Schulz, Currie Speak on Men's Basketball Post

Athletics Director John Currie spoke to the media today in regards to the head coaching position at Kansas State.

March 27, 2012

University President Dr. Kirk Schulz

Opening statement...
"I want to publically thank coach Frank Martin for the great job that he has done as our men's basketball coach at Kansas State University.  It has been pointed out many times in the last couple of days that coach Martin has elevated our program to high levels of success, he has made us a regular in post-season tournaments, he has impassioned our fan base about Kansas State University basketball, brought national media to our university and his wife Anya (Martin) has been a great leader in our community. Overall, they have been a very positive about K-State and the K-State family.  I certainly wish him well in his new opportunity at the University of South Carolina.  Like many people in the room, I have a lot fond memories of K-State men's basketball in the last several years including everyone rushing the court when we beat Kansas. I appreciate the great job he has done for us.

Secondly, I really want to express my complete and total confidence in John Currie as our athletic director.  John has done a tremendous job at Kansas State University.  We have had terrific success.  We have almost $100 million dollars in new capital construction as we look forward to the West Stadium expansion and our state of the art men's and women's basketball practice and training facility.  When we see all of the stuff out there about John and his role as athletics director, I think that it is important to remember those terrific successes.  Our Ahearn Fund is at an all-time high and our fundraising is at an all-time high. We have enjoyed terrific success on and off the field. I just have complete confidence that John is going to continue to do this well.

One of the things that social media that has been out there over the last three or four days has really focused around John's and the Universities handling of the Jamar Samuels situation.  We handled that in a completely appropriate fashion.  I had several people write to me and say that if I wanted to show support for your coach, you should have played a player that you knew was ineligible.  We are simply not going to do that.  That is not the way Kansas State athletics and the University operates.  While I completely appreciate Coach Martin's passion at that time, if I am head men's coach I would want the best players out there.  At the same time it is up to the President of the University and the Athletics Director working with our coaching staff to be sure that we maintain complete academic integrity.  I think that it was handled really the way that we need to."

"Final thing, John has done a tremendous  job raising morale in our athletics program.  He works effectively with our coaches and has good working relationships with our coaches.  While there are disagreements at times, but he does a great job at moving us forward and insuring that they can be successful.  Many of the things that have been posted out there recently about John not being the advocate that the coaching staff needs, I think is simply not true.

The third and final point I want to make, is that I want to ask the K-State faithful to rally around whoever our new coach is.  This is the way Kansas State has been.  We have this terrific fan base that wants to see us be successful, and I can certainly understand the anger with us losing a very popular coach.  However, if you look at what the new coach is coming into, we have a terrific situation. The $18 million state of the art basketball training facility that will open this summer shows a real commitment to men's basketball.  We can pay a very competitive salary.  We have a passionate and dedicated fan base that has certainly exercised their will to express themselves a lot over the last several days.  That is a great situation to come into.  You have people who care about basketball here.  We have an athletics department that is investing heavily on and off the field in our basketball program.  This is a great situation for a new coach to come into. We also have a set of dedicated coaches that the new coach will get to work with across our athletics program.  They will get the opportunity to work with a legendary football coach (Bill Snyder) who has taken K-State to great heights.  The opportunity to work with a two-time Big 12 champion women's basketball coach (Deb Patterson) and many other professionals that have done a great job and are dedicated to Kansas State University.  We also have an outstanding set of young men who have dedicated countless hours to Kansas State Basketball and that is our basketball team.  We want to make sure that we bring in a coach that is going to work with them to be better as young people, better basketball players and help us win a Big 12 Championship.  Make no mistake, John and I and the rest of our staff here, that is what we want to do.  We want to bring in a coach who will continue our winning tradition and continue to build a great program.  To our fans, now is the time to help John support K-State athletics as we go out and bring in a great person to continue to lead our basketball program."

Athletics Director John Currie

Opening Statement...
"I appreciate all of you being here and I appreciate the efforts of all of our Bramlage arena staff to set all of this up.  I also appreciate our K-StateHD.TV folks who are putting on our online worldwide broadcast.  On Friday afternoon, I received a call from [University of South Carolina athletics director] Eric Hyman informing me that South Carolina had interest in our basketball coach, Frank Martin.  Later Friday night, I received a request from Coach Martin indicating that his representatives have been in touch with South Carolina, and that he wished to speak with South Carolina, and that he would indeed take the position if it was offered to him.

I want to thank Coach Martin for the job he has done leading our program over the last five years. Certainly, the foundation and platform for basketball success at K-State has been elevated as a result of his efforts and his coaching staff.  I appreciate them very, very much.  I look forward to following his success at South Carolina. 

As we now turn our attention to finding the next basketball coach for K-State, and indeed do so knowing that the opportunity that exists here is tremendous, as [Kansas State University] President [Kirk] Schulz described.  We have a passionate and loyal national fan base that cares about winning basketball games.  We have one of the very best student sections in college basketball and our students at Bramlage Coliseum have earned the reputation of being the loudest and one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the country.  We have a solid academic culture within our program; we have a wonderful academic advisor that works daily with our young men by the name of Liane Fowler, who has been a transformational figure in young people's lives.  We have an extremely supportive faculty and staff at Kansas State University who are committed to the success of all students, regardless of their background or academic preparation.  We have a transformational president, Kirk Schultz, who is leading the K-State 2025 plan to elevate K-State into the top ranks of 50 public research universities.  We have a wonderful vibrant city; a wonderful campus town, and under [Kansas State University Vice-President for Student Life and Dean of Students] Dr. [Pat] Bosco's leadership, is the preferred college choice for Kansas high school seniors.  We have a veteran head coaching staff, all of whom have turned town multiple opportunities throughout their careers, because they appreciate the advantages our university offers. Thanks to our donors and fans, we have the resources to enable our next coach to build a consistent, winning and sustainable program.  As the president said in under three years, we have begun or completed $100 million in athletic facility improvements. Right behind us is an $18 million basketball training facility that will open this summer. We have a long-term contract with NIKE, an important partner in the basketball world.  We have a very competitive budget, a full staff.  We have everything a coach needs to win here at Kansas State.  There is an atmosphere of accomplishment throughout the program.  Already this year, we have distinguished ourselves as one of only five schools in the country to play a bowl game, and win a NCAA tournament game in volleyball and men's and women's basketball, and our graduation rate remains consistently the best in the Big 12.

We are committed to success in men's basketball at the highest level, as the core intent of our model intercollegiate athletics program. We will focus our search on candidates whose personal values and integrity reflect those of our university and our citizens of the state of Kansas; candidates who appreciate the unique opportunity that being a part of the basketball heritage that includes great [former] coaches Jack Hartman, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Jack Gardner, Lon Krueger and Frank Martin, and coaches who have the ability to build a sustainable program that K-Staters worldwide can be proud of. 

Last night, I met with members of our men's basketball team.  I am proud of the reactions of those young men, and the resolve they show to stick together and focus on their academic responsibilities this semester.  During our period of transition, I appreciate the support of our entire athletic staff.  Senior Associate Athletic Director Casey Scott, who is the direct men's basketball supervisor, will be in the basketball office everyday to make sure that our student-athletes have what they need during this time.  We are in touch with our recruits, the families of our student athletes, and our working hard to support our players. 

Aside from what I have mentioned, there will be no predetermined parameters in our search.  I will of course be in regular contact with President Schulz throughout the process. This task will have my sole attention until it is completed.  Please understand, and I appreciate the patience of our media throughout the last couple of weeks, that in order to conduct the most thorough search possible, I will not be available for comments or updates until we introduce our new men's basketball coach.  Any reports, other than those originating from Tom Gilbert in our athletics communications office, are simply not correct. 

As we discuss with our young men, transition is a part of life.  I completely understand how much many of our fans appreciate Coach Martin, and I, too, share that appreciation.  However, it is time to focus our energy on the future of the K-state basketball program.  My family has found the Manhattan community to be unbelievably warm and embracing.  Every K-State fan, and the collective passion of the K-State nation, will pay; will play a crucial role in the success of this search, and in the success of our next men's basketball coach.  I appreciate the patience of the Wildcat family and look forward to introducing our next head basketball coach."