A Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 9, 2016

Good Afternoon K-State Nation!

This past weekend featured some big wins for K-State - certainly the nation's attention was dialed in on Coach Weber and our men’s basketball team’s huge 80-69 win over No. 1 Oklahoma at a jam-packed and intense Bramlage Coliseum!  I thought the atmosphere was absolutely terrific, and I commend our students and fans for making it one of the toughest arenas in the Big 12 for opponents while doing so in a first-class manner.  It was great to see the Wildcats take over the SportsCenter highlight packages for the evening and the following morning, and Wesley Iwundu did a great job live Sunday morning on ESPN (click here to watch).  Did you know that the last three times a No. 1 team has come to Bramlage, the Cats are 3-0 in those games?

Friday night featured a dramatic win over old Big 8 foe Colorado in women's tennis as Coach Danielle Steinberg led her young squad back from a 3-0 deficit as the Wildcat netters responded with four straight wins to take the match, 4-3.

As big as these two athletics wins were, Kansas State University scored an even more important big picture victory as the Carnegie Foundation announced last week that K-State has been elevated to “R1” or “Tier 1” status in its classification of institutions.  Being a "Tier 1" University is not just a validation of the tremendous momentum toward President Schulz’s K-State 2025 goal of being ranked among the Top 50 public research institutions.  Academic rank and reputation of the University are also a critical component in athletics alignment, and we salute fellow conference members West Virginia and Texas Tech who also made the promotion list!  You can click here to read more about the honor and classification system which was also featured in last week’s Washington Post.
Let’s get on with some additional updates.

Back to Bramlage Tonight, Tomorrow Night and Saturday for Key Big 12 Battles
Bring the Doom tonight as Coach Mittie and our women’s team host No. 19 Oklahoma at 7 p.m. (FCS and K-StateHD.TV) and then a big Saturday night Sunflower Showdown against the Jayhawks (ESPN3 and K-StateHD.TV).

Wednesday night let’s keep the momentum rolling as Coach Weber's Cats seek their fourth straight home win with No. 19 Baylor visiting Bramlage (7:15 p.m. tip) - with six teams in the Top 25 and K-State moving into the RPI Top 40, the Big 12 has proven it is the best basketball league in America.

The Best Fans in America Showcase K-State Class
Like our parents always said, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and after the Ole Miss win last Saturday, I received the following email from an Ole Miss fan living in Kansas who experienced K-State for the first time:

“I would like to tell you how impressed I was with the crowd and atmosphere at Saturday's basketball game against Ole Miss. I am a life-long Ole Miss fan and was fortunate to be able to bring my son with me to go to his first "Ole Miss game." The second we walked in we were welcomed with: "Welcome to K-State", "Enjoy Manhattan", "Good luck", "Enjoy the game" among many other positive welcomings. Of course there was some good-natured ribbing and the occasional joke of asking my son if he would prefer to wear purple so he could fit in, but not once was there any negative comments or slurs made towards us or the Ole Miss team by the students, fans and alumni. It was a wonderful experience and I know that I will come back for another game with the impact the people had on me and I know the impact was felt by my son. Thank you and your K-State family.”

It is uniquely K-State that the same fans that make the Octagon of Doom one of the loudest and most intimidating atmospheres in all of college basketball also create a respectful environment each and every week!

Connectivity/Fan Experience Video
While we are on the topic of the Best Fan Experience in the Big 12, our staff joined forces with Boingo -- our in-stadium Wi-Fi provider – to release a brief video showcasing the improvements made this season at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Click here to watch the video, and stay tuned as similar improvements continue to make their way into Bramlage Coliseum as early as this month!

Want to be Included on 2016 Football Poster? Send Us Your Photos
Our staff is always looking for ways to include more “K-State family” photos, and now you have the opportunity to be included on the 2016 football poster by submitting photos of your “family” from various decades or generations of attending Wildcat football games.  Photo submissions can be made through the Woobox campaign on the K-State Sports Facebook page or by Tweeting a photo using #KStateFamily.  Photos submitted on Twitter will only be accepted from accounts not marked as private.  Fans are encouraged to share photos from various decades/generations of K-State Football, and only photos submitted before Friday, March 25, will be considered for the poster.  Printed versions of the 2016 poster will be made available beginning on April 23 at the spring game.

Colbert Hills’ Matt Gourlay Finalist for National Award
Congratulations to Colbert Hills Golf Course Superintendent Matt Gourlay as he was recently named a finalist by his peers for the 2015 Superintendent of the Year award presented nationally by TurfNet.  Colbert Hills has been in the best shape in its history in the last year, and that is a result of the hard work of Matt and his entire staff.  Congrats again, and click here for more information on Colbert Hills – the No. 1 public golf course in Kansas.

Clarence Scott to be Inducted into Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame
Congratulations to K-State Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor inductee Clarence Scott as he will be enshrined later this week into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.  Clarence has talked so much about his time at K-State and what his experience meant for not only the development of his athletic career but also his life in general. Click here for more info on Friday night’s ceremony and induction class which is an impressive group with the likes of Chipper Jones and Kevin Willis included.

Busy Week Ahead
In addition to the basketball games already mentioned, I would like to wish all of our other programs the best of luck this week beginning with Coach Steinberg’s tennis team tomorrow at Missouri.  Track and field will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas, this weekend, while women’s golf is in Tallahassee, Florida.  Be sure and follow all of the action at k-statesports.com or via any of our official social media accounts.

That will do it for today.  Thank you for all that you do for our student-athletes, and we will see you at Bramlage Coliseum for some exciting Wildcat hoops action!

Go Cats!

John