John Currie Introduced as Athletics Director

MANHATTAN, Kan. John Currie, Executive Associate Athletics Director at the University of Tennessee, was formally introduced Monday as the 15th Director of Athletics at Kansas State.

The appointment will be effective June 7, said incoming President Kirk Schulz, who announced the selection in a morning news conference in the Legends Room of Bramlage Coliseum following a three-month national search that began in March. Currie received a five-year contract at a base salary of $350,000 per year with incentives to be agreed upon in the first 120 days, according to Schulz.

“We are excited about the future of K-State Athletics under the leadership of John Currie,” Schulz said. “Throughout his career, John has demonstrated tremendous fundraising skills and fiscal management. He is a dynamic communicator with proven experience working with all sports, and his high energy, along with his integrity and character, make him the perfect fit for Kansas State.”

Currie, 38, has served in various capacities at Tennessee over the last decade, most recently as a chief deputy and advisor to Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton.

“Ever since the 2001 Cotton Bowl, when Mary Lawrence and I witnessed the passion of what seemed to be 50,000 K-Staters, we have admired the dedication and loyalty of Wildcat fans and the discipline and toughness of not only Bill Snyder’s football teams but also the entire K-State athletics program,” Currie said. “This opportunity to join Dr. Schulz’s team here at Kansas State is a tremendous honor and we are excited to join the K-State family.”

As a key aide to Hamilton, Currie was responsible for the direct management of units that annually produced $84 million in revenue and gifts, including the department’s fundraising, marketing, ticketing, media relations, public relations, internet and broadcasting offices. Currie also provided oversight for the men’s basketball program and other department initiatives.

Currie’s accomplishments at Tennessee included helping the University secure a $50 million commitment in 2006 for academic and athletic needs, a gift which represented the largest from an individual in Tennessee history. Units under his direction also negotiated an $84 million multi-media rights contract with then-Host Communications, and a $19.3 million all-sport contract with Adidas. Under his leadership, giving to Tennessee athletics doubled from $19.5 million in 2003 to $41.6 million in 2008.

An integral member of the facility planning team for UT's $200 million master plan renovations for Neyland Stadium, Currie led the negotiation and implementation of new student season ticket sales for football in 2008, resulting in $900,000 of new department revenue in its first year. He also implemented new regular-season football sales strategies that helped Tennessee set a new single-game attendance record of 109,061 in 2004.

Currie also oversaw a $36 million arena renovation and basketball practice facility construction project that was completed in the fall of 2007. He developed and implemented the revenue models to fund both projects without outside funding from the state or local government, tax dollars or University-derived support.

Tennessee’s athletic facilities as a whole benefitted from Currie’s efforts as the development office secured individual-naming recognition gifts that included $4 million for a new aquatic center, $2 million for a new softball stadium, $1.5 million for a new soccer stadium and $2 million for baseball renovations. Tennessee’s track complex also was renovated, while ground was broken last summer for a new Greg Norman-designed intercollegiate golf practice complex and clubhouse.

Currie managed the coaching search in March 2005 that resulted in the hiring of Bruce Pearl, who produced a 22-8 record, SEC Eastern Division Championship and a No. 2 NCAA Tournament seed in his first season en route to 2006 National and SEC Coach of the Year honors. Pearl also went on to earn SEC Coach of the Year honors again in 2008 after leading the Vols to the program’s first outright SEC title in 41 years.

Currie oversaw the development and execution of a comprehensive marketing plan to take advantage of the excitement generated upon Pearl’s arrival at Tennessee as attendance at SEC home basketball games improved 54 percent from the previous year, while student attendance increased by 197 percent.

In June of 2007, Currie also helped lead the search for the Vols’ new baseball coach, Todd Raleigh, as well as the 2008 football search which brought Lane Kiffin to Knoxville.

Currie joined the Tennessee staff in 1997 as Executive Director of the Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund (VASF). Following a two-year stint as Assistant Athletics Director at Wake Forest, Currie returned to Knoxville in 2000 as Assistant Athletics Director for Development and served as director for the "STEP UP" campaign. As UT’s first-ever capital campaign, it exceeded its goal and reached a total of $48.6 million, $4 million over the intended goal, with gifts from 870 donors. In 2002, Currie was promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Development.

He served as President of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) development officers group for 2004-05, chaired the 2007 CASE national athletic development conference and was a member of the SEC ticket policy committee. The Knoxville News Sentinel recognized Currie in December 2008 by naming him to its prestigious “Top 40 Leaders Under 40” list.

He began his professional career at Wake Forest in 1993 as a Deacon Club intern before being named Assistant Deacon Club Director in 1994, a position he held until 1997. 

Highlights of Currie’s stints at Wake Forest include developing student and young alumni programs, creating a new endowment and planned giving program, managing the Coaches Circle volunteer program and assisting in the leadership of the Touchdown 2000 football field house and Miller Center basketball practice/academic counseling facility campaigns.

Currie earned his masters in sports management from Tennessee in 2003 and is a 1993 Wake Forest graduate. He and his wife Mary Lawrence, have three children, Jack, Virginia and Mary-Dell.

k-statesports.com