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Monday, July 7, 2008

New K-State AD has grand vision

Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause says he's most proud of seeing a "cultural change" in Manhattan.

Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause says he's most proud of seeing a "cultural change" in Manhattan.

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— Everything about the man screams Chicago: The hard "Cs," the flat vowels, the way he pronounces "South Side" as "Sout Side," the firm handshake, the Dick Butkus connection, the straight-shooting way he answers questions, the friendly manner and general air about him suggesting he's too much of a gentleman to start fights yet sure would feel comfortable finishing them.

Kansas State's new athletic director, Bob Krause, is proud of his Second City roots, but would object to Manhattan being labeled the Second (Kansas) City of the Big 12. In Krause's mind, the university for which he has worked since coming from the Minnesota State University system with K-State president Jon Wefald in 1986, didn't begin to blossom until it stopped comparing itself to its neighbor to the east.

That was one of many topics Krause touched on during a lengthy conversation with a visitor in his Anderson Hall office, from which he serves not only as AD but as the school's vice president of institutional advancement. Krause also spoke about the role of athletics in marketing a university, the inflation in coaches' salaries, the long-term gain of Michael Beasley's short stay at K-State, fundraising for aggressive facilities upgrades, the state of the football program under coach Ron Prince and his own Chicago roots.

Asked what accomplishment he is most proud of having been a part of as right-hand man to the retiring Wefald, Krause didn't hesitate.

"Taking an institution that I really believe had an Avis mentality and seeing a cultural change take place," Krause said. "They were second-best, and they always measured themselves against others, KU in particular."

While recommending Robert Smith Bader's book "Hayseeds, Moralizers, & Methodists," Krause said the lessons of a book that points out "Kansans crave public recognition and validation that they're good," can be applied to K-State athletics.

"Taking a key off that, accomplishing cultural change to where people could understand, 'Look, we don't have to compare ourselves to others. We can't be all things to all people. We'll be good on our own, and you really can't compare yourselves to others. Let's get strong on our own.' Jon's capacity to lead and to get people to dream big dreams to work hard and not give up (has helped to bring about the cultural change)," Krause said.

Athletics Marketing University

The current Wildcats AD also credited Wefald with not shying away from being honest about the importance athletics can play in growing a university.

"Jon understood that it's the front porch," Krause said. "(Former state representative) Joe Knopp ... made a comment to our provost at the time, Jim Coffman. He said, 'We all in the legislature assume that if your sports programs aren't doing well, the whole place is screwed up.' It's not a fair way to evaluate what's going on, but it's so public. I don't see anybody sitting around saying, 'My math team can beat your math team.'''

K-State's aggressive approach to athletics - from welcoming students who weren't academic all-stars in Bill Snyder's football program, to hiring Bob Huggins as the basketball coach at a time his renegade image scared away other institutions, to paying an assistant basketball coach a $420,000 salary - has subjected the athletic department to criticism over the years. Krause doesn't apologize on behalf of the university for coaches pursuing top talent. Besides, he says, Wefald has taken the same approach with the student body in general, often referring to his own academic career as being based more on effort and interactivity than genius in painting K-State as an inclusive university.

"I've never seen the Kentucky Derby won by a mule, never have," Krause said. "You have to have the talent. You have to have the athleticism, and you have to have the fit, and you have to have a good pipeline."

Associate head basketball coach Dalonte Hill, whose yearly pay recently was bumped to $420,000, was the pipeline to Michael Beasley, selected second in this year's NBA Draft. Hill was hired to assist Huggins, and when Huggins' top aide, Frank Martin, was named to replace him, Hill gained a promotion.

"I'm not sure K-State has ever had the access consistently to the talent that Dalonte has, through his hard work and the respect he has earned and the people he has surrounded himself with," Krause said.

Hill delivering Beasley will be the gift that keeps on giving for K-State in terms of marketing the basketball program in particular and the university in general.

"I'd hate to put a value on what the exposure, both print and electronic, has been on Michael," Krause said. "That's an identification with a guy who's a very strong advocate of K-State and in his own words will always be a part of the K-State family. Michael's love for K-State, it's priceless, just priceless."

Defending Ron Prince

Beasley, and to a lesser extent fellow NBA Draft choice Bill Walker, helped to turn K-State back into a school maniacal about basketball. Fan support remains manic for football, but can Prince, entering his third year as coach, give the masses the winner they demand?

Prince used 19 scholarships on junior-college transfers. He is being sued for non-payment by his former agent and is gaining a reputation as a coach who goes through assistant coaches the way Mike Tyson goes through money.

Prince also is working under a rule that might have made it more difficult for Bill Snyder to engineer one of the most remarkable turnarounds in college sports history. NCAA rules now require schools to use commercial airline transportation, which puts rural K-State at a disadvantage. K-State used to use the university plane to bring in key recruits, thus avoiding the long drive from the Kansas City airport.

"That's difficult because you've got a major institution (KU) between you and your home base," Krause said. "So you get the last flights at night. The kids are tired, you run 'em hard and get a late-night flight out."

Krause said attempts to band with other rural universities to get the rule changed back amounted to a whisper lost in the loudspeakers that are schools from the Pac-10 and Big Ten. The lobbying effort went nowhere.

"We even tried to say, 'Look we've got a pilot program at Salina, and we have student pilots on the all flights, and that's part of their training.' That didn't wash," Krause said, fighting back a smile. ": It hurt initially, but I think there are ways to overcome it. Frankly, if you want to get totally creative, we could probably stay within bounds and get an RV or an over-the-road bus with DVDs, etc., and we would use that for international students and out-of-state students so it's not just for athletics. In the scheme of things, you spend all your energy trying to find a way to circumvent a rule that if you apply it in terms of refining your recruitment and getting to a point you do more targeted recruiting, rather than shotgun recruiting, you'd be better off."

Prince ran into enough recruiting obstacles that he filled the incoming class with an inordinate number of juco transfers.

"The '98 team had a very high number of junior-college students," Krause reminded. "The recruiting plan that Ron has is the exact same recruiting plan he had when we hired him, so it's not a concern. : From a plan standpoint, you don't want to be in the same place two years down the road that you are now, and ultimately there is a balance. But historically, K-State has always been a place that Bill relied on junior-college transfers."

Krause has a favorite two-part question he uses to defend Prince.

"When was the last time in football a coach in his first two years won at least 12 games and went to a bowl game? Never," Krause said. "When was the last time a coach in his first two years won more than 12 games? It was 1917."

Asked about the fact Prince is being sued by his former agent, who said he has $67,500 coming to him based on a three-percent commission on Prince's five-year deal, Krause answered in the negative.

"I never comment on particular lawsuits," Krause said. "Once lawyers are involved, I let them go. But generally speaking, there is a deep-pocket syndrome, and I always tell my staff there is no way to insulate yourself from lawsuits."

Beefing up facilities

Amid all the controversies that crop up, Krause plows forward in trying to make sure that K-State doesn't get buried and left for dead in the Big 12 facilities arms race. A $70 million facilities expansion project with a 50/50 split between bonding and private donations is in the fundraising stage. The plans call for, among other improvements, a basketball practice facility, a Wildcat Hall of Fame, a new Bramlage Coliseum entrance with a more fan-friendly location for the ticket offices, an expanded press box, new premium seating and other renovations to the west side of Snyder Family Stadium.

When working in other areas of the university, Krause gained a reputation as a skilled fundraiser.

"We expect the same thing from our fans we expect from our athletes and coaches, to put us in a position to compete for championships," Krause said. "Be committed and sacrifice. When it gets tough and you think you can't do it, find a way to do it."

Chicago roots

Krause found a way to make a career in higher learning and athletics, even though, looking back, he modestly doesn't give himself a glowing report card in either area.

Complications from an appendicitis prevented him from getting medical clearance to play as a senior at Lane Tech, a school of 6,000 boys at the time. He did play his junior year, in 1959, and has the crooked knuckles to prove it. Lane Tech played Chicago Vocational School in the city championship that year.

"We played CVS to a 6-6 tie and won the game on statistics," Krause said of the old tie-breaker system. "Butkus was playing for CVS. What a load. He played that game with a broken arm in the second half, and he still was a formidable force. He was just a crusher."

Krause went from there to Western Illinois University - he later received a master's from Michigan State - because WIU "didn't require a foreign language. Foreign languages were in the afternoon at Lane Tech, and if you played a sport you were at practice then and didn't have to take one."

His athletic career resumed, however briefly, in college.

"I played ball for a week, week-and-a-half at Western Illinois and I just got to the point I didn't like it," Krause said. "It was a street fight with pads on. Who needs that?"

Every day on the job as AD at K-State is the equivalent of a street fight without pads or punches, and Krause is all-in. He has been Wefald's right-hand man for more than two decades. Will Wefald's successor share Krause's vision of what's best for the athletic department?

Krause smiles, and his answer comes from where all his responses originate, the gut.

"I have a five-year contract," he said.

Comments

agraves 13 years, 3 months ago

this is terrible...is there absolutely no news about KU?

Andy Hess 13 years, 3 months ago

i'll take WHO GIVES A SH!T for 200, Alex.seriously, this is KUSPORTS.COM.

trich424 13 years, 3 months ago

Is this kusports.com? I thought it might be mizzousports.com, or wildcatfever.com. Tony Temple feature, now this?....

GoHawks1 13 years, 3 months ago

Did it mention in the article that Kraus is married into the largest KSU Sports Donors family (Vanier)?

Ray March 13 years, 3 months ago

this isn't k-st-sports.com!!remove that turd from our front page please.it was bad enough a while back having frankie martin and beasley on the main index page!come on now...

coloskihawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Do you guys understand how closeminded to other sports teams most K-state and mizzou fans are??? isnt it annoying that when you talk to one of these dirtbags all they can talk about is their team? If you continue to complain about hearing about other teams you are going to give KU fans a bad name!!! Learn as much about the rest of the big 12 and make us proud

frompekka2sasha 13 years, 3 months ago

This was a very uninteresting article. If this is truly representative of their new AD then I'm not too worried. I knew that rural thing would kill their recruiting and unlesss they can build up a bunch of scenery between KC and Manhattan then it will continue to be a problem. Have you ever made the drive? Worst stretch of nothing you'll ever see and only compares to US 400 when going through Liberal.

King_Kaun 13 years, 3 months ago

ever heard of the saying, "Keep your friends close...keep your enemies CLOSER?"I like hearing ANYTHING that affects the Big 12. this also happens to be an interesting profile

Mo Mosallaei 13 years, 3 months ago

That's why they plan on bringin in recruits on late night flights, so that they can hopefully take a nap on the ride to Manhattan and not see the journey to the school in the middle of nowhere.

Billy Derringer 13 years, 3 months ago

i think that should be posted in the area of big 12 news not the headline of the site, so i agree with trich424 this is a dissapointment that this is all the news we could muster.......thats 2 days in a row were are rivials has tainted this site what a damm shame

FlaHawk 13 years, 3 months ago

LJW STAFF IS ON HIATUS AGAIN!KU articles in the new fall season!

Kyle Cornish 13 years, 3 months ago

Once this is no longer a FREE SITE, then you have a right to complain... Until then, your points will fall on deaf ears.

prairie_dog 13 years, 3 months ago

Poor Kitties. Poor wish-we-were, poor wanna be Kitties.Sorry, Kitties, you will always be our "second city', after last year, more than ever.

apeoples410 13 years, 3 months ago

Any updates on Self's contract extension???

Mr_Sandman 13 years, 3 months ago

Ok Gary, I get that it might be a nice story and all but this IS KUSPORTS.com. People come to this site to hear about their favorite University, not every other one. If I want news about K-State or Mizzou I will look on their sites. I think that the general feeling is that the people want to hear about OUR football or basketball program right now, not some rival school AD.

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

Freeze I need an edit button. I type fast my man.BTW, you gotta admit. Keegan's a great writer and that was a well written story.gb

KEITHMILES05 13 years, 3 months ago

Why KSU is riding Mike Beasley's coat tails is beyond me. The kid is in the NBA and doesn't give a flying rats arse about KSU. They are making a strategic mistake and the whole fanfare will not pan out. Whatever.

sevenyearhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

You know they wanted to have a Living Nativity scene in Manhattan last year ...but they couldn't find Three Wisemen and a Virgin!

Jhockey 13 years, 3 months ago

I'm just curious why there isn't a story about Kevin Young's commitment, which actually relates to KU.

Dyrk Dugan 13 years, 3 months ago

no way should the main article on the front of the LJW be a feature on the grapes......and there's absolutely no Lawrence connection or a KU connection. which makes it worse. Do a report on the Royals or something.....but K-State's new AD?!?!?! i guarantee you, the Manhattan Mercury hasn't run one feature on Lew Perkins. If they have, then i'll apologize.

Eliott Reeder 13 years, 3 months ago

Geez Bedore, you're a professional writer, and you screw up every single comment you post. Just sayin'...

kujhwk 13 years, 3 months ago

One of the most anticipated KU football seasons is coming up and we have hardly gotten any articles about the team... 5 KU basketball players got drafted and are starting the summer season (at least 4 of them are!) but nothing about them. How about the girls soccer season coming up? Lets talk about the school that this website has the name of in its title.

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

I love the Internet.To those complaining the loudest ... did you read the story?That's my only question.btw I'm on vacation this week; just checking the Web. Where am I vacationing? That's for me to you and you not to find out (joke).p.s. I thought it was a nice story.

actorman 13 years, 3 months ago

I breathlessly await the next big picture and article about the Texas defensive line coach.

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

oops i meant for me to know and you not to find out (joke). I wonder why there's no edit function on here.

Kevin Kelly 13 years, 3 months ago

Its not that other teams are on the site. Its that they are constantly a lead story.Then they leave the story up for a week and a half (did you know that MU had a good pitcher??? Well you had 10 days to find out earlier this spring!)Biggest season in school history and the local paper is scratching for something to write about.

KUSU 13 years, 3 months ago

We don't care about the Turds in that other town. MOVE THIS.

13 years, 3 months ago

frompekka2sasha - at least they have the meat packing plants and associated aroma in Liberal :o)Nice one, sevenyearhawk!Anyone consternating over djkc28's post, he is trying to bait people. Please do yourself a favor and ignore him.

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

Sandman, I respect your opinion and I liked your post, but isn't it better to have all KU/Big 12 related stories written by our staff in one section like Kusports.com rather than having to add another section like Big 12 where'd you'd have to click on another area to find a story you might want to read?Why not just have it here and you can decide whether you read it or not?It's not like an electrical shock comes through the computer and stings you when it's a story on K-State. Usually the headline warns you and you could read it or not.KU was mentioned in the story on Krause btw. I thought it was well written and a great take on the AD down the road. We probably agree to disagree but like my mama said if we all agreed on everything the world would be mighty dull.

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

I gave it my best shot; no more on this thread from me.Time to vacation some more ... I am out.Peace and all good.

actorman 13 years, 3 months ago

"Have you ever made the drive? Worst stretch of nothing you'll ever see and only compares to US 400 when going through Liberal."I don't know. The stretch from KC to Columbia is pretty god-awful too."To those complaining the loudest ... did you read the story?That's my only question."I'm guessing Gary's probably done reading this thread, but I actually have NOT read the article and don't intend to. I just went to the comments underneath. Without being able to comment on the specifics of this article, I agree that it's okay to have articles about our rivals, but that in only rare exceptions should they be the MAIN article. (I didn't have a problem with the story about the Mizzou pitcher because it had a direct connection to KU, since KU was about to face him. That's completely different than this situation.)

Kevin Kelly 13 years, 3 months ago

That's funny. My momma told me, "Know your audience."Harry Potter is well writen. But we're not adding it to the Bible. You know why??? It dosn't belong in the Bible. Wrong audience.Again. Its not that the article exists. Its a GIANT PICTURE of guy who's main mission in life is to CRUSH OUR SCHOOL'S ATHLETIC PROGRAM on and off the field. Have some thought as to how to present it to your fan base.I mean, I don't wish the guy harm or anything....but I want him to be the worst AD in the history of time.

prairie_dog 13 years, 3 months ago

Nothing on position battles at OT, nothing on emerging CBs, if any, nothing on whether someone else can be backup QB to free Kerry for receiver duty, nothing on DT with Haselhorst gone, etc, etc.

NH_JHawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Actually, US 400 doesn't go thru Liberal, but I agree about the "associated aroma." Good one txrockchalk! For those of us who grew up in western Kansas, we call that "the smell of money."

frompekka2sasha 13 years, 3 months ago

Technicality NH. It turns back into 54 Hwy!

Hawklin 13 years, 3 months ago

Bedore: "btw I'm on vacation this week; just checking the Web. Where am I vacationing? That's for me to you and you not to find out (joke)."Where? Manhattan, Ks. Real tough question Gary.

trich424 13 years, 3 months ago

Atleast change the picture. Find a different main story and put this one under secondary stories. Maybe about how the summer league season starts. Who is where, and plays when with who. No, that is a bad idea. More rival stories.

frompekka2sasha 13 years, 3 months ago

BTW- My post was not a negative comment suggesting how this article was written. I just didn't find the new KSU AD very interesting. That's all. I simply question whether he will be able to make a difference and really didn't find much in this article that says otherwise. Gosh... I hope I'm right. Keep Ron Prince FOREVER!!!

lance1jhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

My grand vision for MOO-U is they play .500 Fotball this year and Prince gets fired. Soon after that the their basketball team ends its season at the bottom of the Big XII. Their used car salesman/ headcoach will remain for another year (Yes)!Pretty much back to the same old K-SUCK.

Mr_Sandman 13 years, 3 months ago

Thank you NEJhawk that is exactly what I was trying to get across with my post. It is not that the article is even on this site, but don't slap a huge picture of a rival AD on our the front page. People visiting this site want inside information about THEIR favorite school. The staff that writes for this site should have information about KU that we may not know about and we would like to hear it from you. KNOW WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE WANTS TO READ.

Joel Teply 13 years, 3 months ago

Is this the teacher from Boy Meets World?

KEITHMILES05 13 years, 3 months ago

Bedore's still driving around trying to find out where he is. LOL

Gary Bedore 13 years, 3 months ago

Some of you guys make it hard to get motivated to post.It seems to me negativity is the norm.Depressing stuff.I'm not a complainer. Some thrive on it I guess.Peace out.

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