A Letter from A.D. John Currie - August 28, 2015

Good afternoon K-State Nation!

It seems like the season is always so far away... until it is right upon us!  Our team and coaches are grinding away getting ready for next Saturday's 6:10 p.m. kick-off against South Dakota before our 21st consecutive sold-out crowd in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, while our incredible Operations and Fan Experience staffs are hard at work preparing to provide the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12 for an action-packed weekend of football, volleyball and of course several very special once-in-a-lifetime events.

The fall season actually starts this afternoon with our volleyball team hitting first serve at 4 p.m. CT in Miami, Fla., against Florida A&M.  Join me in listening live on k-statesports.com or 1350 KMAN, and good luck to Coach Fritz's troops as they pursue a second straight NCAA bid.

If you just can't wait for game day - check out this debut video which our award-winning K-StateHD.TV staff including Andy Liebsch, Brian Smoller, Preston Koerner, Jay Moline and student intern Logan Meis whipped up - gave me goose bumps!  It also has some newly historic shots of the "old" Vanier!  Remember that next Saturday's football game will be broadcast world-wide exclusively on K-StateHD.TV - click here to subscribe and set up today!

Before we begin today’s updates, I would like to reflect back on this past Sunday evening when I attended our third annual new-student Convocation in Bramlage Coliseum and seventh annual Week of Welcome Pep Rally in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.  More than 6,000 students filled the stadium and were fired up to get the semester started!  This event continues to grow every year, and hats off to all in attendance, including the 400-plus members of the nation’s top marching band whose 100 senior participants led the terrific crowd in the fight song and Wabash Cannonball.  The growth of these two relatively new University traditions epitomize the momentum as we surge toward the K-State 2025 goal of ranking among America's top 50 public universities behind President Schulz's visionary leadership.

Late Monday morning I made an easy connection on American Airlines out of MHK through DFW and into New Orleans in plenty of time for a great dinner at the historic Bon Ton Cafe hosted by the Sugar Bowl staff and Board of Directors for the Big 12 AD's and commissioner's staff.  Remember that the Big 12 and the SEC now have a 12-year partnership for our top teams not selected for the College Football Playoff (CFP) to meet in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which this year will be held on January 1 at 7:30 p.m. CT.  We are mutually excited about this new tradition.

Tuesday morning we had an excellent five-hour Big 12 AD meeting with Commissioner Bowlsby and covered a wide range of topics, including unanimously voting to adopt conference legislation reflecting our desire to take a leadership position on addressing serious misconduct issues among potential incoming student-athletes.  We look forward to working with our Faculty Athletics Representatives and finalizing our approach later this fall.

I returned to MHK late Tuesday evening where our staff, coaches and student-athletes continue to work hard getting ready for next weekend’s busy schedule, which includes the Varney's Invitational volleyball tournament at Bramlage, a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Vanier Family Football Complex, Coach Snyder’s pregame CFB Hall of Fame recognition, our Ring of Honor halftime celebration and of course our 6:10 p.m., football opener.  Stay tuned to kstatesports.com later today for a full list of events, activities and reminders heading into next weekend’s busy schedule.

I want to take one more opportunity to say how thankful we are to all of our terrific supporters for making the VFFC a reality.  The nation has already taken notice – did you see CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd's recent column in which he called the Nelson Family Locker Room the “most impressive in the country?!”

Before the college football season kicks off in another week, Coach Godfrey’s cross country squad will also get the competitive season underway as the Cats head to Lawrence on Tuesday for the Bob Timmons Classic before traveling to Wichita on Saturday.  Be sure to follow k-statesports.com for live coverage and results.

Sportsmanship Campaign
Also discussed earlier this week in New Orleans is Commissioner Bowlsby's conference-wide emphasis on sportsmanship for the 2015-16 season and beyond.  We take sportsmanship very seriously and truly believe that our fans are the best in the country.  Our staff, in conjunction with an Athletics Student Advisory Team made up of more than 20 undergraduate students, has worked closely with student government (SGA) leadership, K-State Proud and the University to develop communication plans to encourage the K-State Family to show the spirit of good sportsmanship that is expected at Kansas State University.  After input from our student sportsmanship committee, part of this plan includes K-State students will now sign a sportsmanship pledge before they pick up their student athletic pass for the academic year.  As we strive to provide a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience and The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12, we will continue to encourage all fans to show respect for all participating student-athletes, coaches, fans and officials by welcoming them to K-State.  We have so much to be proud of here at K-State: championship performances both on the field and in the classroom, top-notch facilities and most importantly a nationally-recognized fan base whose passion and support have set a national standard for excellence.  Thank you, and let’s keep up that same trajectory!

Nelson Family Gives Back
As mentioned earlier, we are extremely grateful to Jordy and Emily Nelson for their generous contribution to K-State Athletics to assist in the department's efforts to complete Phase III-B of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan, the northeast corner of the Vanier Family Football Complex.  Jordy and Emily are model K-Staters and for them to graciously give to enhance the experience of Wildcat student-athletes and fans is a true testament to their passion and love for K-State.  Click here to read our full release.  We certainly wish Jordy a speedy recovery from his recent injury and look forward to seeing him and his family next weekend for the season opener!  Also, stay tuned in the coming weeks for more news on Phase III-B of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

"Post-Season" Underway for Robert Streb
Check out this clip of Robert Streb chipping in his bunker shot for a birdie in yesterday's opening round of the Barclay's Championship.  As I write this letter Robert has completed his second round and at -4 is tied with five other players in eighth place, just a few strokes behind the leader!  We wish Maggie and him the best of luck tomorrow and Sunday!  Click here to follow him throughout the weekend.

Staff Updates
While we may have the smallest administrative head count in the Big 12 I believe we have the best, most creative, student-athlete centric and efficient senior staffs in the country.  Today I want to recognize three important promotions as Scott Garrett, who has led our fan experience, branding, and ticket operations in addition to many other roles, is now Senior Associate A.D. for External Operations, while Lindsey Babcock has been promoted to Senior Associate A.D. for Compliance.  In addition to overseeing our compliance efforts, Lindsey has been instrumental as we navigate through the cost of attendance waters and has also done a great job as our women’s soccer sport administrator as our coaching staff acclimates itself at K-State.  Finally, Kenny Lannou has been promoted to Associate A.D. for Communications and will continue to lead our departmental communications and media relations efforts.  I appreciate and value each and every one of our 165 staff and coaches, all of whom have played key roles in our vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program.

That will do it for today.  We look forward to seeing 50,000-plus next weekend at Bill Snyder Family Stadium as we inch closer to 27 straight football sellouts!  Thank you for your continued support of Wildcat student-athletes.

Go Cats!

John