NLC Weekend Provides Donors with Look into K-State Athletics

With senior associate athletics director of development Chad Weiberg as the panel's moderator, K-State athletics director John Currie, Texas Tech athletics director and former K-State football player Kirby Hocutt and former University of Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds answered every question thrown their way by the group of donors. 
From questions about the current state of intercollegiate athletics to questions about the new College Football Playoff, the donors had the opportunity to dive deep into the world of college athletics.
"This event never ceases to amaze me because of the level of intelligence of the questions from our contributors, and the degree to which they truly care about the student-athletes and Kansas State University," said Currie after the panel. "They write checks but they also come to the university. They're present because they care about the student-athletes, they care about the coaches and they truly care about our university."
With each question, Hocutt, Dodds and Currie each took their turn answering through their unique experiences as athletics directors.
Dodds, a Riley, Kansas, native who was a prep football, basketball and track standout at K-State from 1955-59, sat between Hocutt and Currie on the panel. His knowledge of intercollegiate athletics dates back more than five decades. He began his career as the Wildcat track and field head coach in 1963 and served that position for 14 years before taking over as the K-State athletics director from 1978-81.
When the question arose and a donor asked Dodds about how he continued as a key player in intercollegiate athletics for so many years, Dodds smiled and said he couldn't have done it without K-State.
"I want to thank you all for helping me grow up," said Dodds to the group. "I know Kirby would say the same thing. I can't tell you how proud I am of what is happening at Kansas State right now. This man right here (pointed to John Currie), he's a class act, he's smart and he's good for the university. What's happening here is amazing, and I saw it, and a lot of you in the room saw it when it wasn't what it is today. So a lot of hard work has gone into this and you're in a good place right now."
Hocutt, a linebacker for the K-State football team from 1991-95, joined Texas Tech as its athletics director in 2011. Prior to his move to Texas Tech, Hocutt spent three years at the University of Miami. 
"It's always a lot of fun to come back; it brings back great memories," said Hocutt of his alma mater. "It was five years of my life where I met so many dear friends and had so many great experiences, the friendships and relationships that come from that are very special to me. To have the opportunity to speak to the Ahearn Fund members today is also very special because to attend a college with a football scholarship wouldn't have been possible without their generosity. As a former student-athlete, to have the chance to thank them for their continued support and generosity to intercollegiate athletics and higher education was great. It is something that I believe in and I appreciate their continued generosity."
While the panel was a highlight, the NLC weekend provided the donors with a plethora of insight into the K-State Athletics department. They each had the opportunity to learn and see first-hand exactly what their money is going toward.
"Our goal with NLC weekend is to bring our largest annual investors face to face with our athletic department leaders in a conference-like setting to update them on how and where their money is being spent," said the Ahearn Fund's senior director of development, Alex Kringen.
The NLC weekend began last Friday morning with Currie presenting an Executive Briefing that includes information on annual expenses and annual reviews. Following Currie's briefing, the donors heard from K-State's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and then had the opportunity to learn about new areas of improvement in the department. With guest speakers including Ian Connole, the director of sport psychology and Scott Trausch, K-State Athletics' first full-time nutritionist, donors saw the full impact of their generous donations at work.
"What we see on the field or on the court, there's more to it with what goes on behind the lines. No one ever gets to see that, so I think this is a terrific weekend to highlight people like the sport psychologist and the nutritionist," said Ahearn Fund member Barry Robinson. "We got to hear how we are providing these students with lessons in life. It's not all about sports, it's about lessons in life that will help them in their field of play but also add to their contribution that they can make to society and it adds richness to their life. That's incredible."
Passionate about K-State and its athletics department, nearly 125 bronze level and above donors were in attendance throughout the NLC weekend. 
"It's extremely inspiring that our lead contributors are so invested in the whole process of intercollegiate athletics," said Currie. "That they would take a full day, not for a ballgame or a party, but to learn how the program works, that's obviously a testament that they care about where the dollars that they give go. It's also a great accountability step for us to be showing return on their charitable investment in K-State and K-State student-athletes."
For more information on the Ahearn Fund, you can visit its website by clicking here.
Dodds Honored by K-State Athletics
K-State Athletics announced on Oct. 3, that it will honor former Wildcat standout student-athlete, coach and athletics director DeLoss Dodds by holding an annual track and field meet named in his honor, the DeLoss Dodds Track and Field Invitational. The inaugural invitational will take place Jan. 23-24, and will be the fourth of five total home meets for the Wildcats during the 2014-15 indoor season.
To continue reading about the DeLoss Dodds Track and Field Invitational, click here

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