Kansas State University's
(variously "K-State" or "KSU") athletic teams are called the Wildcats, and their official color is royal purple; white and silver are generally used as complementary colors. Kansas State participates in the NCAA
's Division I (Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision) and in the Big 12 Conference
Kansas State competed in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
from 1890 to 1912; the Missouri Valley Conference
from 1913 to 1928; the Big Eight Conference
from 1928 to 1996 (known as the Big Six from 1928-47 and the Big Seven from 1947-57), and is now a member of the Big 12 Conference. Entering the 2007-2008 school year, Kansas State has captured 55 total conference championships through the years (not counting competition in the old Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference).
Athletics at Kansas State University are administered by the University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The department is headed by the Athletic Director
. Athletic Directors of note over the years at Kansas State University
Kansas State University began competing in football in 1896. Historically, Kansas State had one of the worst programs in Division I. Before 2003, Kansas State had only one conference title, in 1934. In 1989, the athletic department hired Bill Snyder, and he orchestrated arguably the greatest turnaround in college football history that culminated in a Big 12 Championship in 2003. Snyder retired at the end of the 2005 season, and Ron Prince was hired as his replacement. Prince has a career head coaching record of 15-15.
Kansas State is one of only 6 schools in history to have gone to 11 straight bowl games. The streak started in the 1993 season and extended through the 2003 season.
The men's and women's basketball teams play their home games in Bramlage Coliseum
in Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State's men's basketball team began competition in 1902. The program has a long history of success. The first two major conference titles captured by the school were won in the sport, in 1917 and 1919, in the Missouri Valley Conference. Kansas State has gone on to capture 17 conference crowns in the sport. Currently, Frank Martin is the head coach.
Kansas State's women's basketball team began intercollegiate competition in 1968. The team is among the top 15 all-time winningest programs in the NCAA.
The women's team has participated in 14 total NCAA basketball tournaments and AIAW tournaments (pre-NCAA). K-State has finished ranked in the Top Ten of the AP Poll on three occasions (1984, 2003, 2004), and in the top twenty nine times. Following the 2005-2006 season, Kansas State was crowned champion of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The team returned to the WNIT Final Four following the 2006-2007 season.
The current head coach is Deb Patterson.
Kansas State's baseball team began play in 1897. The Wildcats earned what is believed to be the school's first varsity championship in 1907 under coach Mike Ahearn
. The Wildcats went on to win a Missouri Valley Conference
championship in 1928 and Big Six Conference
championships in 1930 and 1933.
Other milestones in the team's history include Earl Woods, the father of golfer Tiger Woods, becoming the first African-American baseball player in the Big Seven Conference in 1952, as well as all-time coaching wins leader Mike Clark winning the Big Eight Coach of the Year award in 1990.
The Wildcats have not traditionally been competitive on the national scale, as the Wildcats have never participated in an NCAA Tournament. K-State has qualified three times for the Big 12 Conference tournament in the conference's 12 years. The most recent appearance came in 2008. The Wildcats also earned a birth in the Big 12 Conference tournament in 2007 and 2002.
Hill's teams have also earned national rankings in three of his first four seasons. The Wildcats call Tointon Family Stadium home.
Track and field
Kansas State began competing in track and field in 1904.
Through the end of the 2005-2006 season, K-State athletes have won individual NCAA national championships 38 times. The program also produced 104 women's outdoor All-Americans, 63 men's outdoor All-Americans, 64 women's indoor All-Americans, and 81 men's indoor All-Americans. Fourteen Kansas State athletes have attended 12 Olympic Games and have won seven medals.
Legendary coach Ward Haylett, who is enshrined in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, left a strong imprint on the Kansas State program. He was head coach at the school from 1928-1963.
The team currently plays in Ahearn Field House
in Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State's women's volleyball team began intercollegiate competition in 1974. The team is among the all-time winningest programs in the NCAA.
As of the close of the 2007 season, the team has participated in 11 NCAA tournaments, including ten consecutive tournaments from 1996 to 2005. K-State also participated in the AIAW tournament in 1977. K-State has finished ranked in the top twenty of the AVCA poll five times, and in the top 25 on ten occasions. The team most recently participated in the NCAA tournament in 2007, advancing to the second round.
The Wildcats biggest volleyball rival is Nebraska. Kansas State and Nebraska consistently compete with each other for the Big 12 Volleyball crown. They have both been ranked in the Top 25 almost annually for the past 7 years. Every Kansas State home game against Nebraska is promoted with the "Keep The Red Out" T-Shirts.
The current head coach is Suzie Fritz. Fritz has led the Wildcats to five NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons as head coach, including two Sweet 16 appearances, and the school's first conference title in volleyball in 2003. As of the close of the 2007 season, Fritz also holds the highest winning percentage among all K-State's volleyball coaches after compiling a record of 124-62 (.667). In nine seasons total on staff (including three as an assistant coach), Fritz has coached seven All-Americans, 12 All-Region performers and 29 all-conference players.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks (Sunflower Showdown)
Since the early 1900's when Kansas State and Kansas began competing in baseball, basketball, and football, the two teams schools and fans have developed a strong hatred towards each other.
In the early stages of the rivalry the primary focus was basketball since neither Kansas State or Kansas had very strong football teams. Both teams were consistently ranked in the Top 5 and made almost annual appearances in the NCAA tournament. The rivalry on the hardwood peaked in the 1950's when both teams were national title contenders. A facilities race also began in the 1950's starting with the construction of Kansas States Ahearn Fieldhouse, which was one of the biggest and nicest all around basketball facilities in the country with a capacity of 14,000. Kansas soon answered with Allen Fieldhouse
which would seat 16,300. The rivalry continued as strong as ever up until the 1980's when Kansas State fell of the face of the college basketball world. Kansas State moved out of Ahearn Fieldhouse and into Bramlage Coliseum in 1988. 2006 saw a turn-around in Kansas State basketball with the hiring of Bob Huggins, but after one season Huggins left, leaving his assistant Frank Martin at the helm. 2007 #1 recruit Michael Beasley and #7 recruit Bill Walker helped to end the streak and put the rivalry back on the map. Kansas began a 24 game win streak against the Wildcats in Manhattan in 1983, until on January 30, 2008 #22 Kansas State upset #2 Kansas 84-75, winning against Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum for the first time.
Dating back to the beginnings of Kansas State and Kansas football, neither one had sustained excellence. They both had their moments but football did not really take center stage until 1991 when legendary Head Coach Bill Snyder
gained his first win against the Jayhawks
. Over the next 12 years Kansas would only beat the Wildcats once in 1992, until KU finally won again in a home game in 2004. After several decades of being the Big 12 (Big 8) doormat Kansas began fielding much stronger teams putting a jolt of electricity into the rivalry.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Kansas State had lost 29 consecutive games to Nebraska until November 14, 1998 when the #1 Wildcats finally beat #11 Nebraska 40-30. The Wildcats would then beat Nebraska in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004. The Wildcats and Cornhuskers consistently competed for the Big 12 north championship in the 1990's and early 2000's.
Kansas State and Nebraska consistently compete with each other for the Big 12 Volleyball crown. They have both been ranked in the Top 25 almost annually for the past 7 years. Every Kansas State home game against Nebraska is promoted with the "Keep The Red Out" T-Shirts.
Racial integration at Kansas State
Kansas State historically has been welcoming to all races. Records show as far back as the 1940s and 1950's (a time regarded by many for its lack of civil rights
in the United States
), the leadership of K-State athletics took a strong stance in support of racial integration.
In 1949, the African American Harold Robinson
played football for Kansas State with an athletic scholarship. In doing so, Robinson broke the decades-long "color barrier" in Big Seven Conference
athletics. Robinson's coach was Ralph Graham
, and Robinson later compared Graham to Branch Rickey
, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers
who hired Jackie Robinson
to integrate baseball in 1947.
In the spring of 1951, the conference color barrier in baseball was broken by Kansas State's Earl Woods
(the father of golf
great Tiger Woods
). An indicator of the controversial nature of this position is reflected in an article published in The Tulsa World
about an incident that occurred in the early 1950s during a baseball game:
- Former teammate Larry Hartshorn recalled an instance when the Wildcats were scheduled to play a spring game against a team from Mississippi. During warm-ups, the Mississippi coach took notice of Earl, and according to Hartshorn, the coach said his team would play the game only if the black player stayed on the bus. Instead, K-State coach Ray Wauthier put everybody on the bus. "We just left," Hartshorn said.
Finally, in the winter of 1951-1952, Kansas State's Gene Wilson broke the conference color barrier in basketball, along with LaVannes Squires at the University of Kansas
In the 2007-2008 school year, Kansas State was the only school in the nation to have a consesus All-America in both football and men's basketball. Those players were Jordy Nelson
and Michael Beasley
In 2007, Kansas State led the Big 12 Conference with a 64 percent graduation rate for all sports. The Wildcats also were 2nd in the Big 12 with a 69 percent graduation rate in football.
Conference Membership History