Q&A with Athletics Director John Currie
Q&A with Athletics Director John Currie
Q: Is there anything in particular that stands out for you as a highlight so far?
A: I honestly cannot identify one specific highlight because there have already been so many. Learning that Kansas State has the No. 1 graduation rate in the Big 12 among all student-athletes for the third straight year certainly ranks at or near the top; having 50,000 K-Staters back for our family reunion and Coach Snyder's return to the sidelines was truly an exciting moment. Wins over our rival also stand out and regaining the Governor's Cup in football and our women's basketball win over the Jayhawks this past weekend have also been memorable. I enjoyed being in the magic of Ahearn Field House and watching our volleyball team compete and improve throughout the year, and I was excited to receive the text message that Beverly Ramos had placed in the NCAA Cross Country Championship meet. And with the spring semester getting underway, I am looking forward to many more exciting moments in K-State Athletics!
Q: Can you give us any update on the Ron Prince lawsuit?
A: Well, first let me thank our fans for being patient during this process and for understanding that the legal process just seems to always take a long time. When I arrived here in June the case was already in process, and we continue to aggressively pursue a resolution that will favor K-State. We recently won an important victory when the case was remanded back to state court (the opposition had requested a move to federal court). Earlier this week our attorneys filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which basically argues that the case should end and K-State should win. I understand that these kinds of motions can take several months to resolve, and hopefully, this one will be resolved in our favor. No matter what happens, we'll continue to work for an appropriate resolution to the case.
Q: How exciting is it that the men's basketball team is ranked in the Top 15 and the conference basketball games are nearing a complete sellout?
A: Our basketball team has been exciting to watch this season and Coach Martin has the squad playing with tremendous passion and energy. Our fan support has also been incredible as we currently have sold out all home conference games with the exception of the Nebraska contest on February 17. Approximately 200 tickets remain so be sure to contact our ticket office at (785) 532-7606 or click here to purchase tickets for the Nebraska game.
Q: What does having ESPN's College GameDay in Manhattan mean for K-State?
A: K-State fans have such a great reputation already with ESPN and the national broadcasters so it is another opportunity for us to showcase our university and community and the support that our programs enjoy. It's also special because it is an opportunity for fans that do not have tickets to the game to be a part of the day's activities on campus. The event is free and fans can arrive at Bramlage as early as 8 a.m. for the 10 a.m. show. The personalities, Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis, have a very interesting show and our fans will enjoy the behind-the-scenes aspect. I really appreciate our fans making plans to be there and we could send a strong message nationally by setting a new attendance record.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the Powercat Exchange ticket service that is available at k-statesports.com?
A: One of our primary goals is to assure that all seats inside Bramlage Coliseum are filled for every game with K-State fans. The nice thing about Powercat Exchange is that season ticket holders who can't make all of the games can make sure their seats get used. They can transfer them to their friends and they can also distribute them to other K-state fans and fans who want to buy a ticket can do so there as well. It's important for our fans to remember to be careful when buying tickets from third parties. The authenticity of tickets is only guaranteed if they are purchased directly through our ticket office or through Powercat Exchange.
Q: Are there any specific promotions/plans for any upcoming basketball games?
A: Next Monday will be a special night when we host Texas on ESPN's Big Monday. We will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the rich history of diversity at K-State in conjunction with the many events taking place on campus during MLK Observance Week. The department has worked very hard with Myra Gordon and the Multicultural Affairs Office on campus to utilize this platform of a nationally televised broadcast to showcase the very significant events that have happened at Kansas State in regards to cultural diversity. The women's contest against Oklahoma on February 21 will also serve as the 6th annual Pink Zone game in honor of breast cancer awareness. The team will wear pink uniforms, several of which will be auctioned off online following the game, and free pink shirts will be given out to the first 4,000 fans in attendance. We look forward to seeing you in Bramlage for these events.
Q: Baseball season is right around the corner. Are you excited for your first games at Tointon Stadium?
A: Our baseball program is coming off the best season in school history and I look forward to taking in many games at Tointon Stadium. Like all of our coaches, Coach Hill has been terrific to work with. He is clearly a long-term fit for Kansas State and we are very excited that so many players from last season's historic team will be back for a special ceremony before the Texas basketball game. Coach Hill and A.J. Morris will also be honored at during the Texas game for their coach of the year and pitcher of the year awards from last season.
Q: What do you anticipate for football ticket prices/options in 2010?
A: We are very close to rolling out our ticket/marketing plan for the 2010 football season. We will not be increasing our season ticket prices for 2010. I think it is important to continue to be accessible to our fans and recognize that we are in a tough economy. At the same time we are going to offer a menu of choices and we really need our fans, both near and far, to make Saturday's at Bill Snyder Family Stadium a priority. It's another way our fans actively impact the ability of our athletics program to be successful. We will have all of our options publicized later this winter, offer season ticket renewals and offer people the opportunity to plan on numerous special promotions. We will have six exciting home games in 2010, beginning with UCLA on September 4, plus the game with Iowa State at Arrowhead. All five FBS opponents on the home schedule played in bowl games this past season and combined for a 47-20 record in 2009, so make plans now to be at Bill Snyder Family Stadium next fall.
Q: What, if anything, concerns you the most currently about intercollegiate athletics at the Division I level?
A: Certainly finance is always going to be a challenge and we are always going to have to make decisions and value-based judgments about the best place in which to invest our dollars. I am very pleased with the response of our fans and donors so far - we have people already renewing their Ahearn Fund gifts for 2010. At the same time, there are so many things at Kansas State that are advantages that I know we can overcome some of the financial limitations that we are going to have from time to time. Manhattan is a tremendous place to live, this is a university community which is very supportive of our coaches and student-athletes, we have unbelievably passionate fans that support our programs and a highly-regarded national university. We do not have to always spend the most to win because, but we do need to make prudent investments to ensure we have staff continuity and continue to reward performance appropriately.
Q: Talk about how your administrative staff is coming together?
A: I was very impressed and pleased with how our staff came together over the summer and really took it up a notch in terms of creativity and finding new ways to serve our fans and student-athletes. Certainly we have attracted a number of new staff members here to K-State to fill vacant positions in several key areas. Laird Veatch, someone with national prestige and is nationally-known for his ability, chose to be at K-State. Reid Sigmon went from running the Super Bowl to working here at K-State and turned down other options because he saw how special K-State is. Missy Heidrick has done a terrific job in her new role in the Kansas City area, and Jamie Vaughn brought great perspective to Kansas State from his experience in compliance at Texas Tech and Ohio State. Stacy Martin, our new athletics business manager, has most recently been in a senior role at San Jose State. These individuals bring great perspective to K-State and most importantly, the fact that we have attracted nationally desirable candidates is a testament to what a special place this is.