Ready for a New Year!
I’m so excited to begin another academic and competitive year, and with it brings the expectations of success in and out of the competitive venues! The campus is alive again, the practice fields and courts are busy, and in one case, soccer, the season’s already started!
We’re on the eve of the kickoff of the Les Miles era in KU Football! We hope you will help us fill David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium this Saturday at 11 a.m., as the Jayhawks take on Indiana State. The most important way in which alumni, friends and fans can support Coach Miles is to join us at “The Booth” as our students affectionately call it!
We appreciate those who have purchased season- or single-game football tickets; your support is critical to help KU Football Break The Cycle and build a true home-field advantage. You are the true heroes in the rebuild of Kansas Football and we cannot achieve success without your support.
Throughout last fall and the entire off-season we took notes on your feedback about the Gameday experience and put them to work. Our athletics department staff began meeting about the 2019 season during the first week of January. Since then, we’ve undertaken a thorough review of Gameday on the Hill, and we’ve come up with a long list of improvements that will transform your experience at the Stadium this fall. From tailgating to rideshare services, from improved parking to a fan-friendlier Hawk Walk, from an upgraded concessions menu to expanded alcohol sales, these enhancements are designed to provide a much more enjoyable experience for fans at the Stadium. You can read about all the changes here.
These changes and improvements are just the start. Just like your football team, we expect to improve as the year goes along and we’d love to hear your thoughts on these improvements or any other part of your Gameday experience. Please don’t hesitate to give us feedback; you can call us at 785-864-8200, email us, or engage us on social media. And you know, I’m always available on Twitter!
The excitement that Les Miles has brought to KU Football has spread to fans and, yes, to the media. ESPN featured Les Miles last Sunday on its E:60 program; you can watch it here. And starting this Thursday, August 29, you can watch the first four episodes of “Miles to Go,” a new series available exclusively on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The 18-part series will give fans a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes look at Coach Miles as he seeks to raise the Kansas football program to national prominence. The series will include four preseason episodes, followed by weekly installments during the season. Filming began this offseason, before Coach Miles was even hired, and will cover the entire 2019 season from start to finish.
You can purchase a subscription to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 a year) and can cancel anytime; it’s available nationwide via the free ESPN App on mobile and connected devices, and at ESPN.com. Big 12 Now on ESPN+ will exclusively feature approximately 50 KU events each year, including one football game, two men’s basketball exhibition games and four early-season non-conference games. Subscribers to ESPN+ also have access to thousands of events annually, including hundreds of Big 12 contests; thousands of other college, professional and international sporting events; new and exclusive series; studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30-for-30 film archive; popular past series from ESPN and more.
As excited as we are about football, there’s much more to get excited about at Kansas Athletics than just the start of the Les Miles era.
- We’re only about five weeks away from Late Night in the Phog! Hall of Fame Coach Bill Self and his staff have put together an amazing roster that will be ranked among the top five teams in the country going into next season.
- The KU soccer team is off to a fabulous 3-0 start, including a 4-0 whitewashing of Big 10 foe Nebraska.
- The volleyball team begins play this weekend, and in two weeks Coach Ray Bechard’s squad will open up the brand new Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena.
- Cross country gets underway Saturday with the annual Bob Timmons Classic at Rim Rock Farm. Speaking of runners, KU’s two-time NCAA champion Bryce Hoppel has decided to forego his senior year of eligibility and turn professional. In a thoughtful letter to teammates, coaches and fans, the five-time All-American wrote that he “will finish his degree at KU at the pace that is best for my academic and athletic careers, and thrive under the familiar training structure and support I have already found so much success in.” What thrills Bryce gave us! We wish him all the success in the world as he pursues his goals. You can read his entire statement here.
And as we say hello to another school year, we said good-bye to legendary KU football and basketball radio announcer Max Falkenstien, who passed away on July 29 in Lawrence. Last Saturday the Falkenstien family and Kansas Athletics hosted a Celebration of Life at KU’s Lied Center; a crowd of about 1,000 people watched videos and heard funny and heartfelt tributes from Max’s dearest friends, including Coach Self and Max’s play-by-play partner of more than two decades, Bob Davis. You can watch the tributes on kuathletics.com.
Here we go! We hope you are as excited about this year as we are. Hope to see you at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and all of our home venues. Our coaches and student-athletes are working hard to make you proud.
Jeffrey P. Long
Director of Athletics