Prior to Thursday’s Alumni Association Pep Rally at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas, the Collegian caught up with K-State Athletics Director John Currie for an exclusive interview to discuss this year’s bowl festivities, accomplishments and Friday’s game itself.
Collegian: You’ve experienced several pep rallies since arriving at K-State. Where does this year’s measure up so far?
John Currie: I’m so lucky and blessed — my whole family is — this is our fifth K-State bowl pep rally. Out of all the things we do, this is may be the coolest thing because there just aren’t any schools in the country that have this kind of intensity and this kind of passion the day before the game. To me this event defines K-State more than anything else. This defines Coach Snyder’s goal No. 3: unity.
Collegian: With Wednesday’s official Valero Alamo Bowl Pep Rally on the River Walk, it was supposed to be for both schools, yet the stands were mostly packed with purple. What does that say about the support?
Currie: I walked around San Antonio all-day yesterday and saw K-State fans streaming into the town. Certainly the bowl pep rally down on the River Walk was no exception. It’s really, really special. We don’t ever take it for granted. We’ve had 20-consecutive sellouts — the most in our history — we don’t take that for granted, just like our teams don’t take opportunities for granted.
Collegian: How has the vibe been around town? How has San Antonio treated you and K-State fans?
Currie: San Antonio has been terrific. Obviously, it’s a very special city. The Valero Alamo Bowl staff themselves have been just awesome, a first-class experience. We’re right in the heart of Big 12 country on a day where the Big 12 has performed well. This is great opportunity for K-State to add to that and finish the year with three Big 12 teams in the top 10.
Collegian: Has there been an evolution to the bowl games, to the pep rallies since you arrived at K-State?
Currie: The best way I can say it is, when I got here they told me about the pep rally and I kind of said, ‘Well, whatever.’ In fact, the second year our staff came back and said they wanted to have the pep rally in Arlington at the baseball stadium, and I’m thinking, ‘Arlington, Texas in the middle of the week, in the middle of the afternoon with all that traffic during a work week, there’s no way. We’ll just have a few people, it’ll be embarrassing.’ Boy I wrong, what an incredible moment that was. Each time I come to these, I’m just more fired up.
Collegian: Have there been any moments that have stuck out this week?
Currie: The way our student-athletes represent themselves is always very special. UCLA represents themselves well as well, but when I sit there at all the press conferences and hear our student-athletes speak and articulate their experience — to hear them talk about how proud they are of K-State and grateful to our contributors and fans who provide them such a special experience — it’s just counter to what you hear around the country, which is more of a culture of entitlement. I’m very appreciative of that.
Collegian: Any message to K-State fans here in San Antonio, in Manhattan and across the country?
Currie: This is just a very special and unique thing that our fans continue to do. It’s one of the top moments I’ve ever experienced, the feeling getting to come to this pep rally.