MANHATTAN — When Kansas State athletic director John Currie arrived on campus 10 months ago, he was impressed by the excitement surrounding the men's basketball program.
Fast forward to today — nearly three weeks removed from a breakthrough season that ended in the Elite Eight — and that foundation of interest has grown tremendously.
"The difference between now and then is pretty obvious," Currie said. "We did it. We had a pretty good year that put us back on the national scene."
Currie expects K-State season tickets to sell out before the 2010-11 season begins. He also anticipates boosters being more willing to make key donations.
Those are perks that follow success. Currie's job is figuring out a way to capitalize on them.
"We want to continue to firm our foundation," Currie said.
Among his goals: Secure funds for a planned basketball practice facility, explore ways to add seating to Bramlage Coliseum and increase the Wildcats' already expanding basketball image.
To get that process going, he envisions raising ticket prices.
"Next season we'll probably have some modest increases in our pricing," Currie said. "Not exponential, but modest to reflect the fact that in order for us to continue to compete we have to provide resources for our student athletes and our coaches."
More seats at Bramlage Coliseum could provide more resources. There are no large-scale changes currently being discussed, but he said courtside seating could be expanded and extra seats could be added in the arena's corner sections.
"There are some areas where you could maybe do some stuff," Currie said. "We'll continue to evaluate and analyze our deal. Hopefully by the time we get to early summer, when we get ready for our season-ticket package, we'll have an idea on whether we can do anything like that."
Currie will know more about the future of a new practice facility by then, as well. He said initial conversations with boosters on the topic have gone well.
Once he secures a few lead donations for the $20 million project, he will start working on a timetable for the facility's construction.
"We need to make sure we can fund the project in a financially responsible manner," Currie said.
Currie said the the school is close to renovating seats at Ahearn Fieldhouse for volleyball, and is looking at ways to broaden concessions at all events. The concessions change is part of his quest to increase the overall fan experience.
He said those experiences could involve Wichita's Intrust Bank Arena.
K-State has already scheduled three neutral-court games in Kansas City's Sprint Center next season — two games in the CBE Classic against Duke, Marquette or Gonzaga, plus a game against UNLV — and Currie said K-State came close to adding another in Wichita.
It didn't work out, but Currie said K-State will play at Intrust Bank Arena before long.
"We would very much like to play a game in Wichita," Currie said. "We certainly have a sincere interest in playing there, and I would anticipate at some point in the next five years we will play there."