K-State’s John Currie named Athletic Director of the Year

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COURTESY: K-State Sports Information

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Following a year that saw K-Sate reach unprecedented athletic, academic, administrative and fundraising success, John Currie was named an FBS Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced today.

The honor, one of only four given to FBS athletic directors across the country, was revealed in this week’s edition of SportsBusiness Journal in conjunction with NACDA’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Currie will accept the award during a Saturday luncheon at the convention.

“John’s outstanding leadership the past four years has resulted in the recognition of K-State having a model intercollegiate athletics program,” said K-State President Kirk Schulz. “The combination of tremendous athletic, academic and administrative achievements, as well as national acclaim for our university, is extraordinary. This is a special honor, and I am so proud of John and his team for bringing pride to all members of the Wildcat family.”

Since Currie’s introduction as director of athletics on May 18, 2009, K-State’s intercollegiate program has experienced a tremendous turnaround and enjoyed accomplishments and national attention that are unmatched in program history, including a record-setting 2012-13 academic year.

This past year K-State achieved a milestone that only four other BCS schools have obtained since 1998 when the Wildcat football, men’s basketball and baseball teams won conference championships in the same season. K-State also became the first Big 12 school to have league coach of the year honorees in football, men’s basketball and baseball in the same year as Bill Snyder, Bruce Weber and Brad Hill took top coaching honors.

“Thanks to our terrific fans, the best collective group of head coaches in the country, over 450 dedicated student-athletes and a determined and hard-working staff, we have made tremendous progress towards our vision of a model intercollegiate athletics program,” Currie said. “It is humbling to receive an award such as this, and I am pleased to accept this honor on behalf of our team, fans and university community.”

A BCS bowl berth in football and second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in volleyball highlighted the fall season. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams advanced to the postseason with Weber leading the men’s team to the most wins ever by a first-year head coach in school history and the program’s first league title in 36 years.

Five track and field athletes were crowned Big 12 champions in the spring and Hill’s baseball squad – picked seventh out of nine teams in the Big 12 preseason poll – won the program’s first conference championship in 80 years. The Wildcats made even more history by hosting their first NCAA baseball regional and winning on their home field to advance to their first Super Regional.

K-State has also had another outstanding academic year in 2012-13 with  73 current or former student-athletes earning degrees, while a total of 236 earned Big 12 Commissioner’s honor roll accolades this spring, the most since 2008.

In addition, a total of 95 Wildcat student-athletes earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition in all sports during the 2012-13 athletic season, while senior women’s basketball player Brittany Chambers, junior outfielder Jared King and Petra Niedermayerova from women’s tennis all earned the inaugural Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year award in their respective sports.

With the friendly slogan of “Welcome to K-State” symbolizing the goal of providing The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12, K-State’s marketing and fundraising efforts have been completely overhauled in Currie’s tenure.  Responding to a new emphasis on personal interaction and communication, K-State supporters have pushed attendance to new heights, while  the Ahearn Fund’s fiscal year 2012’s record of $25.8 million means that annual cash giving totals have doubled since Currie’s arrival.

Thanks to the grass-roots support of the 9,000-plus members of the Ahearn Fund, more than $125 million of facility enhancements are also currently underway, including the new West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The transformational project will provide new amenities for all Wildcat fans including improved ADA access, 200 percent more general restroom and concession facilities as well as new revenue-generating premium seating capacity. A key element of the facility will be a long-desired dining hall to serve the nutritional needs of all K-State teams.

Other notable facility enhancements completed under Currie are the new $18 million award-winning Basketball Training Facility, a new outdoor tennis complex, indoor rowing facility as well as incremental upgrades that have benefitted each of K-State’s 16 athletics programs.

Currently a member of the NCAA Division I Administrative Cabinet and the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors, Currie was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s 2011 prestigious Forty Under 40 list of national sports leaders and currently serves the Big 12 as a member of the Game Management/Officiating Subcommittee as well as the Championship and Awards committee.

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