A Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 15, 2016

Good Evening K-State Nation!

Even though school is not yet back in session this has been a busy week for K-State Athletics both administratively and athletically. On campus, we are in the middle of a much-needed remodeling of our women's volleyball locker room in Ahearn Field House, while over at Bill Snyder Family Stadium the MGEJ crews are making amazing progress on the foundation structure for Phase IIIB of the BSFS master plan, the northeast corner connector. You can click here to see our webcam, and I encourage you to follow me on twitter (@John_Currie) as I love to tweet videos and pictures of the progress.

In Bramlage Coliseum we had two great basketball wins, beginning with a hot-shooting men's win over Texas Tech on Tuesday and continuing with a dramatic come-from-behind win for our women's team over Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

There is no question who has the most competitive basketball conference in the country -- every league win is special, and your presence in Bramlage is just huge for both our teams. Tomorrow we will need boisterous crowds for another Wildcat double-header at the Octagon of Doom beginning at 3 p.m. with the men against No. 17 Iowa State, followed by the women at 7 p.m. against TCU. Click the appropriate link for ticket and game information as well as TV listings for those unable to attend (MBB and WBB).

Sandwiched around two wonderful nights in Bramlage Tuesday and Wednesday I was in Phoenix and San Antonio for NACDA FBS AD meetings and the NCAA Convention, respectively. Thanks to American Airlines daily flights out of MHK it is easy for me to cover the nation, but I have to admit I am a little "meetinged-out" and looking forward to hanging out with Mary Lawrence and the kids for a few days!

The biggest news of the week related to NCAA and the Big 12 was Wednesday's vote by the Division I Council to loosen the regulations on conference football championship games. Our commissioner, Bob Bowlsby, provided big-time leadership to skillfully broker a compromise that will allow a championship game to be played in conferences which have either two divisions OR a full round-robin schedule being played, which is, of course, the case for the Big 12.

Within our league we will continue to assess the pro’s and con's of adding a championship game but this achievement by Commissioner Bowlsby puts us in a position to make that decision without necessarily making any additional adjustments to our current structure. Click here to read Commissioner Bowlsby’s remarks following the announcement.

Of course, when I am at national events I can't go anywhere without a colleague, be it fellow AD, Faculty Athletics Reps, SWA, conference official, or even TV representatives, stopping to tell me how impressed they are by President Schulz's leadership. As chair of the NCAA Board he had to spend a lot more time, and was a lot busier than me, in San Antonio. Be sure to thank him if you see him in Bramlage tomorrow!

Congrats to K-Stater Kirby Hocutt on CFP Chair Appointment
Following a year as a member of the College Football Playoff committee, former Wildcat linebacker and current Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt was recently named the chair of the committee, replacing Arkansas AD Jeff Long. Kirby, a good friend and a terrific AD, will provide great leadership on the committee with his background as a football student-athlete as well as his role in intercollegiate administration. Congrats to Kirby, and we know he will do a terrific job in this role!

Coach Snyder Set to Lead Cats in 2016
Earlier this week we also announced that Coach Snyder has confirmed that he will be on the sidelines as our head coach in 2016. We are all grateful for his incredible leadership, and I was delighted when he affirmed to me that he plans to continue. We look forward to him leading the Wildcats into Palo Alto for our 2016 opener on September 2 – click here for our full announcement. We look forward to Coach’s 25th season at K-State as we continue the momentum of six-straight bowl games and 27 consecutive sellouts at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The 2016 season will also mark the completion of Phase IIIB of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium master plan culminating $180 million in improvements to the stadium. To join the K-State season ticket waiting list, contact the ticket office at 1-800-221-CATS or click here.

Jessica Smith Named to Soccer Staff
We are pleased to welcome Wichita native and former KU assistant Jessica Smith and her family to Manhattan and K-State as Coach Mike Dibbini announced earlier this week the final addition of our inaugural soccer coaching staff. During her five years on the sidelines in Lawrence, she helped guide the program to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2014 and a trip to the Big 12 Conference tournament final in 2015. Click here for our full announcement. With progress continuing on our new soccer competition field and also internally with the development of our current team and the recruitment of additional student-athletes, we are excited for the fall when the Wildcats take the field for the first time in program history! Stay tuned for scheduling announcements, and in the meantime, you can join the K-State Soccer Founders Club, which currently has more than 940 members from 37 different states, by contacting the K-State Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 221-CATS or by clicking here.

Numerous Olympians to Headline DeLoss Dodds Invitational

Some of the best athletes in the world will be in Manhattan for next weekend’s DeLoss Dodds Invitational at Ahearn Field House with as many as 11 athletes competing having already or will compete in the Olympic Games for their respective countries. Of course, our own NCAA Champion and Olympic hopeful Akela Jones has her sights on a new indoor collegiate record in the pentathlon which will take place on Friday. And former Wildcat and Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard will also participate in Saturday’s high jump. Stay tuned in the coming days for more on this event, including special promotional materials as well as several K-State Sports Extra features!

Before I close today, I hope you had a chance to read this recent K-State Sports Extra on women’s basketball student-athlete Erica Young – just another tremendous example of the type of student-athletes that we have at K-State and the impact they are making in not only the Manhattan community but also all around the country. Well done, Erica!

We will see you this weekend for a Wildcat basketball double-header!

Go Cats!

John