K-State athletic director John Currie wins AD of the Year award

Parker Robb | Collegian K-State athletic director John Currie was recognized as the nation's best at his job with the Bobby Dodd AD award.

It was announced on Wednesday that John Currie, the K-State athletic director, won the 2013 Bobby Dodd AD of the Year Award.

“We are very pleased to be able to recognize John Currie as the winner of the 2013 award,” said Jim Terry, Chairman of the Dodd Foundation, in a K-State Sports press release. “John’s vision and drive have made it possible for all sports at Kansas State to reach new heights of success and excellence.”

The honor was presented to Currie at the annual Division 1A Athletics Director meetings in Dallas.

Currie’s award comes following a year that saw the three major sports programs reach new heights. Football, men’s basketball and baseball all won Big 12 titles. Football ended up going to the Fiesta Bowl, men’s basketball earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while baseball hosted and won an NCAA regional.

K-State was just the fourth BCS school since 1998 to have all three major sports win conference titles.

“It is a huge accomplishment,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby at K-State Media Days on Aug. 5. “In the case of basketball, it had been decades since the last championship. I think baseball is the same way. To do it with three major sports in the same year is an extraordinary accomplishment and one to be celebrated.”

In addition to the three major sports programs on campus enjoying a great deal of success, the Wildcats also saw high jumper Erik Kynard Jr., who won the silver medal for high jump at the 2012 London Olympics, grab his third straight Big 12 Outdoor Championship. He also finished second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Not only has Currie been at the helm during great success on the field, he’s also turned the athletic department into one of the most financially successful off the field.

Currently, according to the K-State Sports press release, over $125 million in facility upgrades have either been completed or are underway since Currie took over. That includes the Basketball Training Facility and West Stadium Center projects.

Currie has been able to accomplish this by increasing donor gifts to the Ahearn Fund on not just a local, but a national level as well.

“We’ve increased our annual giving significantly, and annual giving would be gifts to the Ahearn Fund,” Currie said. “Our national leadership circle has been a big part of our success. We now have 399 people that give more than $10,000 a year to K-State Athletics. Those people come from 19 different states.”

Under Currie’s direction, the athletic department has eliminated direct funding from the state of Kansas and only receives $500,000 from the university in the form of student privilege fees, which is used to pay student employees of the athletic department.

“Our state elected officials appreciate the model which we operate,” Currie said. “Which is one of fiscal responsibility. We don’t spend more than we generate. We run a balanced budget. We’ve had a budget surplus four years in a row. And that’s an expectation. That’s not a goal. We’ll have it balanced and have a surplus again in the 2014 fiscal year.”

Students at K-State have also taken notice of the atmosphere that has been instilled under Currie.

“He’s been really great to work with and he’s student-focused,” said Kyle Nuss, senior in a
rchitectural engineering and the speaker of the Student Senate for the Student Governing Association. “His leadership has brought a lot of donations to the athletic department and he’s really done wonders with the budget. It’s fun as a student to be here while our athletic teams are doing well. I hope we can keep him here as long as possible.”

K-State football head coach Bill Snyder also won the 2012 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, given by the same organization that honored Currie.

“We feel strongly that when a head football coach is recognized as a national coach of the year, that school’s director of athletics is responsible for putting into place the many processes necessary for that coach to have succeeded,” Terry said in a press release. “John Currie has definitely done this at Kansas State University.”

This award is Currie’s second AD of the Year honor in 2013, as he was named a 2013 FBS Under Armour AD of the Year Award in the summer.