Ahearn Fund Reaches New Record Levels

John Currie

Aug. 21, 2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. – In a year that saw record championship-level performances both on the field and in the classroom, K-State fans, alumni and friends stepped up again in financial support of Wildcat student-athletes by setting a new record for total gifts to the department, Senior Associate Athletics Director Chad Weiberg announced today.

Thanks to grass-roots support of Ahearn Fund members world-wide, a record $25.8 million was contributed to K-State Athletics in 2011-12, reflecting a jump of 45 percent from the previous year’s total of $17.8 million, while the number of K-Staters participating grew by 12 percent to an all-time high of 7,866 members.  In just three years, outright contributions to the department have now doubled compared to fiscal year 2009’s $12.7 million mark.

“We are very fortunate to have such passionate fans from all over the world that are committed to student-athlete excellence here at K-State,” Weiberg said. “Thanks to another terrific year by all 16 of our teams and 440-plus student-athletes and the continued support of every Ahearn Fund member, it is an exciting time to be a K-Stater and we appreciate each and every member for their contribution.”
Gifts to the Ahearn Fund, which start at $50, are designated for scholarships, sports medicine, academic support, modernization of facilities and other services that directly benefit K-State student-athletes while also funding K-State’s margin of excellence through enhancements such as recruiting budgets and coaches salaries. The Ahearn Fund now boasts members from 49 states.

Over the past three years, K-State has seen record capital donations, including 11 gifts in excess of $1 million since Fall 2009. This increased philanthropic support has enabled the department to construct the new $18 million Basketball Training Facility and build momentum towards its new facility strategic goals designed to provide comprehensive improvements for all Wildcat student-athletes and fans.  On April 28, 2012, ground was broken for the West Stadium Center project at Bill Snyder Family Stadium thanks to an ongoing national effort that included a $5 million anonymous gift, the largest in the history of the department. More than $53 million has now been secured towards the $75 million project, which represents Phase II of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan.

"K-State fans have responded to the West Stadium Center project with tremendous generosity," said Senior Associate Athletics Director Laird Veatch, who is leading the project development effort. "From the announcement at the Cotton Bowl pep rally to now the excitement and interest level have been incredible."

This past year K-State was able to make enhancements at each of the department’s facilities to improve the student-athlete experience thanks to the generous support of Ahearn Fund members.  For example, more than $485,000 of improvements were made at R.V. Christian Track Complex and TimberCreek Stables prior to hosting the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field and Equestrian Championships, while a new $950,000 AstroTurf infill playing surface was installed at Tointon Family Stadium last summer, and the interior of historic Ahearn Field House now sports a brand-new coat of purple paint.

"The grass-roots support through the Ahearn Fund and ticket purchases by our fans continues to be our largest source of revenue at K-State and are critical in providing Wildcat student-athletes with a world-class experience,” Director of Athletics John Currie added. “We are grateful for the participation of all Ahearn Fund members and will continue to be careful stewards of the dollars entrusted to K-State Athletics as we do our part to support President Schulz’s K-State 2025 vision.”
For more information on the Ahearn Fund visit www.k-statesports.com or www.AhearnFund.com. For a personal visit with a member of the Ahearn Fund staff, please call (888) 232-9074.
In 2011-12, Kansas State arguably put together one of the best seasons in school history both on the field and in the classroom.

K-State enjoyed enviable across-the-board athletic success including a 10-3 record, a No. 8 final BCS ranking and No. 2 Big 12 finish in football, a NCAA Sweet 16 run by volleyball, NCAA appearances by men's and women's basketball, a Round of 16 appearance in the women’s tennis national singles championships, a national championship and U.S. Olympic team qualification by high jumper Erik Kynard and a total of 14 All-America and 24 All-Big 12 accolades.
K-State also was the lone Big 12 school and one of just four in the nation this year to advance to a bowl game and win games in the NCAA volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball tournaments.
In the classroom, K-State has had another outstanding academic year in 2011-12. Former men’s basketball student-athlete Victor Ojeleye was named the male winner of the 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr., Sports Scholar Award, Ryann Krais was awarded the Elite 89 award for having the highest GPA among all participants at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and Tysyn Hartman was a Campbell Trophy Finalist and NFF National Scholar Athlete in 2011.
In all, the Wildcats placed 92 student-athletes on their respective Academic All-Big 12 teams, while eight student-athletes earned Academic All-America distinction.