Letter from AD John Currie, June 23

Good Morning K-State Nation,

Hopefully all the dads out there had a great Father's Day and were treated as well Sunday as I was by Mary Lawrence and the kids!

Today's letter includes the first of a two-part series reflecting on the fiscal, academic and athletics year that concludes next Tuesday, June 30. Since we have packed so much good stuff into the last 12 months we can't fit it into one letter!

From postseason appearances and national athletic and academic achievements in the fall to an individual national championship and world-class results in the spring - and everywhere in between - there were many championship performances in 2014-15 that will long be remembered by the K-State Nation.

Let's start with the end as our final student-athletes competing this spring truly did so at a championship level, led by junior Akela Jones who earlier this month captured the NCAA Heptathlon title in a dominating performance in Eugene and separately scored points with a fourth-place finish in the women's high jump, where she was just a couple spots behind teammate and sophomore Kim Williamson who leaped to a second-place finish! Akela and Kim, along with Dani Winters (fourth place in the shot put) led K-State to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for its highest team finish since 2002.

Not only did Akela win a national title, she also was named the National Field Athlete of the Year, Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year, both indoors and outdoors, as well as the Big 12 Women's Athlete of the Year during the indoor season. A total of eight individual Big 12 track and field titles were won by both the women's and men's teams, while the women finished second in the team standings both indoors and outdoors. Congrats to Coach Rovelto and the rest of our program on a remarkable season.

Of course the story started in the fall as Coach Snyder led our football team to "another" nine-win season and "another" bowl appearance, our fifth straight, with wins at OU (our second in a row) and a shutout home victory over the Longhorns being two memorable moments. Coach Snyder became just the fourth active coach to ever be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation, while Tyler Lockett was also honored by the NFF as a National Scholar Athlete while also garnering Consensus All-America status following a record-setting senior season. Note the quotation marks around "another" in the sentence above - a reminder to never take success for granted or forget how hard it is to win in the Big 12 and the highest level of college football!

The volleyball team made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in the last four years following a 22-9 campaign behind Big 12 Freshman of the Year Kylee Zumach and fellow All-Big 12 honorees Katie Brand and Natali Jones. Laura Galvin of the women's cross country team also advanced to the NCAA Championships in the fall while Madison Talley (WG) and Matt Green (MG) advanced to NCAA golf regionals.

We can't list them all, but here is a quick hitter of some additional K-State accomplishments in 2014-2015:

  • A combined 514 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll selections (96 with a perfect 4.0 GPA!).
  • A total of 82 student-athletes earned their degrees.
  • Big 12-leading APR scores in five sports (FB, MGolf, VB and M/W Cross Country).
  • 22 All-American, 35 All-Big 12 and 125 Academic All-Big 12 selections.
  • Current sellout streak of 20 consecutive games at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
  • Women's basketball improved record by eight wins from 2013-14 and earned a WNIT bid in Coach Jeff Mittie's first season.
  • Recorded second straight and third victory at home over KU in the last five years in men's basketball, among five wins over top 25 RPI teams.
  • Casie Maxwell named Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading equestrian team to a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championships.
  • Third-place finish at the Big 12 Rowing Championships.
  • Overall 8-5 record against the Jayhawks in head-to-head competition.
  • Momentum-building win over Iowa State in the Big 12 Tennis Championships for first-year head coach Danielle Steinberg.
  • Big series wins over KU, Big 12 Champion and College World Series qualifier TCU, Super Regional participant Missouri State and Baylor as Coach Hill's young baseball team improved to sixth in the conference.
  • Launched women's soccer program, hiring Mike Dibbini as head coach.

In my next letter I will review our 2014-2015 financial results and unveil our 2015-2016 fiscal year budget. Later this summer we will also publish our Annual Report, which will take an in-depth look at the 2014-15 season and provide a breakdown of our achievements based on our five core goals. And these achievements would not be possible without the passion, dedication and support of our student-athletes from our Ahearn Fund members, ticket holders and fans everywhere - thank you!

Football/Basketball Tickets Selling Fast!
Earlier today we announced another terrific first-day sales mark as all remaining football single-game tickets went on sale Monday. After selling more than 3,560 tickets yesterday, only a small number remain for yet another season sellout and extending our consecutive sellout streak to 27 games!Also, strong ticket sales have not been limited to only football as we recently announced record first-day season ticket sales for both men's and women's basketball - including a 39 percent increase from last year for the men and a 413 percent increase in women's sales compared to last year's first-day marks.

Colbert Hills Golf Course Looking Great
Early Saturday morning, accompanied by our new Associate AD for Development Andrew Hamor, I played my first 18 holes of the year at Colbert Hills, the home of K-State Golf, in the beautiful Grand Mere neighborhood. Thanks to the very hard work of Superintendent Matt Gourlay (with a special thank you to Mother Nature for all the rain) I believe the course is in the best shape ever. We are very fortunate to have such a fantastic facility for our golf teams and University and MHK community to use - remember that Colbert Hills is a public course open seven days a week and you can make golf or dining reservations at www.colberthills.com or by calling (785) 776-6475.

K-State Athletics Staff Update
Finally, I am pleased to share news regarding promotions for three senior members of our athletics department leadership team as we continue toward our vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. First, Laird Veatch has been promoted to Deputy Athletics Director for K-State Athletics. Laird will continue to drive our strategic growth and capital projects while also working closely with our external unit leaders now to include the Ahearn Fund. Jill Shields has been named Executive Associate Athletics Director, further reflecting the outstanding job she does leading our student-athlete enhancement areas and her role as our Senior Women's Administrator. She also serves as primary administrator for the sports of women's basketball, volleyball and our track and field/cross country programs. And, now entering his third year as our Chief of Staff and primary administrator for football, rowing and tennis, Clint Dowdle has been promoted to Associate Athletics Director and will continue to provide critical leadership across the department and on various special projects.

Although we have among the smallest head count of overall staff and coaching personnel in the Big 12, or in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten or Pac-12 for that matter, I believe we have the 165 hardest working, most creative, intelligent, efficient and student-athlete centric and institutionally aligned people in all of college athletics here at K-State! I am so lucky to be able to come to work with and for the K-State Family every day.

That's it for today. Stay cool and....

Go Cats!