominently shown on the Ring of Honor display in the West Stadium Center concourse inside Gate B.

All of us in K-State Athletics are thrilled to honor these four football greats who have had a transformational impact on the success of our program and continue to be tremendous ambassadors for Kansas State University.  Each of these individuals has displayed tremendous integrity and overall excellence both on and off the field, and we are proud to recognize them for their commitment and contributions.  I have enjoyed getting to know each of these men over the course of the last six years, and I know you will join me in welcoming them back to K-State in September as we recognize them.  Check k-statesports.com for our full release, which includes biographical information in addition to a short video.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 16

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

A jam-packed weekend began in fine fashion on Friday highlighted by another Big 12 title from junior Sara Saratovic, her third straight in the hammer throw, an 11-0 baseball win over KU in Lawrence and a special evening graduation reception and senior ring ceremony for the 44 current and former student-athletes who will receive their K-State degrees at commencement activities today.  Our Academic Learning Center staff does a terrific job of creating this special recognition for our student-athletes and their friends and family, and it has become an important tradition befitting our commitment to A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience.  In addition to great food, fellowship and lots of picture taking, each graduate was presented with their senior K-State Athletics ring followed by Stanton Weber (who will compete this fall as a post-graduate student) giving a great address on behalf of all our graduates.  It is always meaningful to see the pride of our families in attendance and in itself is a great reminder to all of us that, while it is easy to get caught up in the thrills and emotion of competitions and wins and losses, our top priority is to provide all of our student-athletes with a world-class experience and all of the tools and resources they need to be successful in life.  On behalf of our entire athletics department and university community, I would like to congratulate these 44 student-athletes on officially becoming K-State graduates!

We also had a very special guest on campus earlier this week as Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby visited Manhattan on Wednesday and Thursday.  During his visit he and President Schulz met with our head coaches, spoke at our all-staff meeting in Bramlage and toured our facilities, including the new Vanier Football Complex construction and our K-StateHD.TV production facilities.  Commissioner Bowlsby is a tremendous leader for our conference, and we are fortunate to have him leading the way as we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 8

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

After a productive week in Phoenix at Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl meetings, it feels awesome to be finally heading home to Manhattan this afternoon.  Our thoughts have certainly been with those affected by the heavy rains and flash flooding around town earlier this week and the spring storms in the region over the last few days.

Before we get into our regular updates, let me brief you about our conference meetings.  This annual gathering is referred to as our "coaches" meetings as in attendance were our football and men's and women's basketball coaches, in addition to our senior women's administrators and the Big 12 staff.  Other conferences including the Pac-12, Mountain West, MAC and CUSA hold similar meetings at the same complex, so it is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues around the country.

During our stretch of meetings we had joint discussions with our three coaching groups, a meeting just with the AD's and SWA's, a meeting with each coaching group individually and some discussions between the AD's and commissioner only.  Each of the groups met individually, as well, and we had presentations from our league media partners ESPN and FOX and reviews of the past season from our respective officials supervisors.

Over the course of two days we had some terrific discussion on many subjects including the highly publicized topic of our football tiebreaker, formulation of our positions on legislation the Big 12 and NCAA will be considering to improve the student-athlete experience and sites for future sports championships.  Attracting the most media attention, of course, was the ongoing discussion of our round-robin schedule method of crowning a football champion in light of the most recent College Football Playoff meetings.

I was so impressed within the room of the thoughtfulness of our colleagues on the football championship issue.  The solid consensus among the AD's was that we need to stay the course with our philosophy while we continue to evaluate the evolution of the CFP era.

Overall it was so encouraging to not just hear the subject matter but also the tone of our intra-conference discussions, especially considering that five years ago, at the same hotel, was when the conference realignment troubles picked up what became unstoppable momentum.  Half a decade later we have a great sense of camaraderie and positive momentum in the Big 12 and our future seems brighter than ever.  Click here for Commissioner Bowlsby's video recap of the spring meetings.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 30

Good Evening K-State Nation,

Congratulations and thanks are in order to the K-State Nation for turning out in record fashion last weekend in Kansas City for our spring football game despite the chilly and rainy weather.  I apologize for not being in attendance as my family and I were in North Carolina following the passing of my father last week.  I have heard great things about the day from President Schulz and our staff.  I've also spoken with a number of student-athletes since Saturday, and all were appreciative of the unique opportunity they had to play in Sporting Park and were excited to run out of the tunnel before a packed house of 17,000-plus fans. Thank you!

And speaking of football excitement, we are tracking toward extending our consecutive sellout streak to 27 games in 2015 as our renewal rate for football season tickets is currently beyond 97 percent - even better than last year's final figures!  Appointment times for seat assignments and upgrades will be sent out by email next week, and we look forward to another exciting season beginning with South Dakota at 6:10 p.m. on September 5.

It is great to be back home in Manhattan, and we have had a busy week in the office.  In addition to catching up on paperwork I have done several exit interviews with graduating student-athletes in multiple sports.  It is great to get a first-hand perspective on their view of their experience and their evaluation of our progress toward our goal of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program - as well as ideas for improvement.

I also had a nice visit with B.J. Finney at the end of today as he stopped by the compliance office to pick up his last check from Ms. Vera.  We wish B.J., Tyler and our other graduated football student-athletes the best of luck as the NFL Draft gets started tonight!

And now, let's get to some updates from around the department.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 17

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

As we get this weekend's Texas Tech series at Tointon Stadium underway, let's first congratulate Coach Hill and our baseball team on not only a dramatic comeback walk-off win in extra innings over Wichita State on Tuesday night but also for last weekend's series win over No. 2 TCU.  I am proud of our coaches, staff and student-athletes for continuing to work hard every day, and the progress being made has been fun to watch.  Let's keep it going this weekend against the 19th-ranked Red Raiders!

Have you been by Bill Snyder Family Stadium lately and seen the progress on the new Vanier Football Complex?  On Tuesday afternoon we had the opportunity to walk through the building with ESPN.com Big 12 reporter Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) - among the highlights was seeing the new state-of-the-art hydrotherapy units being installed in the training room and the windows going into the fourth floor west side.  Also, the limestone field wall on the north end - which previews the long term plan of a limestone wall fronting the seating sections surrounding Dave Wagner Field - is now largely complete and looks great!  Also, work has begun by Daktronics to install the big new northwest corner video board, another commitment to our goal of offering "The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12 Conference."  Click here for more pictures and the link to our live web cam in addition to Jake's story on his visit and the construction.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 3

Good Morning K-State Nation,

It has been a few weeks since I have last written, and certainly we have had a lot going on during that time.  I would like to start today by congratulating Coach Hill and the baseball team on a big 8-2 series-opening win over West Virginia last night at Tointon Family Stadium.  We had a terrific crowd for a cool Thursday evening and our "Blackout" promotion.  Be sure and head out to Tointon this weekend, and best of luck to the squad in the final two games of the series - tonight at 6:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 11 a.m.

I also would like to commend Casie Maxwell and our equestrian team on a runner-up finish at last week's Big 12 Championships in Fort Worth.  It has been a busy week for Coach Maxwell as she was named Big 12 Coach of the Year following the team's performance last weekend while yesterday she and her husband, Bailey, celebrated the birth of their second child.  In addition, sophomore Henley Adkins was named Big 12 Rider of the Year in Equitation on the Flat at the championships, and we wish them the best as they prepare for the NCEA Championships next weekend.

Last Thursday was also a special day in our continued trajectory of achieving our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program as we took a few moments to celebrate the ceremonial "topping out" of the steelwork for the new Vanier Football Complex.  While the crews were back hard at work within 30 minutes of the ceremony, it was a great time to stop for a moment and again recognize not only the 200-plus construction workers who have spent nearly 20 hours a day for the past 90-plus days working diligently on the project, but also the many Ahearn Fund members, friends, alumni and staff who have contributed in numerous ways to make this project a reality.  Click here for a video feature on the event.

I was able to walk through the facility following the ceremony, and I cannot wait until August - it is going to be a world-class facility for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff!  Click here for Kelly McHugh's K-State Sports Extra piece on the event, which includes a nice photo gallery, and click here for our live webcams of the project.

Here are a few more updates from around the department, beginning with an update on our spring football game.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 6

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

I am writing this letter on the (slightly delayed) AA 11:30 a.m. non-stop jet flight from MHK to DFW that will enable me to head over to American Airlines Center for our 6 p.m. first-round Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship game against the Jayhawks.  The weather is perfect in Manhattan for today's home baseball opener at Tointon Stadium at 3 p.m.  Just before departing I had the opportunity to tour the just completed first phase of the brand new MHK passenger terminal with airport director Peter Van Kuren who tells me that flights will be operating out of the new facility just in time for spring break travel next week.  It is a big step forward for our community and will be a great first impression for incoming passengers.

Of course another huge step forward for K-State is the new Vanier Football Complex in the north end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium and early this morning MGEJ's Jeremy Niederwerder gave me my first tour inside the construction fences.  The upgrades for our fans and student-athletes are already evident, and I cannot adequately describe how impressed I was with the progress.  If you haven't seen the VFC site recently, it has really changed!  The NEZ seating area is beginning to take shape and steelwork continues on the frame of the complex.  I will tweet a few pictures later today - remember our live webcams are in operation.  Click here and see the progress as it continues to be on track for an August completion!

Fundamental to achieving our goal of a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience is a dedicated corps of coaches, and we were ecstatic to see veteran Wildcat mentor Cliff Rovelto named as the 2015 Big 12 Women's Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year after leading K-State to a program-best second place finish in last week's indoor conference championship event.  Making this award even more special is the fact that it is chosen by a vote of the league's head coaches.

I also salute equestrian coach Casie Maxwell whose charges upset No. 2 TCU and No. 1 Baylor in back-to-back contests last weekend.  We wish all of our teams in action today and over the next week best of luck as we head into another very busy time for K-State Athletics.

A big Thank You is due as well to our fans as we had two great crowds for senior night basketball wins and also kicked of this week with record football season ticket sales including 4,958 tickets purchased on Monday, eclipsing last year's first-day record of 4,330, while 1,623 tickets ordered were new requests.  We are on our way to extending our consecutive sellout streak to 27 games!  It's obvious the K-State Nation is already fired up for the 2015 season - just 2,500 tickets remain for the April 25 spring football game at Sporting Park.  Click here for ticket information for both the spring game and the 2015 season.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 27

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

Needless to say it has been an interesting week in Manhattan, and I am glad we are back in competition today as both of our track and field teams are competing in the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames!  Later in this letter I'll cover the whole weekend athletics schedule, but I'd like to make a special request for K-State fans in the DFW area to get over to Fort Worth tomorrow for our 2 p.m. women's basketball game vs. TCU.  Coach Mittie and the Cats are battling for a postseason berth having already improved our regular season win total vs. last year by five games to our current record of 16-11 and now have reached our highest conference win total since the 2011-12 season.  Click here for more information and here for information on next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship at Dallas' American Airlines Arena which follows our senior night game vs. West Virginia in Bramlage on March 3.

My daughter Virginia and I enjoyed our drive down I-70 Wednesday night to watch senior Ashia Woods key a late 12-0 run to help the Cats defeat the Jayhawks in Lawrence for the fourth time in five years.  It has been a great week for the Wildcats with a Sunflower Showdown sweep following Monday's win for the men's team.  Our record against KU in volleyball, football, and men's and women's basketball for the year now stands at 5-2, and we look forward to this spring's contests in tennis and baseball.  Our rowing team also had a successful and victorious showing this fall against the Jayhawks in a competition that also featured numerous other schools.

Coach Weber's squad will look to ride the momentum tomorrow as we host No. 12 Iowa State (click here for tickets) for Senior Day at 3 p.m.  We are expecting a packed house but encourage our fans to pay close attention to the weather and make safe travel decisions.  Fans are also invited to attend our home equestrian match 10 a.m. vs. No. 1 Baylor.

While we have covered Monday's postgame situation already this week (click here), I do want to encourage our students and fans to continue to remember our motto of "Welcome to K-State" and our goal of offering the "Best Fan Experience in the Big 12."  Again Saturday, we will showcase our great university before a national TV audience on ESPN2.  Collectively, we must set a higher standard of expectation and eliminate the profane chant that recurred last game.  Let's get this done together.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 13

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It's going to be a busy weekend for the Cats starting already today with track in Fayetteville and the first pitch of the 2015 season for K-State Baseball as the Bat Cats take on Iowa in Port Charlotte, Florida.  Our January thaw these last few weeks has enabled Coach Hill's troops to get in lots of work outside at Tointon Family Stadium, and we wish them well throughout the weekend and season!

Of course, it's already been a packed week which began for me on the West Coast as I traveled to California to give the college keynote with renowned sports reporter Bonnie Bernstein at the annual PACnet/Paciolan conference.  From there, I made my way to Indianapolis for a NCAA Administrative Cabinet meeting before returning home to MHK Wednesday just in time to meet my family at Bramlage and watch our women's big basketball win over TCU.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 5

Good Morning K-State Nation!

After an on-time early morning flight on American Airlines from MHK to DFW, I am gearing up for a full day of Big 12 meetings after which I'll hop back to Manhattan on the evening AA DFW-MHK "shuttle" flight.

Before I head down to the meeting room, I am pleased to share some exciting news in regards to our 2015 Purple/White Spring Football Game.

Thanks to the great efforts of our construction partners Mortenson/GE Johnson, construction of the new Vanier Football Complex is proceeding on schedule to open our incredible new facility in August.  As you can imagine given the pace of the project and heavy activity on and around the site, attempting to hold the annual spring game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium would present significant logistical and safety issues for both our team and fans.  Thus, we are thrilled to announce that the 2015 game will be played at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 25, at Sporting Park, in Kansas City, Kansas, the award-winning facility and home of the 2013 Major League Soccer Champions, Sporting KC!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 20

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

Today is the first day of spring semester classes, and it was great to see our students coming and going when I was on campus in historic Anderson Hall for President Schulz's cabinet meeting this morning.

Speaking of history, yesterday's holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., always reminds us of the fact that on January 19, 1968, Ahearn Field House was the site of Dr. King's last campus address prior to that tragic day in Memphis.  In fact, the notes that he used for the Ahearn address were found in his pocket after he was assassinated.  Building on this legacy, 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.  Just to the south and east of Ahearn you can view the special pedestal bust honoring Dr. King and marking his speech here.

Last week was also a historic one for college athletics, starting with the inaugural College Football Playoff championship game in Arlington last Monday and concluding with the NCAA convention in the Washington DC area.  It was an honor to be able to attend both, but I must admit I was very glad when my American Airlines flight touched down in MHK Sunday night (totally full and a few minutes early I might add), and I am enjoying a stretch of at least seven straight nights in my own house!

My flight to the NCAA convention arrived in DC on Friday afternoon in time to have a great visit with former K-State fullback Larry Brown, who played at K-State for the late Vince Gibson before an all-star eight-year NFL career in Washington, including being named MVP in 1972.  In his post-playing days Larry has had a successful career in finance and commercial real estate.  It was fun to hear his stories about first coming to Dodge City Community College and then to Manhattan.

I then hopped in a cab and attended a spirited K-State Alumni Association reception with over 50 Wildcat grads and fans.  These DC gatherings remind us of the service and leadership of K-Staters - especially in the military.  Among those in attendance were senior officers from the Army and Navy and Air Force Brigadier General Ken Lewis, Jr., and his wife Micki.  If you are a DC area alum be sure and link up with the outstanding chapter there by clicking here.

Saturday's meetings were highlighted by the first-ever Autonomy Business and Voting sessions where five conferences, the Big 12, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, met to consider various reforms and enhancements for student-athlete welfare.  Each of the 65 schools (including Notre Dame) has one vote, and then each conference has three voting student-athlete representatives for a total of 80 votes.  I was so impressed with the comments from the student-athlete representatives, many of which were counter to what popular media opinion might have expected.  Of the many topics discussed, the majority of the attention was focused on the cost of attendance, four-year scholarships and concussion protocol proposals - all were passed, although most of these proposals were redundant to Big 12 bylaw enhancements announced in November.  I have said many times that there has never been a better time in the history of intercollegiate athletics to be a student-athlete, and we continue to work to make that experience even better.  The "cost of attendance" measure alone will mean $100+ million additional aid dollars being directly allocated to student-athletes annually beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

Our own President Kirk Schulz was elected as the new Chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors and will lead the organization's highest-ranking leadership group, which is comprised of 20 presidents and chancellors from all three NCAA divisions.  This is incredible testament to the national appreciation of President Schulz's leadership.  Click here for a full recap of the meetings by Big 12 correspondent Wendell Barnhouse.

On a related topic, I was also forwarded this interesting infographic from the Knight Commission by one of our staff members which is a snapshot of our spending and reflects favorably of both K-State's academic and athletic investment toward our students.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 7

Good Afternoon K-State Family!

Let's start today with a shoutout to the women and men of Mortenson/GE Johnson and their associated sub-contractors who were already hard at work on the Vanier Football Complex job site this morning well before the sunrise despite the frosty temperatures - click here for the pictures I tweeted out this morning.  Isn't that a great metaphor for what K-State Athletics and indeed the entire University are all about?  August will be here before we know it and thanks to K-State fans, donors and our construction and design partners so will a brand-new Vanier Football Complex!  Click here for the link to our multiple construction web cams!  We are also excited to announce that thanks to the support of the entire K-State Nation in just under 14 months (!) we have reached our initial philanthropic fundraising goal of $50 million for the VFC, while work continues on raising funds for Phase 3B of the master plan, the Northeast corner of the stadium!  When it comes to building a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program, the K-State Nation continues to step up in unprecedented fashion.  Thank YOU!  And, let's keep driving forward!

I know the entire K-State Nation was proud of our football team for persevering through a rough start to fight back and nearly knock off the Bruins last Friday night in the Valero Alamo Bowl.  Coach Snyder and the team join me in recognizing what was an incredible K-State fan turnout the entire week.  The Alamodome atmosphere was like a home game for our student-athletes and coaches, and our 25,000+ fans never gave up - indeed the constant KSU chants even after the final whistle were again a reminder what the K-State Family and Coach's Goal No. 3, UNITY, are all about!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 26

Hello Wildcat Nation!

Today is an exciting day in the young history of our new women's soccer team as we announce the hiring of 12-time conference coach of the year and 265-game winner Mike Dibbini as the inaugural leader of our futbol program!  Before I tell you more about Coach Dibbini, let me offer a special thanks to the many fans (and interested prospective student-athletes!) who have sent notes of excitement and encouragement since we announced the launch of our program and began the process of identifying our new coach.

We heard from literally hundreds of coaches at all levels of collegiate and professional soccer around the country who saw the potential of K-State Soccer and wanted the opportunity to build our program.  In Mike Dibbini, we have secured a leader with tremendous integrity and energy, a passion for teaching young people the game, deep soccer roots in Kansas and California, proven championship building coaching ability, and first-hand knowledge of the advantages and special family environment of the state of Kansas.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 18

Good Morning K-State Nation!

On a beautiful snowy December morning let me start by saluting the road crew in the city of Manhattan.  Mrs. Currie is grateful that you got the plows out extra early all over town so the USD 383 schools could open on time (and get the kids out of the house)!  And speaking of "behind the scenes" folks working hard, hats off to the Bramlage Coliseum event staff - in 48 hours beginning this past Friday evening and concluding Sunday night the staff went all out to host six K-State graduation ceremonies and two basketball games!

Of course among those several thousand K-State students receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees were 38 student-athletes who proudly walked across the stage at Bramlage Coliseum last weekend.  We had a fun group with lots of proud parents and family members at our student-athlete graduation reception last Friday night where we also presented each senior with their K-State Athletics Varsity Ring.  Graduation is a great reminder that a fundamental objective of our goal of a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience is to provide all 450-plus of our student-athletes with the resources and opportunities to earn their degrees.  We have had a terrific fall here at K-State, and I am so proud of our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their continued hard work and focus as we build a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.

Let's get right to today's update beginning with a football and bowl update.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 4

Good afternoon K-State Nation!

Let me start by congratulating Coach Fritz and our volleyball team on a terrific season and their selection to the NCAA Tournament beginning this weekend in Lincoln, Neb. I'll be springing my daughter Virginia from school just a bit early Friday afternoon so we can make the short drive north to the Devaney Center for our first-round contest against Pac-12 member Utah at 4:30 p.m. With a victory the Cats would take on the winner of Nebraska/Hofstra on Saturday for the right to advance to the Seattle Regional. Click here for more information about NCAA volleyball action, and let's also salute Kylee Zumach, Katie Brand and Natali Jones on being named to the All-Big 12 team and to Kylee for also being named Big 12 Freshman of the Year!

I consider myself to be one lucky athletic director - we should never take bowl eligibility or participation in the NCAA Tournament for granted in any sport! In the 36-hour period starting at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow we'll watch the Cats play in the NCAA volleyball tournament AND play for a Big 12 football championship! Let's keep building together on our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.

Rather than the semester "winding down" it actually feels like we are sprinting to the finish line, so let's get to some additional updates, beginning with a big week ahead for our football team.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 29

Good afternoon K-State Nation!

Greetings from the West Stadium Center! Kick-off is just a few hours away - who could have predicted that our home finale on November 29 would have offered perhaps the best gameday weather of the season. I even snuck in one more game-morning bike ride and good-luck cup of coffee at Radina's while checking out the tallest Christmas tree in Kansas (65-foot) downtown at Blue Earth Plaza - Manhattan's newest tradition. I trust everyone enjoyed a safe and happy Thanksgiving with their families and friends.

Today's football (3 p.m., FOX Sports 1) and volleyball (8 p.m., K-StateHD.TV) contests will mark the final home appearances for two outstanding senior classes. Please be in your seats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for football senior pregame senior ceremonies and stay late in Ahearn for the volleyball recognitions which will take place after the match. I am proud of both sets of seniors who have led their squads into contention for top-three Big 12 finishes and postseason opportunities, so let's give them an extra loud home field/court advantage today!

These seniors also performed well in the classroom as both the football and volleyball teams set the standard this fall for academic achievement. Recently, the football team recorded a school-record 29 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 squad - the most by any Big 12 school since 2001, and 20 were recognized as first-team selections. In volleyball, Coach Fritz's squad has regularly been among the leaders in academic success, and a total of six student-athletes earned Academic All-Big 12 honors. K-State continues to be a national leader in the classroom, and I am so proud of all of our student-athletes for their continued hard work and success.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 19

Good morning K-State Nation,

I trust everyone is staying warm as colder temperatures have taken over much of the country. But, things are heating up here at K-State both on the playing field and in the classroom as the fall semester is nearing completion. Let's get right to the updates this week starting with our 2015 football schedule and a look at this weekend's NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Laura Galvan Selected to NCAA Cross Country Championships
A big congratulations is in order for senior Laura Galvan and new head cross country coach Ryun Godfrey as Laura recently earned an at-large selection to this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships which will be held Saturday in Indiana. She earned the at-large bid by being the fifth-place non-championship team individual in the Midwest Regional last weekend and finishing higher than any other fifth place finisher across the regional championship competition. Congrats to Laura and we wish her the best this weekend.

2015 Football Schedule to be Announced Later Today
Later this afternoon, the Big 12 Conference will release the full conference schedule for the 2015 football season, and we will follow the Big 12 release with our own complete schedule. Once again we are excited to have seven home games in the friendly confines of Bill Snyder Family Stadium including five Big 12 games in MHK! I also want to share the news with you first that several weeks ago the Big 12 staff asked K-State to host another special Thursday night primetime game in early November 2015 to enable the conference to fulfill its contractual obligation with our television partners. Commissioner Bowlsby has assured President Schulz and me that we will not be asked to host a Thursday night match-up in 2016 and 2017 since we will have hosted such games in consecutive seasons. As we have discussed over the last several years a Thursday game does provide unparalleled national exposure and excitement, but we do know that it creates a challenge for some of our fans. The environment and atmosphere at the Auburn game earlier this season was absolutely terrific - one of the best I have ever witnessed in person - and I know our fans will do their part in making the 2015 season even more special as we look to continue our current home sellout streak which will reach 20 games next weekend against KU! Stay tuned to k-statesports.com later today for our full release regarding the 2015 schedule.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 31

Dear K-State Nation:

Great things are happening across campus with an all-time record enrollment and an exciting fall season for all K-State sports. However, today's letter will be completely devoted to an important update on the future of K-State Athletics and Wildcat Football!

In just five weeks we will officially break ground on what I believe will prove to be the most significant facility transformation in our history - the new Vanier Football Complex - which will be scheduled for completion in time for the 2015 season!

If you have been on campus this fall, you have seen the very visible signs of the excitement and momentum that has grown throughout the University community. President Schulz's visionary K-State 2025 plan is becoming a reality all around us with $167.1 million in planned academic construction in FY15 now underway, highlighted by the new College of Business building, Engineering expansion, Purple Masque Theatre, the Berney Family Welcome Center at Memorial Stadium, Wefald Residence Hall, KSU Foundation building and other projects transforming our beautiful campus. I am very proud of the hand-in-hand work of our Ahearn Fund staff with our KSU Foundation colleagues who, thanks to our donors, achieved record fundraising levels again this year. Still, consistent with Coach Snyder's mantra of improving a little bit every day, we know that yesterday's records are tomorrow's expectations!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 29

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

The "Muscular Midwest" is flexing, and it has been a pretty incredible seven days for sports fans in Kansas!

For the 'Cats it started last Wednesday with our No. 22 volleyball team sweeping Oklahoma and then defeating West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday as Coach Fritz's squad improved to 19-3 overall and 6-2 in Big 12 play. Saturday of course also included the 23-0 football shutout of the Longhorns in front of the 10th-largest crowd in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history.

Sunday featured a thrilling and memorable milestone for K-State golf as Robert Streb ('09) celebrated his first PGA Tour win with a gutsy come-from-behind run and dramatic playoff birdie to cap a huge final round on Sunday at The McGladrey Classic in Georgia. Robert always shows his K-State pride by wearing purple on Sunday. With this win he earns a coveted two-year PGA exemption and an invitation to the 2015 Masters. We are so proud of Robert and look forward to welcoming him and his wife, Maggie, back to Manhattan this weekend for our golf reunion, and we know you will enjoy congratulating him during Saturday's football game. Click here for a video feature on Robert following his win.

The Chiefs scored a big win Sunday afternoon, the Royals and Kauffman Stadium have been the center of the baseball world this past month and last night's Game 6 blow-out has Kansas City abuzz about tonight's decisive World Series Game 7, while Sporting KC is back in the MLS Cup Playoffs Thursday night! Meanwhile as basketball season approaches K-State, KU and Wichita State are all again projected to factor into the conference and national races.

And last night, the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee recognized K-State's performance and tough schedule by including the 'Cats in its historic first top 10 rankings. There is a lot more football to be played of course and there is no game more important than the next one. The national spotlight swings back to Manhattan Saturday for our ABC televised game against Oklahoma State which will kick off at 7 p.m. Let's be in the stands early again to show the nation our purple passion for the 'Cats!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 21

Good afternoon K-State Nation!

Let's start today's update by congratulating Coach Snyder and our football team on a big win at Oklahoma last Saturday! Our team cherishes traveling to an opponent's stadium and feeling right at home with a sea of purple in the stands no matter where we are playing. Saturday was no different! Hearing that "K-S-U" chant echo through a road stadium after we score is special! I was so proud of the toughness and grit of our student-athletes and great game plan of our staff in opposition to an outstanding OU squad. 

While it is terrific to see the Cats improve to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play, another great moment of the day for me actually came as our team plane taxied to the terminal after landing in MHK as the lead flight attendant came on the speaker system and said, "In my 15 years of flying this is the classiest group I have ever flown with." In this day and age we should never take for granted the high level of expectations set by Coach Snyder for our student-athletes. And, let's salute our team captains and players for understanding and embracing their role as K-State representatives! 

Finally, thank you to senior Randall Evans, who donned his late former teammate David Garrett's No. 27 jersey for Saturday's game. David's funeral services were Saturday in Ohio, at the same time the Wildcats were playing in Norman wearing his initials and No. 27 on their helmets. Please continue to remember David and keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. 

Letter from A.D. John Currie and Dr. Kirk Schulz - October 13

Dear K-State Nation,

We would like to take a few moments tonight to inform you of an important announcement regarding our athletics program that we have just shared with our equestrian student-athletes.

Following a recent NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics recommendation to drop intercollegiate equestrian as an emerging NCAA Division I women's sport, we will discontinue the intercollegiate sponsorship of our equestrian program at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. In keeping with K-State's commitment to improving opportunities for female student-athletes we will be adding the school's first-ever intercollegiate women's soccer program, enabling the Wildcat athletics program to maintain its sponsorship of 16 varsity sports as required by the NCAA. These decisions were approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc. Board of Directors this afternoon.

While this was an extremely difficult and complex decision, we are proud of the effort of our equestrian coaches and student-athletes since the program's inception in 2000 toward building and advancing our program. Unfortunately, with equestrian no longer projected to count toward the minimum NCAA requirement of 16 sponsored varsity programs as detailed in NCAA Bylaw 20.9.6, we must move our resources to another sport so that we can continue to operate as a Division I FBS member of the Big 12 and NCAA.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 1

Happy October K-State Nation!

It is a great time to be a sports fan in the Sunflower State as the Royals won in dramatic fashion last night, the Chiefs had a big Monday Night Football win, Sporting KC continues to climb in stature as one of American soccer's marquee teams and perhaps the most innovative of MLS franchises and all local universities continue their fall sports season. For us, that means two road volleyball matches, first against the Jayhawks tonight and then at Texas Tech this weekend, cross country action in Fayetteville, Ark., as coach Ryun Godfrey makes his debut in purple and, of course, Saturday evening's ESPNU televised football game against Texas Tech at Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 6 p.m.

This week for me started with a Monday morning NCAA Administrative Cabinet meeting in Indianapolis followed by Tuesday morning meetings back in Manhattan and then a drive over to KC yesterday afternoon for a fun dinner with a group of passionate K-State basketball fans. After dinner, city-wide attention to the baseball game meant the roads were completely empty on my short drive over to the Overland Park Hampton Inn! Today I'll be making some more visits around KC before driving back to MHK in time to watch tonight's volleyball game on Cox.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 22

Good afternoon K-State Nation!

I hope you were truly able to use Sunday as a day of rest after a very busy several days in MHK!

Let's start today's update by congratulating Coach Suzie Fritz and the K-State volleyball team, which on Saturday captured its third early season tournament title of the season - this time in Ann Arbor defeating host Michigan on its homecourt along with Eastern Michigan and Youngstown State. Having now won 11 straight matches, Coach Fritz's squad is 13-1 and on the cusp of a Top 25 ranking. We have a Wildcat Weekend coming up as the Cats host Baylor at 7 p.m., Saturday in Ahearn Field House to open Big 12 Conference play. Remember, you can get in for just $3 with your UTEP football ticket stub. I look forward to seeing a great K-State crowd in Ahearn Saturday night.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 15

Good afternoon Wildcats!

Thursday night's football game against 5th-ranked Auburn provides us a unique opportunity to showcase our program and university on ESPN's Thursday Night College Football platform. As we approach the game, which I believe to be one of the hottest tickets in K-State history, I want to provide some thoughts and details that will allow you a smoother trip to and from the stadium.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 13

Good Morning Wildcats!

It has been a busy week here at K-State which for me included trips on Tuesday to Wichita and Thursday to Dallas and Fort Worth. We have already had some good competition results this fall, and I would like to take a few moments to look back at some of the highlights over the past several days and preview the next few days of Wildcat action that are in front of us. I know everyone, including our staff, is excited and working hard on finalizing plans, details and schedules for next week's ESPN-televised Thursday night football game with No. 5 Auburn, and on Monday I will have some important updates on planning and other pregame info.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 4

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

Today we are back into competition as in just a few hours K-State volleyball hosts Arkansas of the SEC in Bramlage Coliseum as part of the Varney's Invitational.  It has been a busy week already, but before we go on let's look back at last weekend's 6th annual K-State Family Reunion.

Thank you to all the fans who comprised the sellout crowd we had at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for last weekend's season-opening win over Stephen F. Austin - that's 14 straight sellouts and we are well on our way to 20 with six more this season!  With season ticket holders from 46 different states and thousands of fans who drive several hours to the games, we truly have a national following and some of the most dedicated fans in college football.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 29

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

Thank goodness - football season is finally here! I apologize for the lapse since my last email, but I assure you that my failure to get a letter out has not been for a lack of trying! Just like many of you, as a new school year gets underway I have been bouncing from place to place and meeting to meeting with not much time to sit at the keyboard and concentrate long enough to type this update!

First, let's wish good luck to our volleyball team which is competing today and this weekend in Wisconsin at the Green Bay Invitational. Coach Fritz invited me over Monday afternoon to Ahearn to spend a few minutes and visit with the team before practice - which I thoroughly enjoyed! Of course, any time I make the quick run from Bramlage to the central campus I am blown away with all the new construction activity. As K-State 2025 progresses under President Schulz's incredible leadership we are seeing the record philanthropic gifts to the KSU Foundation from across the country translate into new projects now underway like important renovations at historic Memorial Stadium which include the Purple Masque Theatre, Welcome Center and a green roof, a multi-million dollar expansion of the College of Engineering's Rathbone Hall and the transformational College of Business building on Manhattan Avenue. And with another record enrollment year projected for K-State, future student housing enhancements are on the way with the construction of Wefald Hall, which is of course a fitting tribute to the long-time leadership of President-emeritus Jon Wefald and his wife Ruth Ann from 1986-2009. Earlier today I visited with KSU Foundation President Fred Cholick - did you know that under Fred and President Schulz's leadership total gifts and commitments to the KSU Foundation have grown from $75 million in FY2009 to $211 million this past fiscal year? All of us thank the more than 200,000 K-State friends and alumni world-wide who continue to invest in improvements for today's and tomorrow's students!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 5

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

It's great to be back in Manhattan and ready for the start of a new semester following a nice family vacation with Mary Lawrence and the kids. We drove 15 hours on Saturday to get back to MHK just in time for me to visit with our football team Sunday afternoon as the squad begins fall camp. Despite the heat, Coach Snyder and the team are hard at work preparing for the August 30 season opener. Just as they have been all summer our skilled athletic training staff is omnipresent to help ensure a safe training environment, and this August our team is able to utilize our new Ahearn Fund Performance Table for all camp meals. The support of all our fans, donors and Ahearn members is enabling K-State Athletics to take big strides toward our goal of A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience. Hats off to Chef Mike and the Sodexo team who are working hand-in-hand with K-State Athletics staff nutritionist Scott Trausch to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for our student-athletes! 

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!).

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 2

Good Morning K-State Fans!
The month of July is upon us, which always means two things: the July 4 holiday filled with food and fun with friends and family, and it also marks the beginning of another fiscal year here at K-State Athletics, Inc.

In my last letter, I shared that for FY14 we will have a balanced budget and achieve a surplus for the fifth straight year. I appreciate our coaches and staff for continuing to make budget-conscious decisions each and every day as well as all of Wildcat Nation for filling our stadiums all year long and participating in the Ahearn Fund.

In keeping with our commitment to transparency, today it is our pleasure to share with you our projected fiscal year 2015 budgeted revenues and expenses, and if you click here you can see both sides of our annual "budget card" - which of course I'll be carrying in my pocket at all times!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - June 18

Greetings K-State Nation!

This morning I write to you from Dodge City as I get ready to enjoy breakfast at the Winter Livestock Commission Cafe with a loyal group of K-Staters. Assistant AD Lon Floyd and I spent yesterday visiting K-Staters in Scott City and Garden City before I capped off the evening by hopping over to Hutchinson for an awesome Catbacker event. Today, Lon and I will head up to Great Bend for lunch and then down to the Wichita Catbacker dinner. The crowds on this year's tour have been incredible, and it is great to feel the excitement K-State fans have for the upcoming year.

In keeping with our goal of providing The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12, we are thrilled to announce later today that Bramlage Coliseum will be dramatically enhanced as a new high-definition Panasonic center-hung video board, six additional LED displays and state-of-the-art innovative lighting and sound systems will be installed this fall in time for the 2014-15 season!

Our staff has done a great job of working with Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon and Williams, Inc. (WJHW), one of the top acoustical consulting and electronic systems design firms in the country, to manage the project, which will begin later this summer and be completed in October.

When you walk into Bramlage next season you will immediately notice the brand new Panasonic HD center-hung videoboard, which will have a display nearly four times larger than the existing video board in Bramlage.

Additional atmosphere video enhancements will come from new LED displays installed above Sections 12-15 on the north end and Section 24 to Section 1 on the south end. These displays will provide additional opportunities for crowd engagement, out of town scores and sponsor integration.

We are equally excited to be installing a brand new best-of-class modern audio sound system, including nearly 100 total loudspeakers, which will utilize the latest amplifier and digital signal processing technology with more than 200,000 watts of amplification. The increased speaker locations will provide for better sound distribution and audio clarity and quality throughout the arena. Finally, a new LED lighting system will offer more versatile and higher quality of output in the arena and allow for special effects during introductions, halftime and miscellaneous recognitions while also reducing our electricity usage and cost in the arena.

The improvements, which will cost approximately $2.4 million, represent the most significant capital investment to the interior of the arena since the addition of loge boxes in 2007. The new videoboards and sound system replace existing ones last renovated in 2000-01. Thanks to our 10,000-plus members of the Ahearn Fund, this project will be paid for by general athletic department gifts and operating revenue without the aid of tax, tuition or general university dollars!

Bramlage already offers one of the best home court advantages in college basketball and these improvements, coupled with the 2012 completion of the $18 million Basketball Training Facility, gives K-State about as good of an overall basketball set-up as you'll find around the country.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 18

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation!

Today is a special day for K-State Athletics as we announced earlier this afternoon the hiring of Grant Robbins, a three-time coach of the year in two conferences who has guided six teams to NCAA Regional appearances, as our new men's golf coach.

Before I go into more detail about Coach Robbins and his family, I want to congratulate the 52 student-athletes who earned their K-State degrees over the weekend. We must never forget that the primary element of a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience is to give our young people the support they need to complete their degree requirements and be successful.

Of the 52 graduates, we awarded many of them with their senior K-State rings during our annual spring graduation reception Friday evening in the West Stadium Center. We will hold a special luncheon on Tuesday for our rowing and track and field team graduates, who were away at conference competition this past weekend.

It was great to meet many family members of our graduates at our annual graduation reception, which included a terrific message from B.J. Finney to his fellow classmates.

And, congratulations to our rowers (third-place finish at Conference USA Championships), track and field athletes (three individual Big 12 titles) and baseball team (walk-off win over Texas on Senior Night) for outstanding performances yesterday!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 11

Good Evening Wildcat Nation!

Let me start by wishing all of the moms in the K-State Family a Happy Mother's Day! I have a great mom back in Charlotte and my wife Mary Lawrence is a wonderful mother to our three children, but this holiday is even more special for the Currie family because it was on Mother's Day, May 10, 2009, that I had my final job interview with President Schulz, Amy Button Renz and Chuck Reagan.

For the AD search, then incoming President Schulz had appointed Amy as chair, and she assembled an excellent committee including Faculty Senate President Dr. Melody LeHew, SGA president Lydia Peele, FAR Dr. Mike Holen, volleyball head coach Suzie Fritz, student-athlete Chris Merriewether and alumni Lee Borck and Kevin Lockett - all ably supported by alumni administrative assistant Lynn Beier. After interviewing in April at the KC airport with the search committee, I was thrilled to receive a call from Amy asking me to come back for a final interview. And, I didn't hesitate when Amy apologized that Mother's Day Sunday was going to be the day. Even with three children ranging from 8 years to four months Mary Lawrence was perfectly understanding of my need to be away - she just said if I was missing Mother's Day I'd better get the job!

It has been an incredible first five years - thanks to the support of Wildcat fans worldwide, the efforts of our student-athletes and coaches and of course the transformational leadership of President Schulz we have made incredible progress towards the K-State Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. We've emerged from a position of fiscal weakness to one of stability and from a period of conference alignment insecurity to a new era which sees the Big 12 as one of the leading leagues in the country. In the meantime we've had some incredible Championship Athletic Performances, including Big 12 team championships, multiple Big 12 and NCAA individual titles and post-season appearances by nearly all our teams, all while producing an outstanding APR and graduation record.

But, this is no time to rest - let's keep building together to deliver a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience and permanently secure K-State's position of strength within the upper echelon of intercollegiate athletics! Thank you for your continued support!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 30

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

Following a busy and exciting spring game weekend we've been back in the office and hard at it this week, starting Monday morning with various meetings and our annual Career Cats luncheon for our junior and senior student-athletes. We'll touch on all of the activities shortly, but first I would like to thank our entire staff and all of Wildcat Nation for their support in making all of the spring game weekend events a huge success.

Special Honorary Coaches Assist with VFC Announcement
It was great to see all of our Golden Cat and Ring of Honor members who were back in town for Saturday's spring football game, and I would like to especially thank former Wildcat greats Terence Newman and Darren Sproles for making the trip "home" for the weekend as special honorary coaches. Our 600-plus Ahearn Fund members in attendance at Friday's Powercat Auction especially enjoyed visiting with some of their favorite Wildcats, including NFL alumni Nick Leckey, Ryan Lilja and Jon McGraw.

It was a tremendous honor for me to be on the field pre-game with Darren, Terence and President Schulz to announce to the 17,000-plus fans in attendance plans for Phase III of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan - the Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium Project. Among my most enjoyable moments so far at K-State have been when student-athletes and fans react to new announcements and see new plans and videos - much like at the Cotton Bowl pep rally when we announced plans for the West Stadium Center - and in this case on Saturday the unveiling of our next critical athletics facility project. Click here to see our full announcement, watch the unveiling video and our full master plan website.

While more than half of the $65 million in necessary funding has already been secured, it is imperative that Wildcat fans continue to contribute, at any level, and be a part of the Vanier Football Challenge campaign to help K-State remain a national leader in college athletics. The funding plan currently calls for $50 million to be privately funded through philanthropic giving with the remaining $15 million coming from other department revenues. No tax or tuition dollars will be used! Thank you for your continued support!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 26

Wildcat Nation,

Thanks to your commitment to K-State, we have taken incredible steps towards our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program and our goal of providing a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience including completing about $125 million in athletic facility upgrades benefitting all 16 of our sports over the last 24 months.

Every member of the K-State Nation should feel the pride of these improvements and the fact that they have been achieved in a fiscally responsible manner. But we still have work left to do.

You have heard me say before that my two favorite of Coach Snyder's 16 goals are #3 - UNITY and #12 - NO SELF LIMITATIONS. Look what the K-State Nation has accomplished over the past several years by indeed being committed to these principles!

Coach Snyder and his staff have done an extraordinary job of rebuilding our football program over the past five years. Our fans have stepped up too, with the best attendance in our history, highlighted by a current streak of 13 consecutive sell-outs at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. However, we all know that in any competitive environment you are either getting better or getting worse. There really is no standing still and treading water. We have to capture the momentum you have helped create and continue to strengthen the foundation of our program. Phase III of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan - a new Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium expansion - is our next major priority, and earlier at today's annual spring football game we announced details in regards to the project. Click here for full project details which include renderings and videos of the project.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 17

Good Afternoon K-State Fans,

It has been several weeks since I last wrote but that's certainly not because of the lack of activity around K-State Athletics! I'll catch up on several interesting recent tidbits, but first let me mention a couple of upcoming events for your planning purposes.

Last Chance to See Petra Niedermayerova Live in Mike Goss Tennis Stadium
Over the past four seasons, Petra Niedermayerova has built a record that perhaps could rank her as K-State's all-time greatest tennis player. Additionally, she has been a model student-athlete off the court, majoring in economics and being recognized as a two-time ITA Academic All-American and the 2013 Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year in women's tennis. She's been all-conference, All-America and holds K-State's career wins records in both singles and doubles.

Senior Day ceremonies start at 11 a.m. Saturday and will be followed by the match vs. the Jayhawks at 12 p.m.  Three pro-set matches of doubles (with Petra and Amina St. Hill on court No. 1) will be followed by the six singles matches. Admission is free. Come out and salute Petra for an incredible K-State career and also bring the kids for USTA/ITA Campus Kids Day.(click here for a special short video)

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 18

Wildcat Nation,

First off, let me offer a special thanks to the many fans who sent notes as we began the search for our new women's basketball coach last Sunday.  The passion and support you continue to show is one of the many reasons we were able to attract such a quality pool of candidates.

As you may know, earlier today we announced that Jeff Mittie, one of the winningest active coaches in Division I, has agreed to become the ninth head women's basketball coach in K-State history. His accolades as a coach speak for themselves - 454 career wins, 15 postseason appearances, nine conference titles in four different leagues, winner of nine conference championships and the reputation of being a top-notch recruiter - and Coach Mittie, his wife Shanna and children Logan, Madison and Jordan are a perfect fit for Manhattan and Kansas State.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 14

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

I would like to start today by making a few comments regarding this week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships in Kansas City. Big 12 fans should be commended as the atmosphere and crowds at the Sprint Center supporting the best conference in America were incredible! And the nation has taken notice - check out Dennis Dodd's story from CBSSports.com on the strength of our league. I couldn't imagine any other conference having more competitive and thrilling quarterfinal games than we did on Thursday. Our game against Iowa State was played at an extremely high level and it was exciting to see freshmen Marcus Foster and Nigel Johnson, as well as senior Shane Southwell, all have big games.

While we all would have loved to remain in Kansas City for the duration of the conference tournament, we are excited about the prospects of playing in the NCAA tournament. Stay tuned on Sunday as the official NCAA field will be announced on CBS.

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!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 19

Good Morning Wildcat Nation,

Another busy week of competition is ahead of us beginning with two important basketball games tonight as the men host TCU at 8 p.m. inside Bramlage, while the women are on the road and will square off with the Horned Frogs at 7 p.m. in Fort Worth. I hope you can make it out tonight and pack Bramlage with purple as Coach Weber's team continues to fight for positioning in the Big 12 standings as well as an NCAA Tournament berth. The men's game can also be seen live on ESPNU tonight, while be sure and catch the women's game on FOX Sports Southwest, along the K-State Sports Network and online at k-statesport.com.

Before we move along further with additional updates, I would like to report some exciting news about one of our staff members.

Weiberg Named National Fundraiser of the Year
Earlier today, the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) announced its annual award winners and I am pleased that our own Chad Weiberg has been named the 2014 NAADD National Fundraiser of the Year! Chad has done an unbelievable job rebuilding our Ahearn Fund infrastructure while leading our development staff in an effort to personally build relationships with K-Staters world-wide as we continue to seek the resources necessary to reach our goal of providing all of our student-athletes with a world-class experience. I am extremely proud of Chad and our entire staff for their hard work and tireless efforts in our pursuit of becoming a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. Of course, Chad would be the first to say that the true credit always goes to our donors! Click here for our full release, and again, congrats to Chad and the Ahearn staff!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 11

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation!

First off, congratulations to Coach Weber and our men's basketball team on their thrilling win over the No. 7 Jayhawks last night. Thanks to the K-State Nation, the atmosphere at Bramlage Coliseum was incredible, and it was great to see last night's win make just about every national headline as well as the lead on ESPN SportsCenter and FS1's Fox Sports Live throughout the night and into this morning. I am proud of our coaching staff for the great job they did preparing our team and appreciate our student-athletes staying tough in OT to get the win. Of course there is no rest for the weary - here is a tweet from ESPN's Holly Rowe as she spotted Coach Weber at MHK Airport earlier today getting on that 6:10 a.m. American Airlines flight to DFW to hit the recruiting trail!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 3

Wildcat Nation,

Finally!!! Thank you for your patience as we worked to finalize our 2014 football schedule which you will see in its entirety below. With our consecutive home game sellout streak currently at 13 games, we are glad to be able to announce the 2014 schedule so that travel, wedding and vacation plans can now be completed by the K-State faithful. We sincerely appreciate K-State fans for continuing to showcase their passion and support of Wildcat student-athletes, coaches and staff as we progress toward the goal of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. Indeed - all working together - players, coaches, fans, students, staff, we will achieve that goal!

We are excited to host seven home games in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, four of which are against teams that were bowl eligible this past season. Highlighting the home schedule will be the long-anticipated matchup with 2013 BCS National Championship runner-up Auburn of the SEC on Thursday, September 18. Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be the focus of the college football world that evening, and the chance to host the reigning SEC Champion on ESPN's Thursday night platform in what will be one of the best non-conference matchups in the country next season is a terrific and unique opportunity for K-State. An open date leading into the game, as well as the extra two days of rest and preparation before our next home game the following week, provides the perfect opportunity to showcase Manhattan and K-State in one of ESPN's most-watched television windows.

With season ticket holders in 46 states, we certainly understand that a Thursday night game creates some travel challenges. Here's a little background on making a decision such as this - one that is not taken lightly.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 28

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

We have a busy week ahead of us beginning with tonight's key Big 12 men's basketball matchup with Texas Tech, which is set to tipoff at 7 p.m. We hope you can make it out to Bramlage tonight to contribute to the electric atmosphere in the Octagon of Doom that has been a key ingredient in maintaining our great homecourt advantage in the nation's No. 1 RPI conference!

For those who cannot make it tonight, you can watch it throughout the region on the Big 12 Network. Due to President Obama's State of the Union address, those in the Topeka market who normally watch the game on KSNT can see the game on Cox Cable Channel 675. It will also be available on ESPN Full Court, ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app for mobile devices. The Big 12 Conference notified us that the Presidential address was scheduled well after the television games had been selected and announced. We have been assured that all other markets throughout the state and the region will be carrying tonight's game. Click here for a full listing of Big 12 Network affiliates and viewing information for the game.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 14

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

It has been a few weeks since my last update, and I hope you have managed to stay safe during the recent winter weather that has affected most of the country. It's certainly been warm inside Bramlage Coliseum, and I appreciate the terrific crowds that have played a huge role for both our men's and women's teams.

Coach Weber and the Cats, winners of 10 of their past 11, will host another big game tonight as K-State Athletics Hall of Famer Lon Kruger and his No. 25 Sooners visit Bramlage. The game can be seen nationally at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, while fans can listen to Wyatt and Stan along the K-State Sports Network and FREE online at k-statesports.com.

Coach Patterson and the women's squad will also be in action at 7 p.m. tonight as they face Texas Tech in Lubbock. That game can be seen live on FOX Sports Southwest and heard along the K-State Sports Network and also for FREE online at k-statesports.com.

Let's jump into a few updates from around the department.

Heroic Efforts Honored During Halftime Recognition
Last month I shared with you the story about one of our football fans suffering cardiac arrest at the Oklahoma game and the heroic efforts of nearby fans, staff and emergency personnel who helped save the individual's life. During our recent men's hoops game against Oklahoma State, we recognized both the individual recovering from the heart attack as well as those involved in the rescue effort. It was an emotional and inspirational time for everyone and illustrated how the K-State Family looks out for one another. Click here for a recap of the event that aired on Kansas First News.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 28

Greetings from the Valley of the Sun!

The K-State Nation has now hit the Tempe/Phoenix area in full Purple force as we gear up for tonight's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl game with the Michigan Wolverines. Our student-athletes and coaches and support staff have enjoyed a terrific week in the desert as the hospitality provided by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl/Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl organization has been first-class once again.

Yesterday I decided to walk the short distance from the hotel over to the site of our traditional pep rally, and it was a great feeling when I came around the bend and glimpsed the hundreds of cars, RV's and buses streaming into the parking lots. We estimate that as many as 5,000 Wildcat fans crammed into Rawhide's Frontier Hall for a great K-State bowl tradition -- the size and intensity of which is virtually unmatched across college athletics. The Pride of Wildcatland band, Classy Cats and cheerleaders were terrific, as always, and K-State's most famous television alum, ABC's Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet, did a great job of welcoming the crowd. Current KSU Foundation Board President and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers delighted the crowd by removing his grey trousers to reveal his favorite bright purple pants! President Schulz, Amy Button Renz, BWW Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton all spoke prior to the Voice of the Cats Wyatt Thompson introducing Coach Snyder and the team. The inspirational remarks of captains B.J. Finney, Ty Zimmerman, Blake Slaughter, Tyler Lockett and capped off by Olathe senior Tre Walker's rousing exhortations underscored the focus and determination our team has for tonight's matchup.

Our fans continue to amaze me with their loyalty and I know Sun Devil Stadium will be electric later tonight as we look for our first bowl win since 2002.

I'm also proud that 20 members of our football team will take the field tonight as K-State alums as the following players have already completed their undergraduate degrees at K-State: William Cooper, Kip Daily, Laton Dowling, Ethan Hammes, John Hubert, Andre Jackson, Stephen Johnson, Cornelius Lucas, Andre McDonald, Carl Miles, Torell Miller, Dorrian Roberts, TJ Roberts, Tavon Rooks, Robert Rose, Curry Sexton, Blake Slaughter, Keenan Taylor, Tre Walker and Ty Zimmerman. The 20 graduates participating tonight are the second-most of any bowl-bound teams across the country this season, trailing only Alabama.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 19

Dear Wildcat Nation,

At this special time of the year, I would like to wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from both the Currie and K-State Athletics families.

For many of us, in addition to spending time with our friends and families, the holidays are synonymous with K-State bowl games, and I know we are excited to head back to the Valley of the Sun this year. We look forward to seeing a sea of purple in Arizona next week! I am so proud of Coach Snyder and our team for the resiliency and perseverance displayed this season which has culminated with a December 28 matchup in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines, college football's winningest program.

As a reminder, great seats in the official K-State allotment of Sun Devil Stadium are still available, and these locations are among the best of any bowl game. If you haven't made your plans or bought game tickets, be sure and visit k-statesports.com/bowlgame for more information, including pep rally and other bowl week details. There is still time to secure your spot for what will be another exciting postseason bowl experience; and it would make a nice Christmas gift!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 6

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

I trust you are staying warm on this chilly day - it was certainly plenty warm in Bramlage last night, and I would like to start out today by thanking each and every fan who comprised the energetic crowd we had last night. The student section was tremendous and helped our players respond down the stretch for a big 61-58 ESPN2 win over Ole Miss - another victory for our conference in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Big 12 is now 4-2 in the challenge with wins by K-State, Iowa State (Auburn), TCU (Mississippi State) and Texas (Vanderbilt) so pull for our conference brethren in the big games tonight and over the next few days. Click here for highlights of last night's win over Ole Miss.

Coach Andy Kennedy has done a fine job building the Ole Miss program and brought an experienced and undefeated squad into Bramlage last night. Did you read his post-game comments about our crowd?

"I think both teams played extremely hard. We knew that coming in here was going to be a great environment. It is my first time being here, and I cannot say enough about the students here and how they get into it. You guys (K-State) are a little spoiled. We do not get to see that very often. In our league, obviously Kentucky, we are going to play in front of 23,000, and Arkansas in front of 18,000, but not like that. They (fans) were really into it. I thought it made for a very fun, festive college environment."

As this group of young men continues to work hard and improve, that supportive Bramlage atmosphere means so much to Coach Weber and our players. We look forward to seeing you for our next  home game at 7 p.m., Tuesday against South Dakota, followed by a December 15 tilt vs. Troy. Let's keep Bramlage rocking and packed with purple - and we are expecting a great crowd for the December 21 Wichita Wildcat Classic game against 15th-ranked Gonzaga at INTRUST Bank Arena. Tickets are going fast so be sure and reserve your spot now - click here for more information. The K-State Alumni Association and Wichita Catbackers are also holding a pregame party in Wichita prior to the Gonzaga game from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Eaton Venue, which is less than two blocks from the arena. More information about the cost and registration are available by clicking here.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 27

Happy Thanksgiving to the Wildcat Nation!

With so much of our everyday routine consumed by work, sporting events, etc., it's easy to take for granted the real meaningful and priceless things in life - I am thankful for my wonderful wife, Mary Lawrence, our three terrific children, and the opportunity that we have to raise our family here in Manhattan, Kan.  We are glad to have my mom in town for the holiday and looking forward to being off the road for a couple days before we head over to Lawrence on Saturday morning.

Here at K-State we have a lot to be thankful for - a vibrant university with a dynamic president located in one of America's classic college towns; a community that supports its university like no other place in the country; 153 departmental employees all pulling in the same direction towards a common goal of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program; collectively, the best group of head coaches in the country; and last but not least, a group of student-athletes who represent Kansas State University so well and bring the energy and passion with them each day to be the best they can on the playing field, in the classroom and in life.

This past Saturday's game against Oklahoma, our 13th straight football sell-out, capped a historic season as the K-State nation set a new single-season total attendance record of 423,095 and a new average attendance record of 52,887. Even though we came up just a bit short on the scoreboard there was a huge victory in Bill Snyder Family Stadium that I want to tell you about.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 22

Wildcat Nation,

As we move full-speed ahead through this exciting fall semester, I want to thank our fans for their terrific and record-breaking support this fall.

With tomorrow's 11 a.m. game against No. 18 Oklahoma on the horizon -- Senior Day for 27 of our student-athletes -- Wildcat Nation will make history as we will mark not only the 13th consecutive sellout of Bill Snyder Family Stadium dating back to last season, but we will also establish new total and average attendance records for an entire season! The previous total attendance record was 384,654 set in 2002, while the 1999 campaign held the previous record for average attendance at 51,136. With more than 52,000 tickets sold for each contest this season, we will eclipse the 400,000 mark for the first time ever -- thank you!

And one last note on our 27 seniors who will be recognized prior to tomorrow's game - this class will be the first since the 2003 season to qualify for four straight bowl games. We appreciate the hard work, dedication and leadership these student-athletes have provided during their time at K-State!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 8

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It continues to be a busy time as we head into another exciting weekend with our second straight Friday night basketball doubleheader. Both squads open the regular season this weekend as Coach Patterson and our women's squad host Tennessee State at 5:45 p.m., followed by our men's team with an 8 p.m. start against Northern Colorado. The women's game can be seen live on K-StateHD.TV, while the men's game will air on FOX Sports Kansas City.

Let's get right to the updates this week...

Bring Home the Bacon
K-State students will be afforded a very unique and creative promotional opportunity prior to Friday's women's basketball game as any student who shows their K-State ID will receive five crispy pieces of bacon - cooked by new Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table Chef Michael Moyes. The promotion, the idea of our terrific fan experience and sales staff, created a national buzz this week which included trending on Twitter, appearances on ESPN's SportsCenter and NBC's The Dan Patrick Show and stories by ESPN.com, Sporting News, USA Today, National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal. Approximately 300 pounds of bacon will be available, and as a reminder, once a student has scanned into Bramlage, they cannot leave and be re-scanned. So make plans to be at both games, and we look forward to a terrific turnout!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 1

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

November is here, and we are ready to launch with four home contests in the next 60 hours! We'll start off a Wildcat Weekend tonight with a basketball doubleheader as Coach Patterson and our women's team, fresh off an 85-64 win over Washburn on Monday, tip off at 5:45 p.m. against Alaska-Anchorage before Coach Weber and the defending Big 12 Champs host Pittsburg State at 8 p.m.

Tomorrow's football game against Iowa State will be our 11th consecutive sellout at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and will serve as our annual Fort Riley Day. There will be a lot of exciting events tied into this year's Fort Riley Day, and maybe even a few surprises, including a joint performance of the K-State, Iowa State and Big Red One marching bands, an appearance from our own Miss Kansas 2013, and much more. Also, a reminder to fans this weekend that seating is not available (and no tickets sold) on the northeast grassy hill due to the placement of the Salute Battery for Fort Riley Day. Let's continue to show the nation, and our FOX Sports 1 national audience, the terrific atmosphere and environment we have here at K-State.

Saturday is also our annual Cats for Cans food drive, so be sure and bring canned food items, or monetary donations, and drop them off to any of our student-athletes who will be walking around the parking lots and also stationed at each of our gate entrances. The goal this year is to raise $15,000 or 6,000 pounds of donated goods to help fight hunger in the Manhattan area.

The competition weekend concludes on Sunday night at 7 p.m. as our volleyball team will host Oklahoma to make up the match that was unfortunately canceled this past Wednesday due to travel difficulties for the Sooners. Please come out Sunday to Ahearn to support the 'Cats. Remember you can bring your football or basketball ticket stubs and get a volleyball ticket for just $3.

While all these activities are taking place in MHK we want to wish the best of luck to our men's and women's cross country teams as they compete in the Big 12 Championships tomorrow morning in Waco, Texas. The men will race first at 10 a.m., followed by the women at 11 a.m. Good luck to both squads and check k-statesports.com tomorrow afternoon for race results.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 24

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It's Homecoming week at K-State, and campus is already buzzing with activity as many of our 215,000 K-State friends and alumni from across the country return for an exciting weekend. I know Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be rocking Saturday at 2:45 p.m. with our 10th straight sellout and live national broadcast on FOX Sports 1, and that same energy will pack Ahearn Field House at 7:30 p.m. for our volleyball matchup with the Texas Longhorns which will also air live on K-StateHD.TV!  Remember it's a "Wildcat Weekend" so you can bring your football game ticket to Ahearn for a $3 admission to the volleyball game. We also will be honoring and welcoming back our 2003 Big 12 Championship volleyball squad this weekend - they will be in Cat Town before Saturday's football game and will also be recognized during both football and volleyball contests.

Earlier this afternoon I headed to campus for the K-State 150th celebration grand finale on the Anderson lawn and then to the dedication of Mary and Carl Ice Hall in the K-State research park. Click here to read more about Mary and Carl and this important addition to our College of Human Ecology. Also, 27 K-State student-athletes are currently pursuing degrees in this college, and many more will do coursework in Human Ecology during their time in Manhattan.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 11

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It's been a busy few weeks since I last wrote, and we have a big weekend on tap! Before we head into our updates from around the department, I want to share some important information about our 2014 football schedule.

Last week, UT-San Antonio formally notified us that it intended to cancel the game scheduled in Manhattan on September 27, 2014. Although the contract will require UTSA to pay a cancellation fee of $500,000 (which will be offset if we elect to cancel the return game to UTSA in 2015), the more significant issue, given this late date, is the scarcity of available opponents for our third non-conference game in 2014.

Football scheduling is a complex affair. Generally all institutions want the same thing -- home games. Over the last 10 years the number of teams willing to travel without requiring a return game to their stadium has plummeted. We were glad to get the original UTSA deal done in March 2010 because it provided us two FBS games in MHK and one game in San Antonio.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 12

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

While our student-athletes and coaches are hard at work in class and in practice, I've spent most of the last 24 hours in meetings! Early yesterday morning I utilized our handy American Eagle jet service from MHK to zip down to DFW for an excellent all-day Big 12 AD's meeting before returning on the tail end of the much-needed rainstorm last night.

Today I have attended the KSU Foundation meeting - under foundation president Fred Cholick and current chair Curt Frasier's leadership, the KSU Foundation has made tremendous progress to develop more funding for scholarships, programs and facilities in support of President Schulz's visionary K-State 2025 goals.

Congratulations are in order to Coach Suzie Fritz and our volleyball team on an undefeated 7-0 start to the season following Tuesday night's win over Tulsa in Ahearn Field House. My daughter and I were among the 2,523 folks enjoying the atmosphere inside Ahearn - great enthusiasm from our students, cheerleaders, Classy Cats, band and, of course, our loyal fans. After road trips to California, Arkansas and Missouri, the team will return home September 24 to face the Italian u23 National team, and we encourage you to be there.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 5

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,
Let's start off today's letter with K-State volleyball as Coach Fritz and the 'Cats opened the season last weekend by capturing the UNLV Invitational with three straight 3-2 wins over Portland, Cal State Fullerton and the host Runnin' Rebels! Senior Kaitlynn Pelger was named Tournament MVP and Taylor Johnson and Kersten Kober were named to the All-Tournament Team. We start a home-stand tomorrow as the 3-0 Cats host the K-State Invitational in Ahearn Field House with matches against Southeast Missouri State (Friday at 12 p.m.), Southern Illinois (Friday at 7:30 p.m.) and Siena (Saturday at 1 p.m.). Come on out and support the Cats! You can also watch the games live on K-StateHD.TV and listen online at k-statesports.com.

We would like to send a special thanks to the several thousand fans who braved the midday sun to attend last Friday's West Stadium Center dedication and then of course the 53,351 fans who attended Friday night's season opener at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and helped set a record for a home opener (and the second-largest crowd in school history!). The early reviews of the WSC have been overwhelmingly positive, and I very much appreciate the many compliments our staff and the construction team have been getting from fans throughout Wildcatland. Given that we opened the largest construction project in the history of the university exactly one week after taking possession from the contractors with a record crowd and very hot conditions, I thought everything went as smoothly as could be expected - our staff worked hard to prepare - and - our fans were patient! It has been wonderful to see fans pose for pictures before, during and after the game and then throughout this week with the new statue of Coach Snyder, many also taking the time to read the inscriptions on the 3,000 individual donor bricks.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 29

Good Evening K-State Fans!

The clock is ticking down towards a historic day as we prepare for tomorrow morning's 11 a.m. West Stadium Center dedication, our fifth annual K-State Family Reunion and the 7:30 p.m. kick-off of the 2013 season!
This morning workers set up a huge stage and video screens outside the main stadium entrance in preparation for the dedication celebration which will include special video presentations and comments from Governor Sam Brownback, President Kirk Schulz and Head Coach Bill Snyder, among others. If you cannot make it to the event, tune into K-StateHD.tv for live coverage, and click here for our full release on the dedication ceremony. Parking in the stadium's west lot opens at 9 a.m. for the event and is free. The ceremony will conclude with a very, very special tribute to Coach Snyder and the entire family - you won't want to miss it!
The sold-out matchup between the Wildcats and Bison, which will be broadcast nationally to 90 million households on the new FOX Sports 1 with Craig Bolerjack, Joey Harrington and Ryan Nece on the call, will cap an exciting day at the stadium. I had the opportunity to catch up with the broadcast team earlier this afternoon - Craig is a 1981 K-State graduate, and we are proud to have him back in town as we help kick off FOX Sports 1's inaugural season. The crew raved about the new broadcast position and its modern amenities and features.
Words simply don't do justice to how grateful we all are for the collective efforts of literally thousands of people who worked together to make this facility a reality. This project would not have been possible without the incredible support of fans and the tireless efforts of our architects, AECOM/Heery, construction managers Mortenson/GE Johnson as well as our staff. Over 750,000 hours of labor and craftsmanship have gone into this project. And, when I saw the expressions on the faces of our football student-athletes on Saturday when they walked through the new "Performance Table" dining center, I was reminded again what college athletics is all about!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 27

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

The fall semester is underway, and we are just three days away from our sold-out football opener against North Dakota State. Coaches Snyder, Fritz and Smith have been hard at work preparing our football, volleyball and cross country teams for season debuts.
Before we continue our look at all of the fan experience enhancements at Bill Snyder Family Stadium this season, I want to take a moment to commend our student body and student-athletes. Sunday night's new student convocation and Week of Welcome pep rally was terrific, and the enthusiasm displayed by the 6,000-plus students in attendance has me even more excited about Friday's game. This event has grown annually and is one that has become really special. Seeing all of our students - international, in-state, out-of-state and student-athletes - gather together to officially kick off the semester is another unique aspect of what makes K-State so special. After the pep rally, I know our student section of 9,000-plus strong, plus our band, cheerleaders and Classy Cats, will be rocking on Friday!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 24

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

With a record freshman class of K-State students moving into the residence halls this weekend and kickoff just six days away, there is a tremendous energy around MHK! We've been busy preparing for the start of another academic year and are fired up for tomorrow's new student convocation in Bramlage and Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The best student section in the Big 12 will be rocking on Friday night -- yesterday we reached the 9,000 mark in student passes sold! This is almost 1,000 more than last year and looking at the student sales number of 5,600 in 2009 shows how far we've come! We are so grateful for the way K-State students support their peers competing on the field and court.

Friday night's 7:30 p.m. sold-out season-opener against North Dakota State, which will air to a national FOX Sports 1 television audience, will be a special night for all K-Staters. I know our fans are excited for the 2013 season and also their first look at the comprehensive improvements of Phase II of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

Yesterday afternoon I was excited to get a call from Dick Hazen in the state division of facilities management informing me that we had been formally issued our certificate of occupancy for the West Stadium Center. Completing this project in 16 months from groundbreaking to dedication -- and just eight months since the demolition of the old building -- required tremendous teamwork. I want to salute Dick, Diana Hutchinson, Anthony Fadale, Mark Wendland, Brian Love, our state and local fire marshals and all the other inspectors who worked proactively with our construction and design team to keep the project on schedule and ensure our fans and patrons will be enjoying a safe and secure facility.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 24

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!

With a record freshman class of K-State students moving into the residence halls this weekend and kickoff just six days away, there is a tremendous energy around MHK! We've been busy preparing for the start of another academic year and are fired up for tomorrow's new student convocation in Bramlage and Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The best student section in the Big 12 will be rocking on Friday night -- yesterday we reached the 9,000 mark in student passes sold! This is almost 1,000 more than last year and looking at the student sales number of 5,600 in 2009 shows how far we've come! We are so grateful for the way K-State students support their peers competing on the field and court.

Friday night's 7:30 p.m. sold-out season-opener against North Dakota State, which will air to a national FOX Sports 1 television audience, will be a special night for all K-Staters. I know our fans are excited for the 2013 season and also their first look at the comprehensive improvements of Phase II of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

Yesterday afternoon I was excited to get a call from Dick Hazen in the state division of facilities management informing me that we had been formally issued our certificate of occupancy for the West Stadium Center. Completing this project in 16 months from groundbreaking to dedication -- and just eight months since the demolition of the old building -- required tremendous teamwork. I want to salute Dick, Diana Hutchinson, Anthony Fadale, Mark Wendland, Brian Love, our state and local fire marshals and all the other inspectors who worked proactively with our construction and design team to keep the project on schedule and ensure our fans and patrons will be enjoying a safe and secure facility.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 18

Dear K-State Nation:

Earlier this evening at the annual Colbert-Fogler K-State golf fund-raising event, Coach Tim Norris announced that he is retiring as our head men's golf coach effective June 30, 2014.

Coach Norris has done a remarkable job of building our program almost from scratch into one which has won many tournaments, competed in the NCAA's, now has a tremendous facility and has produced two current PGA tour members while maintaining a near perfect academic record.

Tim, Shelley, Ashley and Tyler Norris are a tremendous K-State family and of the utmost integrity.  We have been blessed to have him as our men's golf coach!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 5

Good Afternoon K-State Fans!
I pulled back into Manhattan yesterday after being out of town for the last few weeks, and I must say I'm blown away by how much our athletics complex has changed!  Driving along Kimball Avenue from east to west I passed the new Intercollegiate Rowing Center, which is nearing completion, then the resurfaced (finally!) east parking lot and finally the West Stadium Center - amazing progress! After my son and I unpacked the car, I drove back over and toured the WSC - I'll tweet a few pictures for you today.

Now, on to business. In my previous five letters we reported on our progress over the last four years towards our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program and our five core goals.  In keeping with our commitment to transparency today it is our pleasure to share with you our projected fiscal year 2014 budgeted revenues and expenses, and if you click here you can see both sides of our fifth "budget card" which of course I'll be carrying in my pocket at all times!
For FY14 we are projecting a balanced budget of $60 million, a $1.95 million increase over last year and a 36 percent increase from our 2010 budget of $44.1 million.

Our largest revenue sources will again be the combined $30.68 million in ticket purchases by our loyal fans and individual contributions by our Ahearn Fund donors, along with our projected Big 12/NCAA revenue share of $21 million. Keep in mind that the Big 12 now has equal sharing of all conference television, bowl and other revenue.  And while our Big 12 revenues have doubled since 2009, that grass-roots support of our fans and donors is still the largest source of support for K-State student-athletes.
On the expense side, approximately 57 percent of our budget is in the direct operations of our teams - scholarships, sports medicine, coaching, travel, recruiting, etc.
It has become fashionable lately for national critics to question the worth of an athletic scholarship, usually with derisive comments along the lines of "all they get is..." (although our readers who are currently funding their children's tuition or paying down their student loans probably aren't in this camp!) So, you may have asked yourself what exactly is the value of a K-State athletic scholarship?

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 25

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

It's time for the final installment in our five-part series reviewing progress towards our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program which we 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

Last Friday we covered Goal No. 4 - Championship Level Athletic Performances. Today we focus on our first, and perhaps most important, goal: A World-Class Student-Athlete Experience.

With all the headlines about the "business" of sports, conference realignment, etc., it is easy for some to forget that at the core of our enterprise is the student-athlete experience. This past year K-State was represented by 458 young people in 16 different sports who hailed from 14 countries, 35 states and were pursuing degrees in seven colleges plus the Graduate School.

When we make decisions or prioritize resource allocation we must always have goal No. 1 in mind and ask ourselves, "What is in the best interest of our student-athletes?"

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.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 15

Good Morning K-State Nation!

It's time for installment No. 3 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

Last week we covered Goal No. 2 -- Value to the University, Community and State -- and today we focus on Goal No. 3 -- Integrity and Transparency in Matters of Ethics, Finance and NCAA Compliance.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Publishing a detailed budget for the upcoming year is an important component of our transparency pledge. We'll continue the tradition after we complete this five-part series this month.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 8

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

I trust everyone had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday and weekend and that you were able to spend some quality time with friends and family.

In last week's letter (click here) we began a review of our progress towards our Vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program which we introduced on 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

Today we review goal No. 2 - Value to the University, Community and State.

Here are a few highlights:

Economic Impact
Over $125 million in new and improved facility projects underway and/or completed in the last four years means lots of work for local sub-contractors and materials suppliers as well as MHK hotels, restaurants and stores filled with out-of-town contractors and workers.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 1

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

Does it seem to you that June came and went in a blink of an eye? It sure does to me, and I realized over the weekend I haven't written to you since June 3.  Since then our entire staff has been working at a tremendous pace as we brought fiscal year 2013 to a successful close yesterday.

June highlights included the finest baseball team in K-State history advancing to within two 9th-inning runs of our first-ever College World Series trip.  Coach Brad Hill and his team have represented K-State so well and with Major League draft picks Ross Kivett and Shane Conlon announcing their intentions to return to K-State next year, along with many other strong leaders and our fine young pitching staff, we are very optimistic for another great year in 2014.  It was extremely gratifying not just to see the Manhattan community pack Tointon Family Stadium for our three-win NCAA regional sweep, but also our fans realize and embrace how much fun NCAA baseball can be.  When we eventually advance to the CWS I know K-Staters will turn Omaha Purple, just as fans who watched the title series between Mississippi State and UCLA saw the Bulldog faithful paint the ballpark maroon.

Coach Cliff Rovelto's track team also advanced to the NCAA Championships where several Cats scored points, including Erik Kynard, who concluded his spectacular K-State career with a second-place finish in the high jump to go along with his two previous NCAA titles.  Erik plans to join many other world-class post-graduate track athletes training in MHK and has already claimed a USA Championship to advance to this summer's World Championships in Russia.

Click here for another look at the "Year of the Wildcat!"

A Letter from A.D. John Currie - June 3

Good Evening K-State Nation!

Wow! What an incredible game we witnessed last night at Tointon Family Stadium as the 'Cats fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Arkansas, 4-3, and advance for the first time ever to an NCAA Super Regional. Big 12 Coach of the Year Brad Hill's squad will depart later this week for a best-of-three series at Oregon State, the No. 3 national seed, starting Friday or Saturday. The winner will claim one of eight spots in the 2013 College World Series in Omaha, beginning June 15. Stay tuned later tonight for ticket and ESPN coverage for this coming weekend's action.

Meanwhile, while Manhattan was making history hosting its first-ever NCAA Baseball Regional, Erik Kynard set a new K-State high jump record with a leap of 7-8.75 in the prestigious Prefontaine Classic on Saturday!

There will be lots of K-State Purple in Oregon this weekend as in addition to baseball in Corvallis, Coach Cliff Rovelto is taking an outstanding contingent to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, including Erica Twiss (400m hurdles), Martina Tresch (steeplechase), Kyle Wait (pole vault), Jharyl Bowry (long jump), our men's 4x100 relay team, decathletes Tomas Kirielius and Reinis Kregers and of course the reigning NCAA high jump champ in Kynard. Click here for ticket and coverage information.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 21

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,
First, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Moore, Okla., as they deal with the aftermath of yesterday afternoon's terrible storms, especially the parents who have lost or are missing young children from the schools hit by the tornadoes. Our baseball team was en route to its hotel in OKC in advance of the Big 12 Championship during the storm, and we were relieved to learn that they arrived safely. I also traded text messages late last night with Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione and then our Big 12 ADs visited by phone this morning with conference officials and the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association regarding the status of this week's tournament. Tim Brassfield, Executive Director of the All-Sports Association, was very appreciative of the support and sensitivity to the situation displayed by our conference staff and coaches and shared with us the strong desire from his fellow Oklahoma City leaders that the championship continue to be played this weekend. It was then determined that the tournament be delayed one day and proceed with an altered schedule beginning Thursday. Click here for the conference's full release with an updated schedule of games.
To have such a tragic occurrence come on the heels of a wonderful Wildcat weekend is indeed humbling, but I do want to congratulate Coach Brad Hill and our Big 12 Champion baseball team following a title-clinching series win over Oklahoma this past weekend. And hats off to the 7,600-plus fans that attended the series - Friday night's atmosphere during our dramatic walk-off win was special. We are also in position to potentially host a NCAA Regional here in Manhattan May 31-June 3. Stay tuned for more information and tune into the NCAA selection show on ESPNU next Monday at 11 a.m. In the meantime, click here to watch our special Big 12 Champion baseball video.
Also today in Oklahoma City, the conference announced postseason honors and awards for baseball with a total of seven players being named First Team All-Big 12 as well as Wildcat picks for Coach of the Year (Brad Hill), Player of the Year (Ross Kivett), Freshman of the Year (Jake Matthys) and Scholar Athlete of the Year (Jared King) --- which now gives us three Big 12 Scholar Athletes this year! Click here for our full release on the awards.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 4

Today's letter is being completed on a 7 a.m. flight to DFW after I had the privilege last night of witnessing K-State's gritty 3-2 comeback baseball win over the Longhorns in Austin. Right up the road in Waco on Friday, freshman hammer thrower Sara Savatovic won the Big 12 championship with a 64-foot toss which also re-establishes the Serbian national record she already held! You can follow the track championships on www.kstatesports.com and www.big12sports.com as action heats up with several Wildcats in contention and you can also catch the free audio feed for the baseball game at 2 p.m.

Also competing for the Big 12 title beginning this morning at 9:40 a.m. will be our rowing team in Kansas City. Good luck to all the K-State student-athletes in action this weekend!

It has been a busy and productive week, but I am definitely ready for my family to pick me up later this morning after American Eagle brings me into MHK on the 10:45 a.m. arrival. Here are a few highlights from my week on the road.

We started our Big 12 meetings on Tuesday in Phoenix, but I flew out of MHK through DFW into Tucson on Monday afternoon to see Arizona's nearly-completed football center and end zone expansion. My good friend and Arizona AD Greg Byrne gave me a comprehensive tour of their impressive facility, which is being built by Mortenson -- the same company that is teaming with GE Johnson to construct the West Stadium Center. Additionally, the UA building was designed by Heery, the co-designer of the WSC along with Kansas City's AECOM. It is always good to benchmark ourselves with our competition and get ideas for future phases of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 24

Good Evening K-State Nation,

It's been a beautiful day in Kansas as Senior Associate AD Chad Weiberg and I made the drive down to Wichita to a luncheon with over 100 K-Staters at Koch Industries. Among the many in attendance were recent Wildcat student-athlete graduates Victor Ojeleye (basketball) and Daniel Dellasega (baseball) who are among the many financial analysts, engineers and other professionals at Koch, which is annually one of the largest recruiters of K-State graduates.

We have now made our way over to Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson to watch final round action of the Big 12 Men's Golf Championship. The men's golf squad has endured some tough weather conditions on the course this week, but the sun is out today as all nine teams wrap up play. It has been a pleasure serving as the host institution at this week's tournament, and I appreciate all our staff, including Cole Walker (operations), Mindy Hoffman (athletic training) and Kenny Lannou and Jesse Piper (media relations/communications), who helped make the event run smoothly amidst the weather delays - including yesterday's snow and ice storm! Next year Wichita State will be the host institution for the 2014 NCAA Men's Championship here, so golf enthusiasts should make plans to watch the nation's best collegiate golfers right here at Prairie Dunes.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 10

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

I trust you are managing the wild swings of weather we are experiencing, but we certainly are all grateful for the moisture that means so much to our agricultural community here in the state of Kansas. Speaking of that, congratulations to Coach Hill and our baseball team for overcoming not just rain and plummeting temperatures last night but also a 6-1 Wichita State lead in the 8th inning. It was a thrill to watch the 'Cats score five runs in the bottom of the 8th and then the game-winner in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Shockers 7-6 and improve to 24-10 on the year, currently the second-best overall win total in the Big 12. Despite the weather of the last two months our team has not missed a single home game, thanks in part to the hard work of our game operations staff and new full field AstroTurf infill surface we installed two years ago at Tointon Family Stadium - another way your Ahearn gifts and ticket purchases directly impact the student-athlete experience and K-State's ability to compete. We especially appreciate the fans and ushers who braved the soggy weather to support the squad to the end!

This past weekend I journeyed to Atlanta for various AD meetings surrounding the men's Final Four on Friday and Saturday before making it back to MHK on American Eagle Sunday just in time to catch the third game of our baseball series sweep of Texas Tech. On Saturday morning I attended a very interesting and frank discussion with NCAA President Mark Emmert along with about 90 other AD's and commissioners. Clearly there is a feeling among many AD's nationally that they have been somewhat purposely detached from the national policy-making process over the last few years. I am again reminded how fortunate we are to have an inclusive and communicative leader here at K-State in our President Kirk Schulz - my fellow AD's around the country are very glad that President Schulz is now becoming involved at the highest level as a member of the NCAA (and Big 12) Board of Directors' Executive Committee! I also enjoyed being able to sit at the breakfast table next to my good friend and colleague, Wichita State AD Eric Sexton - congratulations to the Shockers on a great NCAA run.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 28

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

It is a beautiful day in Manhattan as we get ready for a busy weekend of K-State student-athletes in action across the nation! Of course here in Bramlage Coliseum we are looking forward to a great crowd for tonight's 7 p.m. third-round WNIT matchup with Ball State. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, so come out and support seniors Brittany Chambers and Mariah White and our Wildcats as they continue to charge through the bracket. Brittany is as hot as any player in the country right now as she followed her school-record 42 points against Texas Southern with 28 versus Illinois State in the second round! Watch on K-StateHD.TV if you can't be there in person or listen live across the K-State Sports Network or online at k-statesports.com.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 20

Happy March Madness!

First off, I want to congratulate Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber and our men's basketball team on their Big 12 Championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament as well as Coach Patterson and our women's team on persevering and earning a bid to the WNIT. Both teams will be playing this week in our own backyard -- we hope to see you Thursday night at Bramlage for the 7 p.m. WNIT battle with Texas Southern and then Friday afternoon at the Sprint Center in Kansas City for our NCAA Second Round matchup at 2:10 p.m. against either La Salle or Boise State.

I would like to thank our fans for both their patience and persistence in securing their seats in the Sprint Center for what is a very hot and tough ticket in Kansas City this weekend. For those in the area, with or without tickets to the tournament, be sure and come to the Power and Light District Friday at 12:15 p.m. for a pregame pep rally!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 5

Can you believe it is March 5? Time flies when you are having fun, and having our men's basketball team ranked ninth and battling for a Big 12 title in the last week of the season definitely qualifies as fun! Tonight's 7 p.m. game against TCU is very special as the winningest senior class in K-State history - Rodney McGruder, Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving - will take to the court for their final game in Bramlage Coliseum. Please arrive early to salute these seniors and their families! A limited number of general admission tickets remain and can be purchased by clicking here, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or at the Bramlage ticket office.

Before we get to a few other departmental updates we have important breaking news regarding our 2013 football schedule to bring to your attention.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 18

In just a few hours our 13th-ranked men's basketball team will host Bob Huggins and West Virginia here in the Octagon of Doom on ESPN's Big Monday national stage. Tip time at Bramlage is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT, and we are anticipating another packed house and electric atmosphere. Congratulations also to Angel Rodriguez for being named Big 12 Player of the Week!

This past weekend was full of competition and exciting activities here on campus beginning with Thursday's kickoff event for the nine-month celebration of K-State's 150th anniversary. It was great to see the thousands of K-Staters inside Ahearn Field House on Thursday walking through all of the exhibits while enjoying a classic K-State tradition - Call Hall ice cream. On Friday evening more than 800 K-Staters from all generations attended the sold-out "Gala 150" in the Hilton Garden Inn's first-class banquet center. Congratulations and thanks to all the 150th committee members who have worked so hard to plan this special celebration period, including Jackie Hartman and Megan Umscheid in the President's office, who are spearheading the effort.

My Saturday started with a 9:00 a.m. visit and question-and-answer session with our nationally recognized Alumni Association's Board of Directors. Our Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Lindsey Babcock accompanied me and did a great job of explaining a number of national issues. After a tour of the BTF and WSC with a couple special guests, at 11 a.m. we held our third facility groundbreaking in the last 24 months with a ceremony formally initiating construction on our new Intercollegiate Rowing Center! As we continue to strive toward our goal of a model intercollegiate athletics program, the IRC will dramatically enhance the experience of our 90-plus female rowing student-athletes. The IRC's location close to our Academic Learning Center and the new Student-Athlete Performance Table located in the West Stadium Center will help maximize the efficiency of our student-athletes. The IRC, which is being funded privately through Ahearn Fund contributions and athletics department revenue without the aid of tax, tuition or general university dollars, will include two state-of-the-art indoor rowing tanks, a new locker room and erg room with more than 40 rowing performance machines and office space for the coaching staff. Highlights of the ceremony were the incredibly grateful comments from team captains Aly Bronder and Adria Ley as well as seeing the excitement in the crowd of approximately 200, including many current and former rowers and their parents. Click here to read our full release and see the groundbreaking video.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 6

Good Morning K-State Nation,

National Signing Day is underway with faxes already rolling into the Vanier Complex as Coach Snyder welcomes the newest members of the Wildcat football program. Check k-statesports.com all morning for up-to-date signee bios and videos, and be sure to watch Coach Snyder's 2 p.m. Signing Day press conference live on K-StateHD.TV.

Last night Coach Weber's 13th-ranked squad captured another Big 12 road win at Texas Tech to improve to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12, our best nine-game start in conference play since Michael Beasley wore a Wildcat uniform in 2007-08. And tonight our women's squad, coming off a tough double-overtime game against KU on Saturday, hosts Oklahoma in Bramlage at 7 p.m. The game can also be seen on Fox Sports Midwest and also world-wide on K-StateHD.TV!

Big News for a Key Department Leader
In case you missed it, here is a link to yesterday's national announcement that Reid Sigmon, our Senior Associate AD/COO, has been named the Chief Financial Officer for the new college football playoff and national championship organization. In his new role, which will begin in April 22, Reid will join Executive Director Bill Hancock in the group's new headquarters in Dallas. He will bring valuable on-campus perspective into what makes a post-season experience special for student-athletes, coaches and institutional fans as well as credibility and common-sense to the new era of post-season football including the championship game and the new semifinals and elite bowl placement system.

While Reid's daily presence will be missed dearly, I am very proud and excited for him to have this transformational opportunity. Reid was our first hire, arriving at K-State in July 2009 after directing the Tampa Super Bowl organizing committee. We simply cannot overestimate the impact he has had on the athletics program's re-organization and fiscal growth from a forecasted $2 million operating deficit four years ago to one now recognized nationally as a model of fiscal stability with a $59 million budget this year along with $100 million in ongoing athletic facility upgrades. Thanks to Reid we have a tremendous senior staff that will continue great leadership and support for our programs.

As I discussed in my letter last week, with success comes the fact that our people, both from an administrative and coaching standpoint, are noticed by others around the country for the great work they are doing in Manhattan, and, in turn, often are targeted by other organizations or programs. This is a compliment to K-State, our student-athletes, and fans, and further evidence of the progress being made towards our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.

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.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - December 16

Good morning, K-State Nation!
It's been a wild couple of weeks since I last wrote to you! I recently attended my sixth banquet/award ceremony in the last 11 days, (not counting the K-State volleyball banquet, which I hated to miss and sort of attended in the form of a videotaped address) but I never get tired of seeing K-Staters recognized on the big stage.

The awards odyssey all began a week ago when we traveled to New York to see Mark Simoneau honored at the National Football Foundation dinner for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame before returning to MHK for 24 hours, when our family watched Collin Klein on TV at the Home Depot CFB Awards show in Orlando, Fla.

Friday saw an early morning flight on American Eagle out of MHK connecting to Baltimore for the very special Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award ceremony, where Collin gave a tremendous acceptance speech. Attendees and speakers included Coach Snyder, Colts legends and Unitas' teammates Raymond Berry, Jimmy Orr, Len Moore and Tom Matte who joined John Unitas Jr. and other family members for the evening. Click to watch K-State videographer Preston Koerner's highlights. I even was able to keep up with Collin's father, Doug, on a four-mile jog through Baltimore's harbor area that afternoon.

Saturday we also were able to watch a Wildcat basketball victory over George Washington at a nearby restaurant on 42nd Street before the Heisman presentation in New York City. That was then followed by a transcontinental American Airlines flight to California for Sunday night's Lott IMPACT Trophy presentation, where Arthur Brown was honored as one of four finalists for that prestigious award before a live FOX television audience. Condelezza Rice gave an inspirational keynote address, and Arthur did a great job in his FOX interviews and comments. Watching the pride on the faces of his parents, Arthur Sr. and Lelonnie, as Arthur joined Notre Dame's Manti T'eo and Chase Thomas of Stanford on the stage made the long trip completely worthwhile.

After spending Monday in the office it was up and back to Chicago on Tuesday (again out of MHK on American Eagle) where President Schulz received the CASE Chief Executive Leadership award in front of a packed banquet hall including K-State Alumni CEO Amy Button Renz and luncheon keynote speaker Mike Eruzione. Both athletically and academically K-State is surging toward the goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 9

Good Evening Wildcat Nation,

It's going to be a busy K-State sports weekend and after traveling this week I'm heading back to MHK on the afternoon American Eagle flight from DFW in time to make it to Bramlage for tonight's men's and women's home season-opening basketball doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m.! Both Coach Weber's inaugural K-State team and Coach Patterson's 17th squad are coming off good exhibition victories and are ready to get the "real" games started against Idaho State and North Dakota, respectively.

Tomorrow is another huge day for Coach Fritz's No. 17 ranked volleyball squad who will host TCU Saturday at 3 p.m. in Ahearn Field House before Coach Snyder's charges put their No. 2 BCS ranking on the line vs. TCU in Fort Worth at 6 p.m. in front of another national FOX broadcast.

Sunday afternoon we'll be back in Bramlage for Wildcat women's basketball action against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 2 p.m. Then on Monday and Tuesday Bramlage hosts two nights of doubleheader Pre-Season NIT action beginning with the K-State vs. Lamar at 7 p.m. and North Texas vs. Alabama Huntsville at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday. Lamar is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance last year, while UAH advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II tournament so please come early and be loud and help give the 'Cats the Octagon of Doom home court advantage you've made famous throughout college basketball!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - November 2

Good Morning Wildcat Nation!

It's another big weekend in the Little Apple for our university, community and second-ranked football program as we welcome ABC/ESPN's "Saturday Night Football" to town to nationally televise our contest against No. 24 Oklahoma State. November is a crazy-busy month for our staff (and our fans!!) as our fall sports overlap with the launch of men's and women's basketball. There are also extra logistics and planning to prepare for likely post-season play for football and volleyball, while of course we continue with multiple projects as part of our $100 million in athletic facility improvements.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 27

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

It's Homecoming weekend, and we are already enjoying seeing K-State alumni rolling in for a full weekend of activities, which we'll cover in greater detail later in this letter.  But first, let's all wish K-State's men's and women's cross country teams good luck in our first Big 12 Championship of the year, tomorrow morning in Austin.
I do want to take a quick moment to look back at our victorious trip to West Virginia last weekend, primarily because of the numerous letters and notes I have received from our fans about how well they were treated by the host fans of the Big 12's newest member institution.  We salute President Jim Clements and AD Oliver Luck for establishing a high level of sportsmanship expectation and tone.  And, we continue to appreciate the great job K-State fans are doing to set the example for all of college athletics in how we welcome our visiting fans here at Bill Snyder Family Stadium with "The Best Fan Experience in Big 12."
And, it was a tremendous performance on and off the field in Milan-Puskar Stadium, with K-Staters from 22 states attending the pre-game alumni function (click here for additional alumni functions on the road) and approximately 3,500-4,000 Wildcat fans at the game, all wearing purple I might add! Thanks for your passion for the Cats!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 6

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,

Today is a historic day for K-State Athletics.  It is already a huge Wildcat weekend with our No. 7 equestrian team getting the festivities started with a Big 12 battle with Baylor this morning at Timbercreek Stables at 10 a.m.  Tomorrow we'll have the nationally-televised football edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown against the Jayhawks at 11 a.m. and the huge 7 p.m. Big 12 volleyball battle with Texas in Ahearn between two Top 15 teams.

And this afternoon we will have a very special and significant event as we dedicate our new state-of-the-art $18 million Basketball Training Facility for our men's and women's teams.  We are incredibly grateful to all the Ahearn Fund members who have made this completely privately funded project possible. Coupled with our tremendous home court advantage and awesome student section in Bramlage, we believe that our basketball facility environment is now as good as anyone in the country.

Our basketball student-athletes will get the first tour of their new facility early this afternoon before an invitation-only event and program wraps up the dedication.  Over the next six weeks we will also hold a public open house so that all of our great fans can see firsthand this gorgeous facility.  We appreciate the hard work of our project architects at Populous, construction manager MW Builders and members of our athletics staff in making sure this facility - to the very finest detail - is top-notch and one of the best in the country.  In the meantime, be sure and tune in to K-StateHD.TV this evening at 5:45 p.m. and watch the dedication program live.  Also check back soon for a video tour and let us know what you think!

Coach Snyder's goal No. 12 is "No Self Limitations."  Truly the Basketball Training Facility represents what can happen when all the elements of the K-State Nation come together and determine that we will indeed be a model intercollegiate athletics program!  We continue to support President Schulz's leadership and the visionary K-State 2025 program of becoming a Top 50 public research institution.  With our terrific university leadership team, faculty and staff and the support of K-Staters across the globe, K-State students will continue to have one of the best college experiences in the country!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 21

Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation!

It's time for Big 12 Conference play as both our football and volleyball programs are now entering league action. Coach Fritz's No. 11 volleyball squad is off to a 12-1 start and will host Nebraska-Omaha tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Ahearn before welcoming West Virginia next Thursday night, September 27, for the Mountaineer's first-ever Big 12 contest in Manhattan. Let's be sure and pack the house to show our visitors from Morgantown what Big 12 volleyball is all about!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 14

Good Morning K-State Nation!
What is shaping up to be a beautiful K-State weekend was kick-started last night as K-State Volleyball starting off the Golden Hurricane Classic with a sweep over host Tulsa to improve to 10-0 on the season.  Congratulations to Coach Fritz and the team as the 19th-ranked 'Cats continue the best start in school history!  Next up is a big test against 10th-ranked Minnesota this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.  You can watch the Tulsa video feed on K-StateHD.TV or tune into SportsRadio 1350 to follow the Cats!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 7

Good Morning K-State Nation!

Today's beautiful MHK sunrise was preceded by a 6:52 a.m. text message from President Schulz informing me that the Big 12 Board of Directors has approved our new long-term ESPN/FOX contract for all 10 members! President Schulz, Commissioner Bowlsby and the entire Big 12 family have done a great job throughout this process. We emerge with a brighter conference future than ever before, while Big 12 student-athletes will receive unprecedented national exposure with this new 13-year agreement. Click here to read the official conference release and our statement.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 30

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!
Another fall semester is underway - it's great to see the students back on campus and the buzz they create around town.  We've had a busy two weeks which kicked off with more than 5,000 students in attendance last Sunday at the annual Week of Welcome pep rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.  Our student body certainly is energized and eager for the 2012-13 year, and we know that student section will be rocking Saturday night as we are nearing 8,000 student passes sold for this football season, a number that has steadily increased since 2009.
Also, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby made a trip to Manhattan last Friday to visit campus and meet with many university and athletic staff members and personnel, and our 21st-ranked volleyball team opened its season with a three-game sweep at the Varney's Invitational in front of terrific crowds at Ahearn Field House.  As we head into another busy weekend with our football, volleyball and cross country teams all in action, here are some additional details from the latest happenings in the department.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 13

Good Morning K-State Nation!
Welcome (back) to K-State and the land of Big Cranes! Although it has been a little while since I last wrote it is not for a lack of activity and action around the K-State Nation.  And, with our home football opener just 19 days away, let's get caught up on current happenings here in Manhattan and around the world.

Olympic Silver for Rising Senior Erik Kynard
Rising senior and back-to-back NCAA outdoor champion Erik Kynard put an exclamation point on the world in "World -Class Student-Athlete Experience" last Wednesday in London as he captured the silver medal in the high jump at the XXX Olympic Games.  I joined a boisterous group of K-State staffers in the Legends Room in Bramlage that afternoon to watch the jump competition live via the web as SID David Wiechmann tracked the scores and competition on an "old fashioned" white board.  It was just awesome to see Erik and then the frequent camera shots of him conferring with our head coach, Cliff Rovelto, who sat trackside with his wife and track operations director Karol along with former K-State heptathlete Austra Skujyte, who finished fifth competing for her home country of Lithuania.  K-State track is helping to lead our quest for a model intercollegiate athletics program, and we are proud of all the K-Staters who represented their countries in London.  And, Coach Rovelto not only represented K-State as Erik's coach but also served as the coach for the other two U.S. high jumpers who advanced to the medal round! Congrats to Erik and Coach Rovelto, along with the five other current or former Wildcats - Skujyte, Darius Draudvila (Lithuania), Korene Hinds (Jamaica), Jeffrey Julmis (Haiti) and Beverly Ramos (Puerto Rico) -- who participated for their respective countries in London.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - July 5

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!
I trust you enjoyed a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July.  Our family enjoyed a full day of activities here in Manhattan capped off by some incredible fireworks displays around town!
Supposedly the summer used to be a time when things slow down, but here at K-State we have a great deal of action on-going about which I want to bring you up to speed.  As I pulled into the parking lot this morning, various excavators, back-hoes and dump-trucks were already prowling the site of the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Speaking of the West Stadium Center, we are humbled to announce that K-Staters have responded to the $5 million anonymous challenge pledge announced earlier this spring, matching and exceeding that amount, now pushing total funds committed to the project to over $53 million towards the total goal of $75 million!

Letter from A.D. John Currie - June 7

Good Morning K-State Nation!

While I spend most of this week traveling around the country visiting with donors, making a stop in Des Moines for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and checking out two football stadiums with our construction team, exciting progress is being made at home in MHK.
Our staff in Bramlage and the Vanier Complex was greeted with sounds from heavy equipment on Tuesday as the construction pace picked up on the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium! Work is beginning on the north end of the construction site to our new "TV Land" area, which will be completed prior to the 2012 season. All power, utilities and fiber connectivity are being relocated to the new area and will be the location for television broadcast trucks, satellite uplinks and of course, our K-StateHD.TV production vehicle.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - June 3

Good Evening K-State Nation!

Today's update comes to you live from the beautiful new Great Bend (KS) Sports Complex where the 11U Titans are enjoying some tournament baseball, about to battle the Central Kansas Hornets for the title!
Before Sunday rolls into Monday let's preview the coming week and also look back at a few highlights from the last several days.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 22

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

I trust your week is off to a fast start and that you had a great weekend! I spent mine enjoying six "11U Titans" baseball games in Olathe and Shawnee - my son and I saw lots of K-State Alumni Association license plates, Purple and Powercats as we drove around the greater KC area. We are always grateful for our fans showing the pride and wearing the Purple proudly!

Speaking of baseball, Coach Hill's charges did a great job of finishing the regular season strong - winning four out of their last six Big 12 games (over KU and at Texas Tech) to play their way into the conference tournament for the sixth straight year. Congratulations to Joe Flattery for throwing K-State's first complete game since A.J. Morris shut down Rice in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Click here for ticket information for the tournament, including our opening-round matchup with Baylor at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 4

Good evening K-State Nation!
After a very productive set of Big 12 meetings and Fiesta Bowl events in Phoenix, it is great to see the evening American Eagle jet flight to MHK listed as "on-time" on the "big board" here at DFW Airport. I am ready to get home and see my family!
This has been a historic day for the Big 12 as current Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby was introduced earlier this morning as our new conference commissioner. I believe this is a tremendous coup for the Big 12 and am grateful for the leadership and diligence shown by President Schulz, Oklahoma State President and Big 12 Chairman Burns Hargis and the other selection committee members in making it happen.
Bob Bowlsby is one of the most respected athletics leaders in the country and has played an instrumental role in the transformation of the Pac-12 Conference over the last several years. In addition to his success as Stanford's AD, he has deep Midwest roots having previously served for many years as AD at Iowa and Northern Iowa, while his transcendent skills are illustrated by his role as a member of the board of directors of the United States Olympic Committee.
Click here to see the conference's official announcement regarding the appointment and more details on Commissioner-elect Bowlsby's background.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 27

Good afternoon Wildcat Nation!
A busy weekend is upon us here at K-State, and many of you already may be on your way to Manhattan for tonight's 28th-annual Powercat Auction at Bramlage. Another sellout crowd will be on hand, and we hope to see you all on campus over the next several days as we head into an exciting weekend of events. Here are the highlights and a breakdown of the events:
Powercat Auction and Golf Tournament

We had a great turnout at this morning's Powercat Golf Tournament at Colbert Hills Golf Course to kick off the weekend. In just a little bit, we will fill Bramlage for the Powercat Auction, which remains our department's single-largest fundraising event and supports the Ahearn Fund, our National Fund for Student-Athlete Excellence. Last year's event raised more than $275,000 to directly enhance the student-athlete experience for all Wildcat student-athletes, and all of our Powercat Members ($300 donation level and above) will be a part of this year's event. Click here for a full list of auction items that will be available at tonight's event.
Baseball Opens Series with Oklahoma State
For those fans unable to attend the Powercat Auction, head over to Tointon Stadium for tonight's 6:30 p.m., matchup with the Cowboys. It's Ladies Night at the ballpark as fans can purchase a $10 ticket package that includes one general admission bench ticket and one pink K-State baseball hat. Additionally, Manhattan area vendors will be available during the regularly-scheduled pregame tailgate on Friday beginning at 5 p.m., directly behind the stadium off College Avenue. The pregame tailgate includes a hot dog meal for $4 and a cheeseburger meal for $5.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 19

Good evening K-State Nation!
While our student-athletes begin preparing for next month's final exams, we will have some exciting events in the weeks ahead with the 2012 Big 12 Track and Field Championships at R.V. Christian Track Complex as well as the completion of our baseball, tennis, golf and rowing seasons. And behind the scenes, we continue to make terrific progress in the planning stages of the West Stadium Center project - the groundbreaking ceremony is only one week away!
For those of you on campus, you may have run into Coach Weber earlier today as he and a few members of our staff spent the morning touring the campus and meeting numerous students, faculty and administrators. I continue to be impressed with how well Coach Weber has transitioned into his role here and couldn't be more excited to have him lead our program.      
As you can see, there has been a lot going on so let's get right to some additional updates from around the department.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - April 6

Good afternoon K-State Nation!
Today has been another busy one for the Wildcats. President Schulz and Provost Mason are hosting a two-day campus visit by the state of Kansas Board of Regents, and we just finished giving them a special construction tour of our $18 million Basketball Training Facility. It was my first time inside the BTF since February 24 and I was amazed at the progress in that short time period. The limestone going on the exterior looks awesome!
There is lots of K-State sports action this weekend, so let's get right to the updates.
West Stadium Center Project Groundbreaking Set for April 28th
Today at lunch we hosted our media for a press conference announcing the next step in the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan, the West Stadium Center (click here for the official press release). When we proposed Phase II, the West Stadium Center, at the bowl pep rally at Rangers Ballpark in January, the reaction and endorsement from our fans was tremendous, and today I am very pleased to announce that enthusiasm has translated into dramatic fundraising momentum which will enable us to formally break ground on April 28, 2012, with the intent to complete the WSC in time for the 2013 football season. Interest in the project has been terrific, and with the recent commitment of a $5 million challenge gift from an anonymous donor and the full subscription of the WSC's 40 suites, we are now launching the club and loge seating phase of the project.
At over 250,000 square feet, the West Stadium Center will have something for every K-State fan and every student-athlete. Our goal of the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12 will be enhanced with twice as many restroom fixtures and four times the concession points of sale as the existing west stadium, along with a hall of honor recognizing the heritage of our university and athletics program, with equally vital improvements in safety, security and ADA access.
A student-athlete dining center will directly benefit all K-State athletics teams while the new structure will mark the northwest gateway of our beautiful campus and serve as rallying point for the entire university as we pursue the goal of elevating K-State into the ranks of the top 50 public research universities by 2025.
The West Stadium Center is also symbolic of our commitment to fiscal responsibility as no state or university tuition dollars will be used in its construction while it also generates significant future income to be invested in our program.
And, not insignificantly, the West Stadium Center and Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan will help secure our competitive future, a future we are absolutely committed to championship performances at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.

Click here learn more and find out how you can help make the WSC a reality.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 27

Good afternoon Wildcat Nation,

Thank you for your continued support of K-State athletics and our 440 student-athletes and our 16 teams.

A few moments ago, we wrapped up a news conference in the Legends Room at Bramlage Coliseum to address the status of our men's basketball program.  As you are aware, Coach Martin has resigned his position as head coach.

Coach Martin's contract called for a renegotiation period to begin on April 1, but almost two months ago we offered Coach Martin the opportunity to begin discussions on a significant enhancement and extension of his contract.  His decision, which we respected, was to wait until the end of the season to begin those conversations and in our frequent subsequent discussions he maintained that position.  On Friday, I received a call from South Carolina AD Eric Hyman informing me of their interest in Coach Martin.  Later that evening I received a request from Coach Martin indicating that his representatives had been in touch with South Carolina and he wished to speak with South Carolina and intended to take the position if offered.  Yesterday afternoon Coach Martin informed me that he had accepted the position at South Carolina and was resigning his position at K-State.

We wish him the best and offer our appreciation for all he and his staff have accomplished for our basketball program, athletics department and university during his time as head coach.

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 23

Dear Wildcat Nation,

Greetings from the Little Apple! After several days of needed rain showers, it appears we are in store for a beautiful spring weekend as we host events in baseball and tennis.
It certainly has been a great year so far for our athletics program: in fact, did you know that K-State is one of only five schools in the country this year that went to a bowl game and picked up wins in the NCAA volleyball and both basketball championships? And, we still have the remainder of the spring season to add to those accolades as baseball, tennis, golf, track and field, rowing and equestrian continue their schedules.