Letter from A.D. John Currie - October 21

Homecoming is upon us this week, and I know Manhattan and the K-State campus will be buzzing with thousands of alumni returning to their alma mater. And we will see you Saturday for our 11 a.m., ESPN-televised matchup with the Texas Longhorns as Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be at full capacity for the 18th straight game! Be sure and click here for a full list of Homecoming activities surrounding the game including a pre-game breakfast tailgate in Cat Town.

Here are a few more updates from around the department: MHK Airport/AA Alter Thanksgiving Week Schedule to Accommodate Wildcat Fans We are excited to host the Jayhawks on November 29 for Senior Day as we close out the home portion of the 2014 football schedule. With it being Thanksgiving week, we know there could be some schedule and travel concerns for fans and students in relation to our game. American Airlines and Manhattan Regional Airport recently announced an altered flight schedule that will be more accommodating to Wildcat fans and students. American has announced it has added an extra Chicago flight to and from MHK on Saturday, November 22, and Saturday, November 29, while also announcing a special Friday schedule which features a later morning arrival from DFW. We are very proud and appreciative of our partnership with AA and MHK and grateful for their commitment to K-State and the Manhattan community. And if you haven't already, be sure and check out the progress being made on the airport terminal expansion project which is scheduled to be completed sometime in early 2015! Click here for more information. 22nd-ranked Volleyball Returns to Action Wednesday We arrived back from Norman Saturday night in time to head over to Ahearn for our volleyball match with undefeated and second-ranked Texas. Ahearn Field House made for a terrific atmosphere as Coach Fritz's squad fought hard against the Longhorns. This week's national coaches poll took notice, as well, as the Cats moved up three spots to No. 22 despite Saturday's loss. Be sure and make plans to come out to Ahearn Wednesday as the 17-3, 4-2 Cats return to action against Oklahoma in a battle for second place in the Big 12 standings. Match time is 7 p.m. and can also be seen live on K-StateHD.TV. Also, check out today's K-State Sports Extra Q&A with freshman Kylee Zumach which touches on topics from being a student-athlete at K-State to the family environment on campus. Here is an excerpt from the story as she was asked about the atmosphere at Ahearn Field House: "... it's awesome. The Purple Pit over there, they're so loud. Out of all the Big 12 schools that we've been to, our fan base is by far the best. Just looking up and seeing everyone, it's so awesome. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. I'm just so blessed that I have the opportunity to play somewhere like here." Equestrian Takes No. 2 Ranking into Matchup with OSU The second-ranked K-State Wildcats have climbed to our highest equestrian ranking in school history and has one final home competition this fall versus Oklahoma State on November 8. Although our announcement last week that we will no longer sponsor intercollegiate equestrian after the 2015-16 year was of course very disappointing for our student-athletes, I am proud of the way Coach Maxwell and her team have chosen to focus their energies on preparing for the Oklahoma State match and getting ready to battle for Big 12 and NCEA championships in our last two seasons of competition. If you missed it please click here to read last week's press release about our transition. Women's Tennis Heads to Drake this Weekend Following a semifinal appearance from Sara Castellano at the ITA Central Regional, K-State Tennis is back in action Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Drake Jamboree. Sara had a tremendous run this past weekend at the ITA Central Regionals, and I know Coach Steinberg and the squad are anxious to get back out on the courts. Best of luck to the Wildcat netters this weekend. Women's Golf Looks to Ride Momentum Fresh off an individual and tournament title at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate, the team's second win of the fall, the women's golf team will head to Kiawah Island, S.C., Sunday through Tuesday for the Palmetto Intercollegiate. Freshman Connie Jaffrey was recently rewarded for her performance as she was named the Big 12 Golfer of the Month following a win at the Johnie Imes Invitational. It has been a terrific fall for both golf programs as Coach Robbins and the men have completed fall tournament play, while the women's tournament in South Carolina will wrap up its fall slate. Basketball Teams Hard at Work Basketball season is almost upon us as both squads are gearing up for the start of the season. Coach Mittie and the women's team get things underway at 7 p.m., on November 3, when Emporia State visits Bramlage, while Coach Weber and the men's team open up November 9 against Washburn. That game is scheduled to tip at 2 p.m. Ticket sales for both programs have been steady, and be sure and reserve your seat inside Bramlage this season for two exciting brands of basketball. Click here for more ticket information. You will also be amazed at the improvements that we have made inside Bramlage with the addition of LED lighting, a new sound system and, of course, our new videoboard -- which one of our clever staffers has nicknamed "Catzillatron." Let me tell you, it is going to be awesome! The new board was raised to its permanent height last week, and staff training and testing begins this week.

I also would like to take a moment to reflect on the passing of former Wildcat assistant Wayne McClain. I enjoyed getting to know Wayne and would echo the thoughts of Coach Weber when I say he was one of the most caring and genuine persons I ever met and one who truly cared about our student-athletes. The McClain family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Rowing Wraps Up Fall Competition Meanwhile, K-State Rowing finished the fall in impressive fashion with a solid showing at the Jayhawk Jamboree in Lawrence last week. Highlighting the Wildcats' day on the water were top-three finishes from the Women's Varsity 8 and Novice 8 boats. Next up for Coach Sweeney's charges is lots of training in the IRC and on the water gearing up for the spring schedule! That will do it for today. I hope you have a terrific week, and we will see you tomorrow night at Ahearn for K-State Volleyball and Saturday morning for our Homecoming football game against Texas. Thank you for all that you do in support of Wildcat student-athletes! Go Cats - and Go Royals too!

John Currie