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

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

Even though most K-State students are away from campus on spring break this week, we have lots of significant items to cover today, and the best way to start is with our goal of Championship Athletic Performances being realized this past weekend thanks to two NCAA Championships won by Akela Jones and Dani Winters in the national indoor track and field meet! Behind Akela’s high jump and Dani’s shot put titles, in addition to several other fine performances, our women’s team went on to finish eighth in the final NCAA team standings. Congratulations to Coach Rovelto, his staff and all our student-athletes who now move on to the outdoor season and a quest for more Big 12 and NCAA crowns. You can click here to look back at all of the championship action from the weekend.

Big congratulations are also in order for our women’s basketball team, which gathered at Coach Mittie’s home last night to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show. We are excited to have earned a No. 9 seed in this year’s tournament and return to the Big Dance for the first time since 2012. I am proud of how our team competed this year, and I know they are looking forward to heading to Columbia, SC, for their first-round matchup on Friday against George Washington. Click here for more information on our NCAA selection and ticket information. I look forward to seeing lots of purple in Columbia Friday afternoon!

Now a few more updates from around the department.

BSFS Up for SBJ’s National Sports Facility of the Year Award
Nominees for the prestigious Sports Business Awards were announced Monday, and we are thrilled that Bill Snyder Family Stadium, after a transformation of $180 million of enhancements since 2011, is one of five facilities nationwide and just two from intercollegiate athletics to be named a finalist for the 2016 Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year Award. Joining us as finalists are Kyle Field (Texas A&M), Daytona International Speedway, Avaya Stadium (San Jose Earthquakes) and PETCO Park (San Diego Padres). The winner of the award, in addition to the publication’s 16 other annual awards/categories, will be announced May 18 at the 2016 Sports Business Awards dinner at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square. To have our facility be honored as a national finalist with these other tremendous entities is flattering and a testament to the world-wide support of our donors and commitment to Kansas State University's long-term ability to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. Thank you!

Men's Basketball Season Comes to a Close with 17-16 Record
Despite a number of great moments this men's basketball season, it was obviously disappointing for our players, coaches and fans to see our year come to a conclusion following the announcement of the NIT field on Sunday night. After discussions with Coach Weber, our staff and with several tournament organizers, we opted to not participate in any of the other postseason tournaments as we really felt that it was not in the best interest of our program or student-athletes. I am grateful to our student-athletes for great effort and persistence this season and excited about the improvements I have witnessed within the core of our program. I'm also looking forward to seeing our talented group of returning players back in Bramlage next fall. After a short break for our student-athletes to recover physically, preparations for 2016-17 will ensue, which includes training for our international trip to Switzerland and Italy in August. We appreciate the leadership that seniors Justin Edwards, Stephen Hurt and Brian Rohleder provided this year and are even more proud that all three are on track to earn K-State degrees this May.

Seven Student-Athletes Receive Lage Academic Achievement Award
Seven Wildcat student-athletes were recently honored with the Dr. Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award, which is the Big 12 Conference’s highest academic honor. Congrats to Courtney Faucett (Sr.; rowing; industrial engineering), Cameron Morgan (Jr.; football; finance), Scotland Preston (Sr.; golf; public relations and economics), Rachel Proteau, (Sr.; track & field; biochemistry), Matt Seiwert (So.; football; agribusiness), Kelly Thomson, (R-Jr.; women’s basketball; nutritional sciences) and Dani Winters (Sr.; track & field; communication studies) on this honor. In order to be eligible for the accolade, student-athletes must have lettered at least once in their career while maintaining residence at their institution for at least one academic year. You can read our full release here.

Home Baseball Highlights Busy Spring Break
The wonderful early spring weather has helped boost tremendous crowds so far at Tointon Family Stadium as Coach Hill’s Bat Cats are currently 10-5 on the year following last weekend’s series win over Milwaukee and heading into a mid-week series with Stephen F. Austin tonight and Wednesday. The Cats have won eight of their last nine games heading into tonight's 6:30 p.m., matchup with the Lumberjacks. Wednesday’s game begins at 3 p.m. – hope you can enjoy the weather and get out to Tointon for some great baseball. The squad will wrap up its current 12-game homestand this weekend with three games against Western Carolina. There is plenty of other action going on as well with the Wildcat tennis squad hosting Texas on Sunday, while both golf teams will be in Arizona this weekend competing and our rowing team will be at Tulsa on Saturday. Track and field will also kick off the 2016 outdoor season this weekend at the UTSA Invitational in San Antonio, Texas. Be sure and follow k-statesports.com for all of the action.

That’s it for today. Good luck to the Bat Cats tonight at Tointon, and thank you for all that you do in support of our 450-plus student-athletes and 16 teams.

Go Cats!

John