A Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 16, 2016

Good Morning K-State Nation,

Welcome to Game Day(s) on a historic weekend for the K-State Wildcats!  The action starts this morning with our 25th-ranked volleyball team, off to an 8-2 start and riding a six-match win streak, hitting first serve at 10 a.m. against UMKC in Fayetteville, Arkansas – you can tune in live at k-statesports.com.  Last weekend was a fun one in Ahearn with the Cats notching Coach Fritz’s 300th career win as head coach and our program’s 800th overall – becoming just the third Big 12 program to reach that mark – winning the Wildcat Classic with victories over SEC foe Mississippi State, the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes and Loyola.  Our next home match is 7 p.m. on September 21 as Big 12 Conference play opens with Iowa State visiting Ahearn – I hope to see you there!

As I type this note, outside my window our operations staff is setting up the companion chairs in some of our new ADA seating in the north end zone and the video boards are on as our veteran production crew of Norm Burge, Andy Liebsch and many others fine tune for our 28th consecutive Bill Snyder Family Stadium sellout crowd - thank you K-State Fans!!!  Our 8th annual and FSN nationally televised “Family Reunion” game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. CT tomorrow as we welcome Florida Atlantic from Conference USA to America’s #1 College Town.  For the 25th year our Hall of Fame Coach Bill Snyder will lead the Wildcats onto Wagner Field – and I can’t wait!  Please read carefully below for details of our new clear bag policy and other game day reminders.

But first, we make history tonight as…

Capacity Crowd Expected Tonight for First Ever K-State Soccer Home Opener

K-State hosts Northern Iowa in our inaugural home soccer match tonight in front of an expected overflow crowd at the K-State Soccer Complex.  Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the ceremonial first kick before the 7 p.m. match.  Free parking is available in the west lot of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.  Gates open at 6 p.m., while members of the Founders Club with their official club scarf will be admitted at 5 p.m. for an exclusive pre-match tailgate.  A limited number of advance standing room only tickets are available by contacting the K-State Athletics ticket office at (800) 221-CATS or by visiting www.kstatesports.com/tickets.  Walk-up SRO tickets will be available at the soccer ticket booth starting at 4:45pm.  Friday night’s game will be broadcast nationally on FOX College Sports Atlantic and K-StateHD.TV, and a live audio broadcast will also be available on 101.5 KROCK in Manhattan and for free at www.kstatesports.com.

And then more history tomorrow with…

Phase 3B Ribbon-Cutting
Fans are welcome to attend a special ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the $15 million Phase 3B of the Vanier Family Football Complex prior to Saturday’s game.  When stadium gates open at 11:30 a.m., fans are invited to meet at the northeast corner of the concourse for a brief ceremony.  Once the ribbon has been cut, fans will be able to walk the new full, 360-degree concourse for the first time.  The festivities will include University President General Richard Myers, SGA President Jessica Van Ranken, Director of Bands Dr. Frank Tracz.  A pep band representing the Pride of Wildcat Land Marching Band will be the first to enter the new section of the stadium which includes the Showcase Stage for the marching band.  We are excited to not only showcase our new concourse and video board but also hear our band’s first rendition of the No. 1 Pregame Tradition in the Big 12 – the Wabash Cannonball – for the first time from their new section!  Thanks to the loyalty and generosity of the entire K-State Nation, both Phase III (the $70 million Vanier Complex – 2015) and Phase IIIB have been fully privately funded with zero tax, university or student-fee dollars, and no long term debt, all in keeping to our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Meanwhile, even bigger news this week was…

K-State Makes Biggest Climb in Latest US News and World Report Rankings
Coming right after last spring’s announcement of Kansas State University being bumped up into the Carnegie Tier 1 research university classification, more progress toward K-State 2025 goals was evident this week when US News and World Report released its latest “Best Colleges” list.  Kansas State University climbed 11 spots (which tied for the highest jump nationally from the previous year) overall among all public and private universities.  And we checked in at No. 64 nationally on the public institution list!  As we continue to push toward the University’s K-State 2025 goal of ranking among America’s top 50 public research universities, the commitment and dedication of all Wildcat faculty, staff and students, the university and Manhattan communities, our 450-plus student-athletes, coaches and staff and the hundreds of thousands of loyal K-Staters world-wide has already had a positive influence and impact on the national reputation of Kansas State University and the Manhattan community.  Click here to view the full rankings.

Clear Bag Policy Reminder
To provide a safer environment and significantly expedite guest entry into our venues, we would like to remind our fans, as announced last February, of our new clear bag policy for all ticketed K-State events.  Clear plastic or vinyl bags and one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar) will be permitted.  Small clutch bags, no larger than 4.5 x 6.5 inches, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the venue with one of the clear plastic bags.  Prohibited items include purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, non-approved seat cushions and chair-backs, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.  Fans can visit the Gameday page on k-statesports.com or click here for more detailed images and information.  All season ticket holders received a free clear bag in the mail last month and official bags will be available for purchase at the K-State Super Store location on both sides of the stadium.

Other Stadium Notes
Text-Assist: Fans needing any type of assistance are always encouraged to find stadium staff.  In addition, we offer a text-assist service by which fans can report an incident or request help by texting CATFAN followed by their seat location and issue to the number 69050.  The message goes directly to a K-State stadium dispatcher, who then communicates with stadium staff in the area to resolve the issue.

Tailgate Terraces: The south side of the West Stadium Center’s Goss Family Terrace will open two hours prior to kickoff at the same time as all stadium gates.  A Tailgate Terrace ticket is required for entrance.

Instant Replay Update: A new feature this season around the league will include fans being able to watch on the stadium video boards the same views and footage that the Big 12 replay officials are seeing during an official review.  We think this will not only enhance the overall fan experience during a game but also provide a better understanding of what the officials are looking at and how they came to the decisions that are made.

Bramlage Access: Both the northwest and northeast doors of Bramlage Coliseum are open for fans seeking a passage to and from the east or west parking lots, while the Bramlage concourse restrooms and concession stands are also available for your convenience.  Willie’s Fun Zone will also be set up for kids from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Traffic/Parking
Fans traveling westbound on I-70 should be aware of bridge repair work at the east Manhattan exit (Exit 313) reducing the interstate to one lane approaching the exit.  Otherwise, traffic in and around Manhattan should be normal for gameday with no major construction projects in progress.  Parking lots open at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, five hours prior to kickoff.  Parking in the east and west lots of the stadium is reserved for members of the Ahearn Fund and requires a pass for entry.  Paid parking for fans with disabilities is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the east and west stadium lots.  To gain entry, guests must display a state-issued accessible license plate or hangtag and present a disability card along with a form of personal identification.  All other general public parking is limited to grass parking in Lot 9 east of the stadium, in the paved lot of the Peters Recreation Center or in private satellite lots and parking areas on campus.  Parking will be available in the grassy area of the KSU Foundation lot at the corner of Kimball and Denison Avenues.  Additional public parking is available near the Equine Center north and east of the fire station on Denison Avenue and north of the sheep grazing lot on Denison.  General public parking fees are $20 for cars.

Ticket Update
Only 50 or so adjoining seats in addition to scattered single and standing-room-only tickets are available for both the FAU and Missouri State games, as we are expecting our 28th-straight sellout at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday.  Tickets can be purchased through the K-State Athletic Ticket office online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum.

Ahearn Fund
A full slate of Ahearn Fund Appreciation Week activities will culminate Saturday as more than 6,000 Ahearn Fund members are expected to attend the annual steak fry located on football practice field south of the Brandeberry Indoor Complex. Service for the ticketed event begins at 9 a.m., and concludes promptly at 12:30 p.m. All week long student-athletes from different K-State teams have been competing to win cool and exclusive K-State experiences - click here to view some really cool videos released on social media accounts this week.

Powercat Logo Draws National Attention
Check out this recent story by Athlon - we all know how timeless and classy our beloved Powercat logo is and how it was a part of Coach Snyder’s transformation of our football program. Athlon Sports recently released its Top 25 logos in college football and the Powercat checked in at No. 6!  You can click here for the full story.

Fans Enjoy Wildcat Kickoff Music Festival
Those who attended last weekend’s concert headlined by the Zac Brown Band at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, including my family and me, experienced a big-time music experience on a perfect night in our incredible stadium.  I appreciate all of our staff that worked so hard to help put the event together and commend them for taking the time and committing to making it a first-class event.  I have been asked the question several times: “John, will you do something like this again?”  And my answer is that, yes, we would love to, but it has to make sense for K-State and work out logistically when taking into account all of our various schedules, events and activities.  I thought it brought thousands of people into our stadium who maybe had not been there before and was a great way to provide value to our community on a weekend that normally involves a Wildcat football game.

Time to tune in to volleyball!  Thanks for all you do for K-State, and we’ll see you tonight at the soccer match and tomorrow at Bill Snyder Family Stadium!

Go Cats!

John