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K-State Today

April 20, 2012

Letter from Athletics Director John Currie

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

John Currie

Good morning, K-State Nation!

While our student-athletes begin preparing for next month’s final exams, we will have some exciting events in the weeks ahead with the 2012 Big 12 Track and Field Championships at R.V. Christian Track Complex as well as the completion of our baseball, tennis, golf and rowing seasons. And behind the scenes, we continue to make terrific progress in the planning stages of the West Stadium Center project – the groundbreaking ceremony is only one week away!

For those of you on campus, you may have run into Coach Weber earlier today as he and a few members of our staff spent the morning touring the campus and meeting numerous students, faculty and administrators. I continue to be impressed with how well Coach Weber has transitioned into his role here and couldn’t be more excited to have him lead our program.

As you can see, there has been a lot going on so let’s get right to some additional updates from around the department.

Finch honored at Equestrian National Championships

Our equestrian team competed in the 2012 NCEA National Championships last weekend in Waco and came home with national distinction. Leading our sixth-ranked hunt seat squad was junior Meredith Finch, who was named Most Outstanding Player for her performance in Equitation on the Flat after an undefeated weekend against her opponents. Congrats to Meredith on her national recognition and the rest of our equestrian squad on a terrific season.

Secretary Vilsack makes stop on campus

Last week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was on campus to deliver the latest Landon Lecture at McCain Auditorium. He also made an appearance at Bill Snyder Family Stadium to meet Coach Snyder and to inspect our state-of-the-art playing surface. The field, which is made partially from soybeans, has been highlighted by the United Soybean Board and the Biobased Products Coalition since it was installed last summer and was even a subject in one of President Obama’s recent directives on bio-based products. Click here for more information.

Powercat Auction and Golf Tournament approaching

With the 2012 Purple/White spring game just a little more than a week away, that also means we are closing in on our annual Powercat Auction and Golf Tournament, both of which will be April 27. The Powercat Auction remains our department’s single largest fundraising event and supports the Ahearn Fund, our National Fund for Student-Athlete Excellence. Last year’s event raised more than $275,000 to directly enhance the student-athlete experience for all Wildcat student-athletes, and all of our Powercat Members ($300 donation level and above) will be a part of this year’s event. Click here for full details and registration information for both the golf tournament at Colbert Hills and the auction.

Student athletics passes selling quickly

While we still have a month left in the spring semester, excitement is already building towards the 2012-13 athletics season as evidenced by our student ticket sales. So far, we are approximately 1,500 tickets ahead of sales at this time last year, so we encourage students to act now to reserve their seats – which are among the best student locations for football and basketball in the country – through their iSIS account. Any questions regarding student tickets can be directed to Adam Prough in our fan experience and sales office at 785-532-6650 or aprough@kstatesports.com. Let’s fill Bill Snyder Family Stadium with 8,000 strong!

2013 non-conference football schedule set

In other football news, we have finalized the non-conference portion of our 2013 schedule with all three games slated to be played at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. In addition to our five-game home conference slate in 2013, we will face 2011 FCS national champion North Dakota State, the University of Louisiana out of the Sun Belt Conference and finally UMass, which is now an FBS program playing in the Mid-American Conference. Coach Snyder and I continue to work together on scheduling as we strive to provide our fans with no fewer than six or seven home games a year, and 2013 will afford us a unique opportunity to have eight total home games as we open the new West Stadium Center.

Help bring ESPN College GameDay to Manhattan!

For the first time ever, ESPN will film a College GameDay football commercial on a university campus, and as you always do, Wildcat Nation again has the opportunity to show that we have among the most passionate fans in the country. Beginning Monday, fans of more than 120 schools can vote for the chance to have ESPN College GameDay visit its college town for filming. Just visit any of these sites - www.GameDayVote.com, m.GameDayVote.com on mobile devices or facebook.com/collegegameday – to cast your vote. Voting will begin at 11 a.m. CT on Monday and end at 11 p.m. CT on May 2. Fans are allowed one vote per day. The school whose fans tally the most votes wins, so visit one of these sites each day, and let’s again show our Wildcat Pride as we get ready for the 2012 football season!

Academic honors continue to roll in

Our student-athletes continue to have tremendous success in the classroom in addition to leading their teams on the playing field. Just this week, Victor Ojeleye of the men’s basketball team was named one of the Top 10 male finalists for the prestigious Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award. Victor was elected by his peers this past year to serve as Vice-Chair of the Big 12’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) while he also earned the inaugural Dr. Gerald Lage Award from the Big 12 in 2010-11, which is given to student-athletes who have earned 100 or more hours of credit with a cumulative 3.8 GPA. He is on track to graduate next month with a double major in accounting and finance. In addition, four members of the women’s golf team (Gianna Misenhelter, Paige Osterloo, Whitney Pyle and Hanna Roos) and two from the men's squad (Chase Chamberlin and Curtis Yonke) were the latest Wildcat additions to the Academic All-Big 12 teams. Congrats to all of these student-athletes for their commitment in the classroom!

Joni Smoller elected to NACMA board

As I have said many times, our athletics staff here at K-State is terrific and well respected across the country. Joni Smoller, our director of fan experience and sales, has been instrumental providing our fans the best fan experience in the Big 12, and she recently was recognized by her peers by being named to the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators, or NACMA, board for the 2012-13 year. She joins numerous other staff members who hold elected positions in their national organizations, and I am proud of her hard work.

Another busy spring week

It was great to see a big crowd at Tointon Stadium last Friday night as many of our servicemen and women and their families from Fort Riley attended Military Appreciation Night at the ballpark. The Cats battled a red-hot Baylor team in three exciting close ballgames before sweeping Northern Colorado in a midweek series. Coach Bietau and the tennis squad defeated No. 45 Missouri on the road Sunday, while our track teams sent split squads to Wichita and El Paso for weekend competition. And, if you haven’t already, click here to read Mark Janssen’s latest Sports Extra story on track and field student-athlete Devin Dick – a must-read! Our women’s golf team was led by Whitney Pyle this weekend in a rain-shortened tournament in Indiana with a seventh-place finish, while Coach Knight’s squad went on to finish fourth out of 15 teams. Finally, I would like to congratulate Coach Norris and our men’s golf team for their tournament win last week at the Cowboy Classic in Arizona. Ben Juffer set a 54-hole school record with a 205 to take the individual title.

That’s it for today. Good luck to all of our teams competing this weekend – track and field, rowing and baseball are all on the road. We hope to see you at tennis at 1 p.m. Saturday as we battle KU and of course at all of the events surrounding the spring football game next weekend. As always, we appreciate your continued support of our student-athletes.

Go Cats!