Letter from A.D. John Currie - May 21

I couldn't be more proud of all 450 student-athletes plus all of our coaches and staff for the year that we have had - both on the playing field and in the classroom. Did you know that K-State is just the second Big 12 school and fourth major conference program since the BCS era began in 1998 to win league titles in football, men's basketball and baseball during the same academic year? Only Texas (2005-06), Stanford (1999-2000) and Louisville (2012-13) have accomplished the same feat. Click here for a Sports Extra story on the 2012-13 athletics season.   Fifty-six Wildcat student-athletes graduated this past weekend and we awarded many of them with their senior K-State rings during our annual spring graduation reception Friday evening. We then handed out five more rings to baseball seniors prior to Sunday's game and just completed a luncheon today for our rowing team graduates, who were away at competition this past weekend.

At today's luncheon several members of the K-State College of Architecture, Planning and Design were on hand to present the Henry Adams Medal to senior coxswain Samantha McCloud. This very special recognition is awarded to the highest ranking graduate of the College of Architecture, which happens to be K-State's highest nationally-ranked college! We congratulate Samantha and her teammates and also salute the faculty members for taking time to participate in the ceremony. It's another example of the supportive and caring environment provided by K-State's dedicated faculty. Click here for full coverage of graduation weekend!   Here are a few more updates from around the department:   Construction Update The West Stadium Center construction continues to change rapidly on a daily basis as we close in on 100 days before the 2013 season opener! The project continues to run on schedule, and it is exciting to see the progress our construction managers Mortensen/GE Johnson make each day. Click here for the latest photo gallery of the project. Also, if you have driven past Bill Snyder Family Stadium this week, you will notice some work being done on the east side of the stadium. With the new lighting system put in place on the west side, we made the decision to replace the two light poles on the east side with new light standards that will be affixed to the top of the upper-deck structure. The addition of this lighting system will greatly enhance the stadium's appearance while tremendously improving the lighting levels, providing our fans, student-athletes and television viewers with a better viewing and playing experience!   Catbacker Tour Underway Our annual 30-stop Catbacker Tour got underway last week with the "Western Swing" in Dodge City, Garden City, Scott City and Colby. When the tour is over in August, we will have traveled more than 8,500 miles visiting our terrific fans. The tour, a joint partnership between the athletics department and K-State Alumni Association, is one of the most unique and sustained programs of its kind in the country and we appreciate the grass-roots support of our entire fan base. Our passionate fans continue to buy tickets and sell out stadiums and arenas each year, and it is very important for us to go out and connect with them each summer. For information on each of the events or to follow the tour at each stop, visit Ahearn Fund.com   Last week was another extremely busy one - I enjoyed visiting with K-Staters in Houston and the DFW area Monday and Tuesday before making the trip to Scott City on Wednesday for the 50th K-State Fry! It was an honor to join alumni association CEO Amy Button Renz in presenting a special commemorative watch to long-time Scott City volunteer leader Dr. Jerry Doornbos. Tuesday morning in Houston I enjoyed an early visit with 2010 graduate and former Wildcat hoopster Chris Merriewether whose career with Phillips 66 is off to a tremendous start - and that K-State work ethic is burning strong in Chris- the 6:30 a.m. breakfast time was his idea not mine! Later that day I had the special opportunity to share dinner in Irving with our two current members of the PGA tour- Aaron Watkins and Robert Streb along with Robert's wife Maggie, herself a K-State grad. Aaron and Robert both played well later in the week in the Byron Nelson Classic, each missing the cut by just one stroke. It was fascinating to hear more about the day-to-day grind of professional golf and their experiences. Aaron, Robert and Maggie (Aaron's wife Jessica was back in Phoenix with their 20 and 2 month old daughters!) are all passionate K-State fans and follow the 'Cats closely. If you are in the DFW area get out and follow them on the course later this week at the Colonial in Fort Worth. Rowers Close Season Strong The Wildcat rowing team closed their season on Saturday with a fifth-place team finish at the Conference USA Championships in Tennessee. The 1st Varsity 4 won its preliminary heat in the morning racing session to advance to the Grand Final where it the bronze medal, while the 1st Varsity 8 moved to the Grand Final by finishing third in its preliminary heat and sixth in the final. Individually, Allison Dorau earned all-conference honors following the weekend.   Track and Field/Tennis Eye Postseason Runs Both our track and field and rowing programs have begun postseason competition as Coach Rovelto's squads head to Austin for NCAA Regional action before heading to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Championships June 5-8. A strong contingent, including our four Big 12 Champions, will compete next week in Austin for a berth in the NCAA Championships. Meanwhile tennis duo Petra Niedermayerova and Karla Bonacic, following several weeks of preparation on our new outdoor tennis courts, will compete in the NCAA Championships this week in Illinois. Good luck to all of our student-athletes competing!   That will do it for today. Please continue to keep the victims of yesterday's storms in your thoughts and prayers. Have a safe week. Go Cats!

John Currie