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Kansas State gives AD Currie contract extension

AP - Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas State rewarded athletic director John Currie with a raise and a one-year contract extension on Friday after one of the most successful stretches in school history.

Not only did the Kansas State capture Big 12 championships in football, men's basketball and baseball within the same year in 2012-13, the school also has embarked on $125 million in facility improvements spearheaded by Currie that have revitalized the athletic department.

''I think we're still focused on the same vision we've had,'' Currie told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday. ''We've got great momentum and I'm just extremely excited.''

The contract extension would keep Currie at Kansas State through June 30, 2019. His annual salary will increase by $100,000 to $575,000 for the remainder of the 2013-14 fiscal year through the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, and then increase by $25,000 each remaining year.

Currie is also in line for various retention incentives.

''Our athletics department has achieved unprecedented success the past four years under John's tremendous leadership,'' Kansas State President Kirk Schulz said in a statement. ''John's vision and partnership have been critically important to the entire university family.''

Currie, who arrived in May 2009, inherited an athletic department that had fallen into debt and was racked by scandal. But he's not only helped to lift the program into the black, he's also helped Kansas State embark on an ambitious series of construction projects.

The most recent was a $90 million renovation to Bill Snyder Family Stadium that was unveiled this past season. It included the demolition of the old press box and a new facility stretching from end zone to end zone that includes enhanced club seating and other amenities.

Last year, the school unveiled a new basketball training facility adjacent to Bramlage Coliseum. It also opened a new rowing facility and renovated tennis facilities.

Away from the playing field, Currie helped to guide Kansas State through a tense series of conference realignments. He was also played a major part in launching K-StateHD.TV, a premium digital network that airs programming that ranges from football games to Olympic sports.

The football program, which won the Big 12 title last season, went 7-5 and is headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl this season. The men's basketball team led by coach Bruce Weber - perhaps Currie's most significant hiring - also won the Big 12 title last season, and is 7-3 and has won five straight games this season. The baseball team is also coming off a Big 12 championship.

No doubt one of the biggest decisions that will face Currie in the near future is finding a replacement for Snyder, who turned 74 in October. When Snyder stepped away for a brief retirement, Ron Prince - who was hired by Currie's predecessors - was unable to replicate the success of Snyder, who is so revered in the Flint Hills that the highway leading to town is named for him.

''My focus is on continuing to support his efforts in leading our program,'' Currie told the AP. ''I'm focused on his continued building. It's an ongoing process, but I think the things we're doing to build facilities and expand our attendance and brand will bode well.''

Kansas State has received 13 private gifts in excess of $1 million since Currie's arrival, while participation in the Ahearn Fund has eclipsed 9,300 members for the first time.

Currie, who serves on the Division I Administrative Cabinet, was one of two athletic directors named to SportsBusiness Journal's Forty Under 40 list of national sports leaders. He was the 2012 Under Armour AD of the Year and the 2013 Bobby Dodd AD of the Year.

''He brings such passion and energy to our athletic program,'' said Mike Goss, whose name adorns the new tennis stadium. ''When you add his contributions to the great work being done by President Schulz and the rest of the K-State team, I have no doubt that K-State's best days are still ahead.''

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