A Letter from A.D. John Currie - September 23, 2015

Good evening K-State Nation!

I am writing today’s update from 36,000 feet above ground aboard American Airlines flight 3559 as I return home to MHK after several days of Big 12 and Division IA AD meetings in the DFW area.  As always it was great to visit with my colleagues from around the country and the conference, but I am ready to be at home with my family!  By the time you receive this message our first Big 12 volleyball match of the year will be underway as Suzie Fritz and the Cats are just down the road in Lawrence.  First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, and you can listen on www.kstatesports.com or KMAN and watch on ESPN3 or Cox Channel Kansas.  And, during this upcoming open football weekend please plan to join me Saturday night at 7 p.m. for our home conference opener vs. Baylor in historic Ahearn Field House.  It is our annual pack the house promotion and all tickets are just $1, so bring the family and the neighbors!

As you may have read, our Division 1A Athletics Director's Association meeting in Dallas Monday and Tuesday was highlighted by the introduction of former US congressman and Maryland and NBA basketball standout Tom McMillen as the organization's new executive director.  Our agenda also included thought provoking discussion led by current association chair and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, comments from NCAA President Mark Emmert and an excellent review of the potential implications on college athletics (and the potential eligibility risks to NCAA student-athletes) of the sudden proliferation of daily fantasy games (such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings) by NCAA executive VP (and former West Virginia AD) Oliver Luck.  There is always some good "lobby" action as ADs (including me as you will read below) network on future scheduling, among other things.

Following the conclusion of the D-1A meeting Tuesday morning the Big 12 ADs transitioned to a league "joint council" meeting which includes our Faculty Athletic Representatives and Senior Women's Administrators.  I feel very fortunate to team with our FAR, Dr. Be Stoney, professor in the K-State College of Education and our SWA, Executive Associate Athletics Director Jill Shields, at these meetings.  Be and Jill carry extra credibility amongst their peers and the ADs in advocating for our student-athletes as they are both former Division I student-athletes and coaches - in addition to being highly accomplished in their professional roles.

The Big 12 is off to a good start in all sports already this year, and our league's credibility in football is bolstered thanks to Texas Tech's win this past weekend at Arkansas of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Oklahoma's week two victory at Tennessee (also of the SEC) and TCU's season-opening win at Big Ten conference foe Minnesota.  Four of our 10 schools are ranked in the top 25 polls, with three more (including K-State) receiving votes. During our meeting this morning Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt, himself a former K-State linebacker, talked of the emphasis his fellow College Football Playoff committee members will continue to place on strength of schedule.  It is a collective responsibility for our league members to include games in our non-conference schedule against teams from other peer conferences.  In the past several years K-State has done just that, with two games against UCLA, two with the Miami (FL) Hurricanes and of course last year's home game with Auburn.  Our next five years include home and home series with Vanderbilt and Mississippi State of the SEC, and we will continue to look for appropriate opportunities that make sense for our program while continuing to strive for at least six and preferably seven home games in Bill Snyder Family Stadium each year.  

Speaking of schedules, we are closing in on finalizing our 2016 football schedule.  As I have written earlier this summer, we continue to work to find our final non-conference game, which has been a real chore - I'm glad our 2017 non-conference slate is already complete!

As we look back on this past football weekend, highlighted by our 22nd consecutive sellout and an exciting and important triple-overtime win, I'd like to once more salute the Pride of Wildcat Land and congratulate Dr. Frank Tracz and his staff on the halftime presentation of the Sudler Trophy, recognizing the best collegiate marching band program in the country.  It was awesome to have over 1,200 secondary school band students participating in Saturday's performance as well as seeing the spirit of our alumni band members.

Congratulations are of course in order to Coach Snyder as Saturday's win was the 190th of his illustrious career and to senior kicker Jack Cantele, whose clutch 4-for-4 field goal kicking performance earned him recognition as Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week and a national Lou Groza Award Star of the Week honor.  Let’s also give a shout-out to our long snapper Dalton Converse, holder Collin Sexton and the entire team for persevering in a tough game against a very good Louisiana Tech team that will likely compete for the Conference USA championship.

Here are a few more updates from K-State country!

Robert Streb Advances to Final FedEx Cup Playoff Tournament

Former Wildcat golfer Robert Streb continues his outstanding year on the PGA Tour as his nine-under par finish (t-23rd) at last week’s BMW Championships and his current sixth-place standing in total FedEx Cup points have qualified him for this week’s TOUR Championship in Atlanta, Ga.  Best of luck to Robert this weekend as he looks to put a final exclamation point on the season!  You can follow this weekend’s action beginning Thursday by clicking here.

Golf, Track and Tennis in Action
Even though the 3-0 Wildcat football team is off this week, we have a busy few days of competition. Women’s golfer Madison Talley fired a final-round 66 to finish third individually in Norman earlier this week, while women’s tennis will play in the OU Invite Thursday through Saturday, men’s golf will be in Iowa, Friday through Sunday, and both cross country teams run in Stillwater on Saturday.  Be sure and follow all of the action, including tonight’s volleyball results, at k-statesports.com as well as on Twitter (@kstatesports) and Facebook (K-State Sports).

America’s Top College Town

As you know, one of our five core goals toward our Vision of being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program is to provide Value to the University, Community and State.  Today, I want to thank and commend the Manhattan community, our city commission and all folks involved for their foresight leading to the continued progress being made in advancing our wonderful city.  In addition to K-State being ranked as the No. 2 university in America to work for (click here for that story), Manhattan was named the “Best College Town in America” by Livability.com, and people across the nation are taking notice of what the Flint Hills have to offer.  The brand new Manhattan Regional Airport terminal certainly has played a key role in enhancing our city's reputation and accessibility and will soon receive yet another facelift as phase two of MHK's expansion will see the new building increase in size with new rental car counters, a new baggage claim system, an area reserved for a food vendor and a gift shop.  You can click here for more information on our airport and American Airlines jet service including our five daily round-trip flights to DFW and Chicago.

Thank you for all that you do for our student-athletes, and we will see you Saturday night at Ahearn Field House for Pack the House and exciting Big 12 Conference volleyball action.

Go Cats!

John