K-State began its new term under athletic director John Currie Monday. After a three-month national search, Currie was introduced as the 15th athletic director at a May 18 press conference.
Currie, who was most recently the executive associate athletic director for the University of Tennessee, graduated in 1993 from Wake Forest University. He also earned his masters degree in sports management from Tennessee in 2003. Currie worked in various capacities for the Tennessee athletic department. In the past decade, Currie created sales strategies that led to single-game attendance records during football season and served as president of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) development officers group. Currie was also named one of the “Top 40 Leaders Under 40” by the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel.
The Collegian had the opportunity to ask Currie some questions about his new job.
Q: How familiar are you with things here currently?
A: There appear to be really, really good coaches across the board, good people and good coaches. You know in our network or industry, administrators talk to each other. We’re competitive but we want to win and we want to beat each other. But we know that there is a greater thing beyond just our own schools [the Big 12] in terms of intercollegiate athletics and student-athlete welfare. We have a pretty collegial type relationship. When you’ve been around a while and built relationships with people from many different schools, you kind of get a sense of what people are about.
Q: Do you have any big goals in mind for the fall?
A: My primary goal right now is just getting to know people, internal and external. That’s why I wanted to come over here and have lunch with [the Collegian reporters], we could have had lunch over at our place but, I wanted to make a point. This is my first day and I am in a place where I can visually see as many students at one time as I can otherwise. When we talk about recruiting I want to be able to say if I’m helping a coach, I want to be able to say to a parent that I’ve been in the food court and you can get this, this and this, not reading it from a brochure. I’m going to go meet with the faculty senate tomorrow and speak to them and go to these CatBacker events tonight in Great Bend [Kan.], and then tomorrow night to Hutchinson [Kan.], and then miss a couple and go to Marysville [Kan.].
Q: What was your first impression of Manhattan?
A: Terrific – it was really positive. I grew up in what was a small town, Chapel Hill, [N.C.] We had five or six elementary schools and two junior high schools and one high school – you know, kind of like it is here. I was driving in last night and you know everything is right there, it is easy to live. In this community, and one of the advantages that Kansas State has, is that this is a university community. Now, there’s a responsibility that the university and athletics program have in place because you get a lot from that. We have a real responsibility to be an active participant and leader in the community, but that’s a huge advantage for a university, I think, and for an athletics department.
Q: What do you think of the campus?
A: It’s really, really pretty. I mean, I know it is not like this all year-round because whenever it is cold or whatever. But, I mean everything is so green, and one of the neat things that kind of gives credit to the leadership here for years and years is keeping the same building type, the limestone. When I was here last time we came on a Sunday evening and I like to run. I got up in the morning before each of my days and walked, just walked around campus. Like Tuesday morning, I got up early, walked around and found the library. It’s a beautiful building. I went in the all-night study area there, such a nice building.