A Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 24, 2017

Good Evening K-State Nation!

Before our men’s basketball team tips off at 8 p.m., CT, tonight in Ames on ESPNU in the first of three road games in the next 12 days, I want give a big shout out to the K-State faithful for bringing the #Doom this past Saturday in sold-out Bramlage Coliseum as the Cats beat 7th-ranked West Virginia, 79-75. The student crowd was incredible -- large and loud -- and as I watch television games across the country in two-thirds empty arenas, we are again reminded of how special the K-State Nation is in support of all our student-athletes.

As we approach the end of January, each of our basketball teams have 15 wins on the season even though life in the Big 12 Conference is never an easy task! Coach Mittie’s team – currently fourth in the Big 12 standings – hosts No. 2 Baylor at Bramlage on Wednesday night before welcoming Oklahoma State at 3 p.m., Saturday, and we look forward to great crowds for both games. Wednesday night is National Girls and Women in Sports Night, and all youth can receive free admission to the game. Meanwhile, Coach Weber and our third-place men’s team faces Iowa State at 8 p.m., in another boisterous venue, Hilton Coliseum, before stepping out of league play with a trip to Tennessee on Saturday at 1 p.m., CT, in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. As Coach Weber said in his postgame radio interview on Saturday, we will all be rooting for our #GoBig12 brethren this weekend against the SEC as we look to maintain our No. 1 RPI rating as a conference.

It was also great to see former men’s basketball player and graduate Luis Colon back in town for the West Virginia game. Luis was impressed to see the Ice Basketball Center and our newly renovated Bramlage locker room, and I was so glad for the standing ovation he received from our crowd. Our coaches do such a great job stressing the importance of not only graduating but also maintaining relationships and always having an open door (office or gym!) for our alumni athletes. Did you know that every senior men’s basketball player since the 2012-13 season has earned his degree from K-State?! And, did you know that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams recorded 3.0 team GPA’s in the fall?

One last comment regarding basketball. At Saturday’s game against WVU, a local elementary school teacher made a point in the parking lot to tell me how impressed and appreciative she was for one of our players visiting her class and spending time with her students just the previous day. I appreciate all Wildcat student-athletes from our 16 teams who invest their time back into the community that provides so much love and support for K-State!

Baseball Season Approaching/Cats Step into the Big Leagues with Kauffman Game April 25
We have several other teams ramping up competition or preparing for the start of their seasons. Coach Steinberg’s tennis squad picked up two 7-0 home wins last Saturday, while the K-State tracksters won their respective dual meets at Saturday’s DeLoss Dodds Invitational. Meanwhile, Coach Hill and the baseball team will soon take the diamond for their season opener (February 17 in Florida), while we hope you make plans to be in Tointon Stadium for our 33 home games in addition to a special matchup on April 25 in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium against Arkansas.

New Legislation Passed at NCAA Convention
Last week, Executive Associate AD Jill Shields, Senior Associate AD for Compliance Lindsey Babcock and Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Be Stoney and I were in Nashville for the NCAA Convention where new legislation regarding student-athlete welfare and time management was passed. Most notably, the Flex 21 enhancements were approved to improve the student-athlete experience ensuring more available time to engage in non-athletic activities on campus. Our goal of providing a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience at K-State includes providing the resources for all of our student-athletes to have success in college but more importantly in life. By supporting these further enhancements, we are helping our student-athletes not only compete for championships and participate in the sport that they love but also providing them more dedicated time to pursue other endeavors to enhance their well-rounded experience here in America’s No. 1 College Town. I know how hard our students work to achieve excellence in both academics and athletics, and Flex 21 further enhances their ability in this regard. We are fortunate at K-State to have Lindsey, Jill and Dr. Stoney as nationally-recognized and engaged leaders in continuing to ensure the special opportunities afforded student-athletes are protected.

Second Olympic Sports Panel to be Held February 2
The second installment of the Olympic Sports Panel, sponsored by K-State’s Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS) Department, will be held on Thursday, February 2, at the KSU Union, RM 227. The panel starts at 5:30 p.m. and will feature K-State’s Cliff and Karol Rovelto along with former Wildcat track and field greats and Olympians Alyx Treasure, Jeffrey Julmis and Nathan Leeper. The series will culminate with the GWSS Annual Lecture featuring keynote speaker Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was named the “Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century” by Sports Illustrated. She will deliver a lecture entitled “Dare to Dream” at K-State on March 16, 2017.

Finally, you may have seen a video promo at last weekend’s West Virginia game regarding the future of our ever-popular Catbacker Tour. We take great pride in our summer tour and know how important it is for all of our local clubs and fans – stay tuned in the coming weeks for some exciting enhancements and news regarding our tour!

I hope you have a great rest of the week, and thank you for supporting our student-athletes. We will see you tomorrow night at Bramlage!

Go Cats!

John