Updated: Tuesday, 3:29 p.m.
K-State athletic director John Currie has been hired by the University of Tennessee to the same position, KSU confirmed early Tuesday afternoon.
Currie, 45, graduated with a master’s degree in sports management from Tennessee in 2003. He previously worked in the Vols athletic department as assistant athletic director under former Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton.
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) February 28, 2017
Currie was hired by KSU in 2009, succeeding the late Bob Krause. In April 2016, Currie’s contract was extended through 2022 under the recommendation of former university president Kirk Schulz, who took the same job at Washington State University the month before.
KSU President Richard Myers, who succeeded Schulz, praised the extension at the time.
Laird Veatch, who was promoted to deputy athletic director in June 2015, has been named the acting athletic director for the meantime, according to a press release sent by KSU just after the Tuesday lunch hour.
“Words cannot express how grateful our family is for the time and experience we have had here at K-State and in the Manhattan community,” Currie said in the release. “Tennessee reached out to me earlier this week and encouraged me to visit with Chancellor Davenport about the position. It was evident early in our discussion that she has a tremendous vision for the university, and I am excited to be a part of her leadership team.
“From when I arrived at K-State back in 2009, I have experienced some of the most enjoyable moments in my life, filled with some of the most genuine and caring people I have ever met. As I have said so many times, the collective group of head coaches we have here rival those of any in all of college athletics. Our primary goal has been to provide a world-class student-athlete experience, and I know we have made tremendous progress in this arena. And of course, our fans continue to support the Wildcats in record numbers, and I know that will continue.”
Myers also issued a statement.
“I want to thank John for his tremendous leadership and efforts on behalf of our student-athletes and university,” Myers said in the release. “It has been impressive to see the growth of our athletics department with the goal of building a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program. I look forward to working with acting athletic director Laird Veatch and the staff as we continue to strengthen what is already a very strong relationship between intercollegiate athletics and the university community.”
— Brian Stultz (@brianjstultz) February 28, 2017
“It’s a very exciting time for my family and me as we return to a place that remains very special to us,” Currie said in a statement tweeted by Brian Stultz, the lead SEC writer for CampusInsiders.com. “We spent 10 years in Knoxville prior to taking the job at K-State, and I appreciate Chancellor Davenport and the University of Tennessee for providing us this special opportunity. As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I know how much UT athletics means to the people in the state, and I look forward to serving all of the Big Orange Nation, it’s wonderful coaches, staff and student-athletes, for many years to come. We are excited to return to Rocky Top.”
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy added Currie’s first day at Tennessee is April 1.
Currie has been credited with the K-State athletic department’s successful fundraising accomplishments through private donors, totaling well over $210 million, according to KSU.
Those completed projects included the new Vanier Football Complex, West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Ice Family Basketball Center, Intercollegiate Rowing Center and Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. KSU also added women’s soccer and facilities for that program during the Currie era.
His time in Manhattan also included the contentious exit of popular K-State men’s basketball coach Frank Martin, who left for South Carolina in 2012. Currie’s replacement, Bruce Weber, led the Wildcats to a share of the Big 12 championship in his first year, but KSU saw an early exit in the NCAA Tournament that season to LaSalle. K-State was one-and-done in the tournament the following year and have failed to make the field the last two years.
The Wildcats’ hopes to break that drought took a blow Saturday in Norman, where K-State (17-12, 6-10) lost to last-place Oklahoma by 30 points.
“He did unbelievable things for Kansas State,” Weber told media during Tuesday’s practice. “In my time here, what he has built has been spectacular. I don’t know if anybody else in the country has done anything like this. He’ll be greatly missed, but he felt it was his time to make a move and try another challenge.”
K-State has two games left before the conference tournament, with a trip to TCU next on the schedule for Weber’s team Wednesday night before it closes the regular season Saturday in Bramlage Coliseum against Texas Tech.
Weber said his focus is there, not who his next boss may be.
“All I’m worried about right now is our team,” he said.
But Weber did have good things to say about Veatch.
“He’s always been great for me to work with,” Weber said. “You can’t get a more loyal K-Stater and you got a person who is just a good quality man, a good family guy. It’s a guy you’re proud to call a friend.”
Currie’s other notable hire, women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie, has led the No. 24 Wildcats to a 21-9 record with one game left in the regular season. Mittie, now in his third year, took KSU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and the second round of the WNIT in his first.
K-State football coach and College Football Hall of Fame member Bill Snyder turns 78 in October and announced he was undergoing treatment for throat cancer in February. Snyder told the media then his prognosis is “excellent” and is expected to be on the sideline for this month’s spring practices
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Source: KMAN Local News