MANHATTAN — Great Bend native Mike Goss believes he’s led a charmed life.
From humble beginnings in Great Bend, Mike learned wisely from his father, Max, and his mother, Sharon, about sharing his good fortune.
Max Goss operated Goss Insurance, which still operates under the family name after being sold in 1999. Mike learned his father’s business sense and played high school tennis at Great Bend.
Mike said he never imagined the impact that playing college tennis and earning a degree in economics at Kansas State University would have. The 1981 Kansas State graduate played college tennis from 1978-81.
There was Mike Goss — serving the first point to two-time All-American Petra Niedermayerova at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium that recognizes and honors the Goss family for their support of K-State athletics and Kansas State University.
The Mike Goss Tennis Stadium is part of a $3 million renovation that partners Kansas State University, the K-State Student Government Association and the K-State Student Rec Center.
“When K-State chooses to name this great facility for me, I am absolutely humbled by it,” he said. “Kansas State has quite generously tried to thank me. It’s a thank you well beyond what is necessary or appropriate, but I’m glad to see it done — especially while I’m still alive.”
There was Mike Goss — receiving a standing ovation.
Goss is a managing director for Bain Capital LLC in New York, N.Y. He serves on the board for the Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable network dedicated to tennis, and for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
“I have been very fortunate in my life,” he said. “I was able to turn around and smile upon Kansas State when good fortune smiled upon me.
“Kansas State has been a huge part of my life. It has made me happy and prosperous,” he said. “It is a major contributor to my success. K-State tennis was a big part of my K-State experience.”
Goss said one of his life’s proudest moments was picking up his K-State letter jacket in 1980 before returning home for the summer.
“I could not have been more proud when I picked up that letter jacket,” he said. “One of most important elements of my life as a K-Stater was my affiliation with tennis. It was a truly remarkable experience in every respect. It was fun and character-building. I learned life -long lessons from coach (Stephen) Snodgrass and my teammates. It’s been a part of my identity.”
Along the way, Goss was paid homage by prominent Kansas State University officials. Replay of the dedication ceremony is available at (http://www.k-state.edu/tv/)
“Mike and Becky Goss, the whole Goss family, what a great Kansas story — from Great Bend, Kansas,” said John Currie, Kansas State University athletic director. “They’ve done great things in the world. He is a great friend, so supportive of President (Kirk) Schultz and Provost Mason. He has helped change his alma mater the past several years.
“Mike is passionate,” Currie said. “I cannot say enough about my friend Mike Goss and what he has meant to me. He is a perfect example of the great people across the country who are willing to invest in a great future for Kansas State athletes.”
Currie said developing the Mike Goss Tennis Complex matches his five goals for intercollegiate athletics.
“We stand here in a facility that exhibits all of our goals perfectly,” Currie said. “This facility will be used by all of our students. This facility is special to me. This tennis facility is where we’ve made the biggest impact.”
Kansas State University Provost April Mason said the Goss family influence goes beyond athletics.
“I give sincere thanks to the Mike Goss, Becky, and others members of the Goss family for their contributions to Kansas State University,” she said. “The Goss family has made contributions to scholarships, international programs and athletics. Mike gives his time as well as his resources to Kansas State. We appreciate his insight as a trustee and board member for the Kansas State Foundation.”
Mason said Goss’ love of tennis is illustrated by his donation of time for the Tennis Channel and International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Goss was named a 2011 Alumni Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences. The prestigious honor, recognizing alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers.
Goss earned a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School. He has worked for Playtex Products, Digitas Inc., and Bain Capital, which manages more than $64 billion dollars in assets.
“While at the Harvard Business School, I competed with the best and brightest from around the country,” he said. “In many ways, I was better prepared than a lot of classmates from more prestigious colleges. It gives me an enormous sense of pride. I am always proud to attend Kansas State.”
The stadium features six outdoor courts, with purple playing surfaces and Powercats dividing the courts. The courts feature Musco lighting, steel benches with K-State welded into the back rests and metal bleachers with room for 400 fans.
The complex features three outdoor basketball courts and two sand volleyball courts. Future phases include a K-State locker room, a scoreboard, public restroom, an outdoor equipment rental area and two handball/racquetball courts.
K-State played its home matches 15 miles from campus in Wamego for the past five years.
K-State will host its first event, the K-State Fall Invitational, at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium Sept. 20-22. Teams competing will be Wichita State, Missouri-Kansas City and Nebraska-Omaha.