June 19, 2011
By Mark Janssen
K-Staters … be proud. Stick out that chest and carry a swagger in your home community when it comes to Wildcat athletics.
No, K-State did not win a Big 12 championship trophy this year, but from sport-to-sport, from fall, to winter, to spring, the Wildcats collectively may have competed at a higher level than in any other single academic season in the school’s history.
Argue if you like, and toss the subject around your coffee group, but consider these facts.
Only Kansas State, Texas A&M and Florida State had…
--their football team in a bowl game.
--their men’s and women’s basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament.
--their baseball team in an NCAA Regional.
--their track teams – men and women – finished in the Top 25 at the NCAA Championships.
--a singles participant in the NCAA Tennis Championships.
Again, the roll call of institutions accomplishing all of those feats includes only the Wildcats, the Aggies and the Seminoles.
Oh, throw in teams that also finished in the Top 25 in the NCAA women’s cross country championships, and the field narrows to only K-State and Florida State.
Oh-oh-oh… not to be forgotten is the fact that the Wildcats went 13-1 in head-to-head team meetings with the Jayhawks of the University of Kansas.
13-1! Throw that figure around with your crimson and blue friends.
Yours truly has covered the Purple landscape for the last 40 years, and honestly, this 2010-11 athletics season just might be the most storied in the history of the school.
Argue if you like, but for per dollar invested, Kansas State gets more return on its investment than any of the other league institutions in this final season of the 12-team Big 12 Conference.
K-State has it rolling with a collection of head coaches in Steve Bietau, Cliff Rovelto, Deb Patterson, Bill Snyder, Suzie Fritz, Tim Norris and Kristi Knight, who have led their programs for at least a decade, not to mention Brad Hill and Patrick Sweeney, who have completed eight coaching seasons for the purple and white. Frank Martin and Casie Lisabeth also have their programs certainly headed in the right direction.
AND not to be forgotten is the momentum of K-State’s Ahearn Fund staff, which has bolstered the number of Ahearn Donors by more than 1,000 during the just completed sports year.
AND making sure that more winning ways continue are the facility improvements in the basketball training center, not to mention the addition of new restrooms and a sparkling new turf at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
AND let’s not forget the fact that these “are” student-athletes. For the fourth consecutive year K-State has led the Big 12 in graduation rate, and this year had over 200 honorees on the league’s Commissioner’s honor roll.
Folks, that’s nearly one-half of K-State’s student-athletes!
The success stories of 2010-11 go on and on and on.
Kansas State’s administrative team headed by athletics director John Currie and senior associate athletics director/chief of staff Reid Sigmon, plus the senior staff members Casey Scott, Jill Shields, Jamie Vaughn, Stacy Martin, Scott Garrett and Charlie Thomas, have the department on a solid foundation as the school moves into the new 10-team Big 12 format in 2011-12.
K-State’s two NCAA champions in track – Erik Kynard and Ryann Krais – are a sophomore and junior, respectively; freshman Petra Niedermayerova, the league’s Freshman and overall Player of the Year, is poised to make the school’s best-ever tennis season even better; Ty Zimmerman in football, Jared King in baseball and Kaitlynn Pelger in volleyball were Big 12 freshmen awards; while both basketball rosters – led by juniors Brittany Chambers and Rodney McGruder – are blessed with young Wildcats.
Kansas State’s administration, coaches and student-athletes are doing their part, but you as Wildcat fans are vital to the master plan to Big 12 success.
Your dollars invested in today’s student-athlete through the Ahearn Fund, and your attendance at home games can be a difference-maker for the Wildcat teams, and overall department.
The article appeared originally in the K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.