K-State’s Building Champions Initiative Surpasses $100 Million


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Courtesy of K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kansas – K-State Athletics has set a new department record for funds raised in a capital campaign as Athletics Director Gene Taylor announced that the Ahearn Fund has surpassed $100 million for its Building Champions initiative.

The initiative, which is part of the department’s overall facility master plan, focused on the completion of the Shamrock Zone and current construction of the Morgan Family Volleyball Arena, Morris Family Olympic Performance Center and Shamrock Practice Facility.

“I continue to be amazed at the continued support of our fans and donors,” Taylor said. “The number of K-Staters who believed in the vision for these facilities and stepped up to make them become a reality is just phenomenal. We are beyond grateful for their commitment to these projects, and their leadership will impact K-State student-athletes, coaches and fans for decades to come.”

The $100 million total from Building Champions was generated by 273 total donors and included two eight-figure gifts, 16 seven-figure gifts, and 38 six-figure gifts.

“We are so grateful to everyone who made this milestone a reality,” added Josh McCowan, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development. “The passion and pride of so many who generously donate is incredible, and their desire to make a positive impact on the student-athlete experience is truly inspiring.”

While the Building Champions initiative is closing in on completion, plans continue to evolve for future projects within the K-State Athletics master facility plan.

“We are not done yet,” Taylor added. “There are several projects in our master plan that we are discussing and need to address soon, including the renovation of our current indoor football facility into a new indoor track and field venue. Designs and concepts are being discussed, but we still need donor support to make this possible for our world-class track and field programs.”

To learn more about current projects under construction visit www.kstatesports.com/buildingchampions.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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