Kansas State Wildcats football

Kansas State Wildcats football
2016 Kansas State Wildcats football team
First season 1896
Athletic director John Currie
Head coach Bill Snyder
25th year, 2011051 (.656)
Stadium Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Seating capacity 50,000
Field surface GameDayGrass 3D60H
Location Manhattan, Kansas
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Big 12
All-time record 51763541 (.451)
Bowl record 712 (.368)
Conference titles 6 (1909, 1910, 1912, 1934, 2003, 2012)[1]
Consensus All-Americans 12[2]
Current uniform
Colors Royal Purple and White[3]
Fight song Wildcat Victory
Mascot Willie the Wildcat
Marching band The Pride Of Wildcat Land
Rivals Kansas Jayhawks
Iowa State Cyclones
Nebraska Cornhuskers
Website k-statesports.com

The Kansas State Wildcats football program (variously Kansas State, K-State, or KSU) is the intercollegiate football program of the Kansas State University Wildcats. The program is classified in the NCAA Division I Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and the team competes in the Big 12 Conference.

Historically, the team has an all-time losing record, at 509–631–41 after the conclusion of the 2015 season. However, the program has had some stretches of winning in its history, most recently and most notably under head coach Bill Snyder from the 1990s through the 2010s. In 1998 Kansas State finished the regular season with an undefeated (11–0) record, and from 1995 to 2001 the school appeared in the AP Poll for 108 consecutive weeks – the 15th-longest streak in college football history.[4]

Since 1968, the team has played in Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium (formerly KSU Stadium) in Manhattan, Kansas. The Kansas State University Marching Band, also known as the Pride of Wildcat Land, performs at all home games and bowl games.


Early History (1893-1950)

According to most sources, Kansas State's football team began play on Thanksgiving Day 1893.[5][6][7] A team from Kansas State defeated St. Mary's College 18–10 on that date. Other sources name Kansas State's first game as a 24–0 victory over a team from Abilene, Kansas, on November 3, 1894.[8][9] However, the first official game recorded in the team's history is a 14–0 loss to Fort Riley on November 28, 1896.[10]

Coach Guy Lowman in 1912

In its earliest years, the program had a different coach every year – generally a former college football player who had just graduated from college. Often, the coaches also played with the team during the games.[9] Some of the coaches during this era include Fay Moulton (1900), who went on to win Olympic medals as a sprinter; Wade Moore (1901), who later was a successful minor league baseball manager; and Cyrus E. Dietz (1902), who became a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. The pattern changed when Mike Ahearn became the first long-term coach in 1905. Ahearn coached for six seasons, leading the team to winning records each year, and concluding in the 1910 season with a 10–1 mark. Ahearn also won two conference championships in the Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in 1909 and 1910.[1] Ahearn was followed by Guy Lowman, who led Kansas State to another conference championship in 1912.[1][8][11][12]

All-conference football star Tom Sebring in 1922

Kansas State was invited into the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1913. After a few years adjusting to a higher level of competition, the school experienced sustained success in the 1920s and 1930s. Elden Auker was part of a group of excellent athletes that attended Kansas State around the time of the Great Depression, which also included Ralph Graham, Maurice Elder, Leland Shaffer, Cookie Tackwell, Dougal Russell, Henry Cronkite, George Maddox and Elmer Hackney.

These athletes were coupled with a series of Hall of Fame coaches. The first of these coaches was Z.G. Clevenger, who arrived in 1916 when Kansas State essentially swapped head coaches with Tennessee. Clevenger is in the College Football Hall of Fame for his playing abilities, but he was also recognized as a brilliant coach and administrator. Clevenger was followed as football coach in 1920 by Charlie Bachman, who stayed until 1927 and earned his way into the College Football Hall of Fame with his coaching prowess. Bachman was also responsible for permanently endowing Kansas State's sports teams with the nickname of "Wildcats." His successor, Alvin "Bo" McMillin, the coach from 1928–33, is also in the College Football Hall of Fame as a player, but he too was a successful coach who, after leaving Kansas State, was recognized as national collegiate coach of the year and then served as head coach for two NFL teams. After McMillin left, Kansas State hired Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, who was also later enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach.

With this combination of coaches and players, Kansas State enjoyed what would be its last streak of sustained success on the football field for 60 years. In 1931 the football team was on track for a potential bid to the Rose Bowl, the sole bowl game in the country at the time, until Ralph Graham was injured. In 1934, Kansas State won its first major conference football championship. That same year, the New York Times referred to Kansas State as "an established Middle Western leader."[13] But then Waldorf abruptly left for Northwestern after the season, and the winning stopped.

In the midst of the period, the Missouri Valley split up. In 1928, six of the seven state schools in the Missouri Valley, including Kansas State, banded together in a conference that retained the MVIAA name. This group would evolve into the Big Eight Conference.

Over the next sixty years, Kansas State would experience very little success on the football field. According to longtime Wildcat radio announcer Dev Nelson, part of the problem was that Kansas State was one of the few major schools that didn't make a significant investment in its football program after World War II.[14] Indeed, for many years the Wildcats spent far less on football – and athletics as a whole – than any Big Eight school. For example, in 1987–1988, the University of Oklahoma (the conference's second smallest school) spent $12.5 million on athletics while Kansas State spent $5.5 million.[14]

Reflective of the mid-century futility was a 28-game losing streak from 1945–1948, the second-longest in NCAA FBS history. Kansas State also had losing streaks of 18 and 17 games in the 1960s. In the middle of posting an 0–10 record in the 1947 season, the Kansas State program slipped below the .500 all-time winning percentage, where it has remained since.

However, there were a few shining moments during these decades. On October 28, 1939, Kansas State hosted the second televised college football game (and the first televised homecoming game),[15][16] losing to Nebraska 25–9.[17]

Bill Meek era (1951-1954)

In the mid-1950s, coach Bill Meek started to rebuild the program. In 1953, Kansas State posted a 5–3–1 record, the first winning season at the school since Wes Fry's 1936 team. Upon starting that season 5–1, K-State also made the school's first appearance in the top 20 polls for college football, at #18 in the Coaches Poll on October 28, 1953. The following year was even better, with Kansas State posting a 7–3 record and playing for an Orange Bowl berth in their final game. But Meek left Kansas State following the 1954 season, when the school refused to give raises to his assistants.[18]

Bus Mertes era (1955-1959)

Bus Mertes got his first college head coach position as the 24th head football coach for the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan, Kansas, and he held that position for five seasons, from 1955 until 1959.[19] His coaching record at Kansas State was 15 wins, 34 losses, and 1 ties. As of completion of the 2007 season, this ranks him tenth at Kansas State in terms of total wins and 19th at Kansas State in terms of winning percentage.[20]

Doug Weaver era (1960-1966)

In seven seasons at Kansas State, Coach Doug Weaver compiled an 8–60–1 record.[21] His final two seasons went without a win. His 1961 and 1962 teams posted a losing streak of 18 gamestied for the 20th-longest streak in college football history. Weaver's best season at K-State came in 1964, when his team went 3–7,[22] with the three wins coming by a combined six points, but he retained his sense of humor. According to a Sports Illustrated article, after he was hanged in effigy at K-State, he said: "I'm glad it happened in front of the library. I've always emphasized scholarship." He was fired following the 1966 season. His career record was 8–60–1 including a 4–43-1 record in conference play.

Vince Gibson era (1967-1974)

In the late 1960s, coach Vince Gibson also briefly started to turn the program around. Behind sophomore quarterback Lynn Dickey, the 1968 squad earned the school's first ranking in the AP Poll and shut out the University of Nebraska in Lincoln for the school's first victory over NU in a decade. That same season, Kansas State also moved into newly built KSU Stadium. The 1969 season was even better. The team started 2–0 before second-ranked Penn State University arrived to play in Manhattan, Kansas. Penn State would ultimately finish the 1969 season undefeated, but Kansas State provided them with one of their toughest tests in a 17–14 game. Following the loss to Penn State, Kansas State reeled off three straight victories, including a win over defending conference champion Kansas in the first Governor's Cup game, and a 59–21 blowout of eleventh-ranked Oklahoma, which was Kansas State's first win over OU since 1934. (It was also the largest loss in Oklahoma's history.) After the Oklahoma game, Kansas State sported a 5–1 record and a #12 national ranking in the AP Poll. This was the high-point of the season, as the team lost its last four games to finish 5–5. Nevertheless, in only his third season, Gibson had dramatically improved the program.

Prior to the 1970 season, Gibson was named the pre-season national coach of the year by Playboy Magazine. The season that followed was up-and-down but ultimately disappointing despite a winning record and a second-place finish in the Big Eight. Kansas State won at Oklahoma and defeated eighth-ranked Colorado, but the season was soured by nonconference defeats and a blow-out loss to Nebraska in the final conference game of the year with the conference title on the line. The worst news of the season came on October 7, 1970, when the conference issued severe sanctions against Kansas State for recruiting violations. The Wildcats were placed on three years' probation, including a one-year ban from bowl games and live television. Gibson would never have another winning season, and left the school in 1974. He later said that the sanctions – the product of what he called an immature quarrel between himself and Jayhawk coach Pepper Rodgers – destroyed everything he'd built over his first four years.[23]

Ellis Rainsberger era (1975-1977)

Wisconsin assistant coach Ellis Rainsberger returned to his alma mater to serve as head football coach from 1975 to 1977.[24] He started his tenure there winning his first three games, but ultimately compiled a record of 6–27.[25] Rainsberger left Kansas State with the program placed on probation for giving too many scholarships.

Jim Dickey era (1978-1985)

The Wildcats wouldn't have another winning season until 1982, when Jim Dickey led a redshirt-laden roster to the 1982 Independence Bowl — the first bowl appearance in school history.[26] However, Dickey was unable to sustain the momentum, and suffered back-to-back three-win seasons in 1983 and 1984.[27][28] After the team opened the 1985 season with two consecutive losses to I-AA teams,[29] Dickey was forced to resign,[30] leaving Kansas State with a record of 24-52-2.[31]

By 1988 the school had become the first program in Division I-A (FBS) to lose 500 games, and had the worst overall record in the nation at 299–509–41.[14]

Stan Parrish era (1986-1988)

In 1986, Marshall head coach Stan Parrish was hired as K-State's head coach.[32] Parrish was unable to sustain any sort of success, posting yearly records of 2-9,[33] 0-10-1,[34] and 0-11.[35] Parrish resigned under pressure after back to back winless campaigns in 1987 and 1988.[36]

Bill Snyder era (1989-2005)

Things changed in 1989, when the athletic department hired Iowa's offensive coordinator, Bill Snyder, to replace Parrish as head coach.

Snyder took over a program that had the worst record in NCAA Division I-A (FBS) history at the time and had gone 27 consecutive games without a win (0-26-1) dating to October 1986.[14] From 1935-1988, the last year before Snyder's arrival, Kansas state had won 137 games in total. Since the 1982 Independence Bowl season, the Wildcats had won a total of seven games. Snyder then presided over one of the most successful rebuilding projects in the history of college athletics, ultimately earning enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame for his work at Kansas State.

Considering the dreadful state of the program he'd inherited, Snyder made the Wildcats respectable fairly quickly. In his third year, 1991, Snyder's Wildcats finished 7–4 and narrowly missed receiving the school's second bowl bid ever. The team also finished with a winning record in conference play for only the third time since winning the conference title in 1934.

Coach Bill Snyder in 2009

In Snyder's fifth season in 1993, Kansas State played in the 1993 Copper Bowl, only its second bowl bid ever. They then pounded Wyoming 52-17 to tally the first bowl win in school history, breaking one of the longest such droughts in Division I-A at the time. Success and high rankings continued over the next decade, including six top-ten finishes in the AP Poll and a perfect (11–0) regular season in 1998 (before stumbling in the Big 12 Championship Game against Texas A&M). As the team improved, recruiting also improved, in large part because Snyder began tapping the rich talent base in Kansas' junior college system. Snyder was able to bring in athletes such as quarterback Michael Bishop, the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1998, and running back Darren Sproles, who led the nation in rushing in 2003 and holds the Big 12 record for all-purpose yards in a career. The run of success culminated in a Big 12 Conference championship in 2003 with a 35–7 victory over the #1 ranked Oklahoma. (The 69 years since the last conference title in 1934 was the longest span between football titles in Division I history.)

In his first 17-year stint as head coach at K-State, Snyder won 136 games – as many as his predecessors had won from 1935 to 1988 – and led Kansas State to eleven consecutive bowl games (1993–2003), including six wins. Snyder's legacy at K-State during his first term also included winning or sharing four Big 12 North titles (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003) and six 11-win seasons.

In 1998, Snyder was recognized as the National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation, and was awarded the Bear Bryant Award and the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. Snyder was also selected Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year by the Associated Press three times (1990, 1991 and 1993), joining Bob Devaney as the only two men in Big Eight history to be named Coach of the Year three times in a four-year period. Snyder was named Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year twice during his first term, in 1998 (Associated Press, coaches) and 2002 (coaches).

The winning attitude under Snyder was represented by a stylized wildcat, called the "Powercat" (shown in the infobox), that was added to the football team's uniforms in 1989. The emblem became so popular that by the late 1990s it had essentially replaced "Willie the Wildcat," a character designed by art department students in the late 1950s.

Ron Prince era (2006-2008)

On December 5, 2005, Ron Prince was hired as the 33rd head football coach of the Kansas State Wildcats.[37] Prince was formerly the offensive coordinator at Virginia.

In 2006, Prince's first year at the helm of the Wildcats, he led Kansas State to a 7–6 record and the team's first winning season since 2003. The signature win of the regular season was a 45–42 upset over #4-ranked University of Texas on November 11, 2006. Kansas State finished the season with a 37–10 loss to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University in the inaugural Texas Bowl on December 28, 2006.

Josh Freeman uses all of his 6'6 frame to pass over the Texas line in a 45–42 victory in 2006.

In Prince's second season, the team featured standout quarterback Josh Freeman and receiver Jordy Nelson, but still slipped to a 5–7 record. Coach Prince got the 2007 team off to a quick start, with a 3–1 record and a #24 ranking in the AP Poll after four weeks – the first ranking for Kansas State since the 2004 season. This start included another victory against a top 10-ranked Texas team, this time by 20 points.[17] However, in the next four games, the team alternated wins and losses and fell from the Top 25. Four straight losses followed to close out the season.

The 2008 season was Ron Prince's third at Kansas State. Coach Prince led the 2008 team to another 5–7 record. With three games remaining in the season, on November 5, 2008, the school announced that Ron Prince would not return as Kansas State head coach in 2009. Ron Prince finished his career at Kansas State 0-9 against Kansas States biggest rivals (Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri)[38]

Snyder's return (2009-present)

On November 23, 2008, in a surprising move, Kansas State University announced that Bill Snyder was coming out of retirement and was hired to replace Prince.[39] Snyder initially received a 5-year, $1.8 million contract.

In 2009, Snyder lead the team to a 6–6 record, going 4–4 in Big 12 play,[40] and falling one game short of winning the Big 12 North. The team failed to make a bowl game for the third consecutive season. Following a loss to Nebraska Cornhuskers football at Memorial Stadium on November 21, 2009, Kansas State became the fourth FBS teams to lose 600 games, joining Northwestern, Indiana, and Wake Forest.[41]

Snyder led the 2010 team to an improved 7–6 record, with a 3–5 record in conference play,[42] good for third in the North division. The season ended with a loss to Syracuse in the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl – K-State's first bowl appearance since Ron Prince lead the school to the 2006 Texas Bowl.

In 2011 Coach Snyder led the team to a 10–3 record, a second-place finish in the Big 12 Conference, and a #15 ranking in the final AP Poll.[43] The team finished the season with a loss to the #7 Arkansas Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl. It was the first ten-win season and first top-20 ranking for Kansas State since the 2003 season. After the season Snyder was named the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year and the Sporting News National Coach of the Year, as well as the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.

In 2012, Snyder's Wildcats won the school's sixth conference football championship, and first since 2003. Kansas State also earned the school's first #1 ranking in the BCS standings after starting the season 10–0, before falling to Baylor in its eleventh game of the season.[44][45] The Wildcats earned the conference's automatic berth in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, where the team lost to the #5 Oregon Ducks, 35-17. After the season, Coach Snyder was named the conference coach of the year for the seventh time in his career.[46] He also was awarded the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award for the second time.[47] He and Joe Paterno are the only two-time winners of the award. In the 2013 season, Kansas State snapped a five-game bowl losing streak, beating Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 31–14.[48]

Top 25 rankings

Kansas State University has finished in the final rankings of the AP Poll or Coaches Poll on thirteen occasions throughout its history, including six top-10 finishes. The AP Poll first appeared in 1934, and has been published continuously since 1936. The Coaches Poll began in the 1950–51 season.

In addition to the major polls, the BCS produced rankings from 1998 to 2013, to help select teams for BCS Bowls. The final BCS standings were issued before bowl games. Beginning in 2014, the College Football Playoff committee began issuing rankings to determine which teams were selected for the playoffs.

Kansas State spent four weeks ranked #1 in mid-season Coaches Polls during the 1998 season, and one week ranked #1 in the mid-season BCS standings during the 2012 season, but has not finished with a #1 ranking in a final poll.

Season Final Record Major Polls Others
AP Poll Coaches Poll BCS Standings
CFP Poll
1993 9–2–1 2018
1994 9–3 1916
1995 10–2 76
1996 9–3 1717
1997 11–1 87
1998 11–2 1093
1999 11–1 666
2000 11–3 989
2002 11–2 768
2003 11–4 141310
2011 10–3 15168
2012 11–2 12115
2014 9–4 1818 11

Conference championships

Year Conference
1909[1] Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1910[1] Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1912[1] Kansas Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1934 Big 6 Conference
2003 Big 12 Conference
2012 Big 12 Conference

Home fields

Kansas State's first official playing field was an open public square in Manhattan located at Bluemont Avenue and 8th Street, which it began using in 1897.[5][9] The square hosted Kansas State baseball games and track meets in addition to football contests.[9] The first improvements built at this site were a wooden fence around the square and a wooden covered grandstand, erected in 1901.[9] A new grandstand was built in 1906, along with a small locker room.[9] Seats for football games in the new grandstand were reserved with a charge of $1.00 for the season, plus the admission fee for each game.[9] Construction of Bluemont Elementary School on that plot of land forced Kansas State to move its athletics on campus beginning in 1911.[5][9]

The on-campus football field was located at the southwest corner of the campus and was named Ahearn Field in honor of former coach Mike Ahearn, who had led the football team to a 10-1 record in its last season at the prior field. The covered wooden grandstand and locker room from the old field were moved and used at Ahearn Field.[9]

In 1922, Kansas State opened the first section of Memorial Stadium on the location of Ahearn Field, at a cost of $500,000 USD. The stadium's name was a tribute to Kansas State students who died in World War I. It had a seating capacity of 17,500 when completed, although attendance sometimes exceeded 20,000. By 1967, the school's allegiance outgrew the old stadium, and the team moved to KSU Stadium in 1968.

Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium

KSU Stadium opened its doors September 21, 1968, with a 21–0 victory over Colorado State. It was renamed Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium after head coach Bill Snyder originally retired at the end of the 2005 season.

The original stadium seating capacity was 35,000. An expansion in the summer of 1970 added 4,000 permanent bleachers on the east side and 3,000 temporary bleachers on the west side. Following the 1998 season, the addition of a deck and sky suites on the east side of the stadium increased capacity to more than 50,000.

In 2013, Kansas State opened an entirely new West Side Stadium Center, including a new press box, additional luxury seats, and areas for student-athlete uses (including a dining area). The exterior of the West Side Stadium Center is faced with limestone and features two towers with decorative battlements. In 2015, a facility containing a new locker room and strength training was opened on the north end of the stadium, also featuring limestone and decorative battlements on its exterior.

Kansas State's longest home winning streak in the stadium was a 26-game streak from 1996 to 2000. On November 11, 2000, 53,811 fans witnessed Kansas State's 29–28 win over Nebraska; this remains the largest crowd in the stadium's history, and also the largest attendance for any collegiate sporting event in the state of Kansas.

In August 2015, Kansas State finished a $69 million renovation to the north end zone (Vanier Complex). It includes a new student study area, a 1,800 square foot locker room, and a 10,000 square foot weight room as well as new coaches offices, seating, and a new team entrance area.

Bowl games

Kansas State has appeared in 19 bowl games, posting an overall record of 7–12. Current coach Bill Snyder is 7–9 in the bowl games. The team's first bowl game was the 1982 Independence Bowl, under coach Jim Dickey. The Wildcats lost to the Wisconsin Badgers 14–3 in that contest. The team's next bowl game came in 1993 when Kansas State began a streak of eleven straight bowl appearances under coach Bill Snyder that lasted through the 2003 season. This is the 20th-longest bowl streak in college football history.[49]

Throughout its history, Kansas State has been invited six times to one of the current "New Year's Six" major bowl games (the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, and Chick-fil-A Bowl), including two appearances in BCS games and one appearance in a Bowl Alliance game.

Not included in this tally of bowl games is Kansas State's first "post-season" game, played in 1931 against Wichita State as a fundraiser during the Great Depression.[8] Kansas State won that game 20–6. Also not included is the 1992 "Coca-Cola Bowl" played in Tokyo, Japan, against Nebraska, which was a regular season game.[10]

Pageantry and traditions

The 2006 KSU Marching Band marching to "Wildcat Victory"

Royal Purple

The official color of the University is Royal Purple, which is highlighted in the official fight song, "Wildcat Victory." Kansas State is one of a handful of colleges and universities to have just one official school color. The athletic department commonly uses white or silver as a complementary color.


The dominant color in Kansas State's football uniforms is Royal Purple. The team's home jersey is purple with white lettering, two white stripes around the sleeves, TV numbers on the shoulders, and a white Powercat logo under the collar. K-State's away jersey is white with purple lettering, two purple stripes around the sleeves, TV numbers on the shoulders and a purple Powercat under the collar. Both home and away pants are silver with a white stripe and purple trim down the sides, with a purple Powercat on the front left side of the pants. The team has worn these uniforms from 1989 to 2007, and from 2010 to present.

The uniforms were altered slightly in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the Wildcats introduced purple pants while playing road games. These debuted in the first road game of the season at Louisville. The team wore purple pants every road game in 2008 until the final road game of the season at Missouri, when the Wildcats wore gray pants. On November 15, 2008, Kansas State wore purple pants with purple jerseys at home against Nebraska, marking the first time since 1988 that the team wore all-purple uniforms. The Wildcats warmed up for the Nebraska game with their traditional purple jerseys with gray pants but came out for the game wearing purple pants.

Kansas State has had the same design on its football helmets since 1989: silver with a dark purple Powercat logo on both sides, and a white stripe and purple trim from the front to the rear of the helmet. On each side of the helmet's stripe is the individual player's number. The word "Wildcats" is also written on the back of the helmet at the very bottom. But on Fort Riley Day 2013 there was purple digital camouflage on the helmets.


Willie the Wildcat entertains a young fan

The official mascot for the Kansas State Wildcats is Willie the Wildcat. Willie appears at every football game, home and away, as well as every home men's and women's basketball games, volleyball games, and select baseball games. Willie does one push-up for each point the football team scores, which is followed by a "K!-S!-U! Wildcats!" cheer.

Special event games

Since 1915, Kansas State has hosted an annual Homecoming event for its alumni in conjunction with a home football game. More recently, other events have also developed into traditions.

Once per year the school hosts "Fort Riley Day," when U.S. Army soldiers from nearby Fort Riley are given tickets to the game. During the game, the soldiers receive special recognition. Since 2008, the school's mascot, Willie the Wildcat, has donned digital US Army fatigues in place of his usual football uniform for this game. The Fort Riley game often has high attendance numbers.

During KSU's annual "Harley Day," Willie wears a leather vest or jacket with leather chaps on top of his usual football uniform and rides into Bill Snyder Family Stadium on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, followed by around 50 other K-State fans on motorcycles.

Kansas State also hosts an annual "Band Day" for area high school marching bands.

Slogans and nicknames

A number of slogans and nicknames are associated with Kansas State, including:

Good for a "first down"

In 1992, K-State installed a new press box and the public address announcer began what would become a K-State tradition. After a Wildcat first down, the announcer would say, "Good for a Wildcat first down." Throughout the 1993 season, the P.A. announcer did this ritual alone. However, he said at the beginning of the 1994 season the crowd started to shout it with him. Now, with the addition of the first down and touchdown arm motions, K-State's P.A. announcer no longer even needs to finish the phrase, as the Wildcat fans finish it for him.

Player honors

Former KSU quarterbacks Lynn Dickey and Steve Grogan had their jersey number 11 retired by the university to jointly honor both players. It is the only number retired by the football program.

In 2002, the athletic department inducted the first class into its Ring of Honor. The honored players' names and jersey numbers are on the facade of the east side of the stadium. The first class consisted of Dickey, Grogan, Sean Snyder, Jaime Mendez, Gary Spani and Veryl Switzer.[53]

In 2008, a second class was inducted into the Ring of Honor, consisting of Terence Newman, Martín Gramática, David Allen, and Mark Simoneau.[54]

In 2015, a third class was inducted, consisting of Michael Bishop, Jordy Nelson, Clarence Scott, and Darren Sproles

Televised games

Kansas State's football team has played in some pioneering televised games, including:


Kansas (Sunflower Showdown)

Kansas State and Kansas first played in 1902 and have faced each other every season since 1911, making this the sixth-longest active series in NCAA college football (105 straight years).[55][56] The two rivals compete annually for the Governor's Cup trophy.

Neither school has had sustained excellence at the same time. The only time both schools met as ranked teams was in 1995, when the University of Kansas came into the game 7–0 and ranked #6 in the AP Poll, while Kansas State University was 5–1 and ranked #14. Kansas State beat KU 41–7 in that game. KU leads the all-time series 64–43–5 after the 2015 game, but the rivalry has run in Kansas State's favor since the Governor's Cup series began in 1969, with Kansas State holding a 27–19–1 lead. The University of Kansas disputes the series record because it does not acknowledge its forfeit of a 1980 victory.[57]

Iowa State (Farmageddon)

Kansas State has played Iowa State every year since 1917, making it the eighth-longest active series in NCAA college football (99 straight years). The series record is the closest for Kansas State against any of its old Big Eight Conference rivals, with Iowa State holding a 49–46–4 lead following the 2015 game.

In 2009 and 2010, the two schools played neutral-site games at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and fans and media adopted the name "Farmageddon" for the series. The name alludes to the two schools' agriculture programs. Kansas State University won the first "Farmageddon" game in Kansas City 24–23 in 2009, and won again the following year, 27–20. After 2010 the schools returned to playing on their campuses. Following the 2015 contest, K-State has won 22 of the last 26 games between the two schools.


Kansas State and Nebraska were conference rivals for almost a century, from 1913 to 2010. With only 135 miles separating the two schools, they were the closest cross-border rivals in the Big 8 and Big 12 conferences. The two schools played for the first time in 1911, and then played every year from 1922, making it one of the longest uninterrupted series in college football, until Nebraska moved to the Big Ten Conference in 2011.

All-time, Nebraska leads the one-sided series 78–15–2. Kansas State also lost 29 consecutive games to Nebraska, lasting from 1969 to November 14, 1998, when #1 Kansas State beat #11 Nebraska 40–30. The record between the two schools after that game was less lopsided, with Kansas State going an improved 4-8 in their last 12 games against Nebraska in the Big 12. During that era, the Wildcats and Cornhuskers consistently competed for the Big 12 North championship.

The 1939 contest between the two teams was televised in Manhattan, becoming only the second televised college football game. The 1992 contest was played in Tokyo, Japan, as the Coca-Cola Classic.

Individual awards and honors


The following Kansas State players and coaches are in the College Football Hall of Fame (with induction year):

Kansas State players and coaches have won the following national awards:

Player honors

Michael Bishop – 1998
Collin Klein – 2012
Collin Klein – 2012
Terence Newman – 2002
Chris Canty – 1996
Martín Gramática – 1997
Tyler Lockett – 2014

Coaching honors

Bill Snyder – 1998
Bill Snyder – 2011
Bill Snyder – 1998
Bill Snyder – 2012
Bill Snyder – 1998
Bill Snyder – 1998
Bill Snyder – 2011

Heisman candidates

Year Name Position Rank Points
1970 Lynn Dickey QB 10th 49
1998 Michael Bishop QB 2nd 792
2003 Darren Sproles RB 5th 134
2012 Collin Klein QB 3rd 894


The Big Eight Conference established a Conference Player of the Year award in 1967 and began giving separate offensive and defensive awards in 1971. The Conference Coach of the Year award was established in 1948. These awards have continued into the Big 12 Conference era.

  • Offensive Player of the Year
Collin Klein, QB – 2012
  • Defensive Player of the Year
Tim Colston, DL – 1995
Jeff Kelly, LB – 1998
Mark Simoneau, LB – 1999
Terence Newman, DB – 2002
Arthur Brown, LB – 2012

  • Coach of the Year
Vince Gibson – 1970
Jim Dickey – 1982
Bill Snyder – 1990
Bill Snyder – 1991
Bill Snyder – 1993
Bill Snyder – 1998
Bill Snyder – 2002
Bill Snyder – 2011
Bill Snyder – 2012

Collin Klein, QB – 2013
Tyler Lockett, WR – 2015


Since 1922, Kansas State has produced 30 players who have collected a total of 36 first-team All-American awards, including multiple-year winners.[58]

Jordy Nelson was a consensus All-American for KSU in 2007.
Year Player Position Consensus Unanimous
1922 Ray Hahn Guard
1931 Henry Cronkite End
1934 George Maddox Tackle
1953 Veryl Switzer Back
1970 Clarence Scott Cornerback
1976 Gary Spani Linebacker
1977 Gary Spani Linebacker
Green tick
1992 Sean Snyder Punter
Green tick
1993 Jaime Mendez Safety
Green tick
Thomas Randolph Cornerback
1994 Chad May Quarterback
1995 Chris Canty Cornerback
Green tick
Tim Colston Defensive tackle
1996 Chris Canty Cornerback
Green tick
Green tick
1997 Martin Gramatica Kicker
Green tick
1998 David Allen Returner
Green tick
Michael Bishop Quarterback
Green tick
Martin Gramatica Kicker
Jeff Kelly Linebacker
1999 Mark Simoneau Linebacker
Green tick
David Allen Returner
2000 Mario Fatafehi Defensive tackle
Quincy Morgan Wide receiver
Jamie Rheem Kicker
2002 Terence Newman Cornerback
Green tick
Green tick
Nick Leckey Offensive lineman
2003 Darren Sproles Running back
Nick Leckey Offensive lineman
Josh Buhl Linebacker
2007 Jordy Nelson Wide receiver
Green tick
2010 Corey Adams Long snapper
William Powell Returner
2011 Tyler Lockett Returner
2012 Arthur Brown Linebacker
2014 Tyler Lockett Returner
Green tick
2015 Morgan Burns Returner

A number of other Kansas State players have received other All-American recognition or notable awards, including the following (second- and third-team All-Americans in italics):
Brandon Banks, Jonathan Beasley, Monty Beisel, Barrett Brooks, Larry Brown, Jerametrius Butler, Rock Cartwright, Lamar Chapman, Andre Coleman Jarrod Cooper, Lynn Dickey, Zac Diles, Maurice Elder, Josh Freeman, Yamon Figurs, Percell Gaskins, Steve Grogan, Mack Herron Darren Howard, Collin Klein, Ben Leber, Ryan Lilja, Aaron Lockett, Kevin Lockett, Matthew McCrane, Jon McGraw, Damion McIntosh, Shad Meier, Ryan Mueller, Frank Murphy, Terry Pierce, Ell Roberson, Josh Scobey, Daniel Thomas, Todd Weiner, Rashad Washington, Ryan Young, Ty Zimmerman

Retired number

Retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
11 Lynn Dickey Quarterback 1968–70
Steve Grogan Quarterback 1972–74

Individual accomplishments

Wildcats in the NFL

Former Wildcat Larry Brown was NFL MVP in 1972

NFL accomplishments

KSU individual program records

Kansas State records through the 2015 season[65]





Special Teams

All-time records versus all conferences

Current Division I FBS conferences

Conference Wins Losses Ties Win %
ACC 3 1 0 .750
Big Ten 6 21 0 .222
Big 12 103 68 0 .602
Conference USA 7 0 0 1.000
MAC 8 3 0 .727
Pac-12 7 10 0 .412
SEC 3 14 0 .176
Sun Belt 11 1 0 .917

Former Division I conferences

Conference Wins Losses Ties Win %
Big East Conference (formerly Div. IA football) 4 6 0 .400
Big Eight Conference 127 350 21 .276
Big West (formerly Div. IA football) 10 2 0 .833
Border Conference 0 8 1 .056
Missouri Valley* 22 20 1 .523
Mountain States Conference 5 7 0 .417
Southern Conference 1 1 0 .500
Southwest Conference 7 13 0 .350
WAC (formerly Div. IA football) 13 12 0 .520
* Following the split of the Big Six Conference in 1928.

Records against Big 12 Conference teams

Team Wins Losses Ties Win % Streak
Baylor Bears 8 6 0 .571 W 1
Iowa State Cyclones 47 49 4 .490 W 9
Kansas Jayhawks 44 64 5 .412 W 8
Oklahoma Sooners 19 73 4 .219 L 2
Oklahoma State Cowboys 21 39 0 .350 L 2
TCU Horned Frogs 4 5 0 .444 L 2
Texas Longhorns 10 7 0 .588 W 1
Texas Tech Red Raiders 8 9 0 .471 W 1
West Virginia Mountaineers 5 2 0 .714 L 1
Total 161 247 13 .398

Records against former Big 12 teams

Team Wins Losses Ties Win %
Colorado Buffaloes 20 45 1 .311
Nebraska Cornhuskers 15 76 3 .176
Missouri Tigers 32 60 5 .356
Texas A&M Aggies 7 8 0 .467
Total 74 189 9 .289

Records against other most-played Division I opponents (min 5 games)

Team Wins Losses Ties Win %
Arizona 1 5 1 .214
Arizona State 1 5 0 .167
Arkansas 3 3 0 .500
Brigham Young 4 4 0 .500
Cincinnati 2 4 0 .333
Colorado State 5 1 0 .833
Indiana 2 3 0 .400
Iowa 1 5 0 .167
Louisiana–Lafayette 4 1 0 .800
Michigan State 0 5 1 .083
New Mexico 1 4 0 .200
North Texas 6 1 0 .857
Northern Illinois 4 2 0 .667
Tulsa 6 11 1 .361
Utah State 2 3 0 .400
Washington 1 4 0 .200
Wyoming 4 4 0 .500

Recruiting history

Kansas State Wildcats' football Scout.com and Rivals.com national recruiting rankings:

Class Scout.com rank Rivals.com rank Top-ranked commit(s)
2016 72 80 Skylar Thompson / Byron Pringle
2015 48 45 Duke Shelley
2014 54 47 Terrell Clinkscales
2013 68 66 Tanner Wood
2012 106 59 Will Davis / Marquez Clark
2011 61 69 Ian Seau
2010 99 63 Tre Walker / DeMarcus Robinson
2009 112 93 Thomas Ferguson
2008 45 27 Wade Weibert / Aubrey Quarles
2007 55 38 Gary Chandler
2006 48 43 Josh Freeman
2005 46 36 Jonathan Lewis
2004 48 32 Matt Boss
2003 51 60 Jermaine Moreira / Marvin Simmons
2002 42 14 Daniel Davis

Conference membership history

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of January 28, 2016

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
Central Arkansas UT-San Antonio Bowling Green Vanderbilt Stanford Tulane Arizona @ Arizona
Charlotte Mississippi State @ Mississippi State Buffalo @ Tulane
@ Vanderbilt South Dakota


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Kansas State Composite Championships" (English). College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  2. "NCAA Football Award Winners" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2014. pp. 13–18. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  3. Kansas State University Brand Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  4. "AP Poll Streaks". College Poll Archive. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  5. 1 2 3 Stallard, Mark (2000). Wildcats to Powercats: K-State Football Facts and Trivia. ISBN 1-58497-004-9.
  6. Kansas State University: A Pictorial History, 1863-1963 (Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University), 1962.
  7. 1 2 Olson, Kevin (2012). Frontier Manhattan. University Press of Kansas. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-7006-1832-3.
  8. 1 2 3 Evans, Harold (1940). "College Football in Kansas". Kansas Historical Quarterly. 9 (3): 285–311. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Willard, Julius (1940). History of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Kansas State College Press.
  10. 1 2 "Year-by-Year Results for Kansas State" (English). KStatesports.com. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  11. "Aggie Champions". The Daily (Manhattan) Nationalist. November 29, 1912.
  12. "The Aggies Won: Washburn Decisively Beaten in Championship Game". Manhattan Mercury. November 29, 1912.
  13. "Manhattan In Tie With Kansas State". The New York Times. October 7, 1934.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Looney, Douglas (September 4, 1989). "Futility U". Sports Illustrated.
  15. "Televised Game". Morning Chronicle. Manhattan, Kansas. October 28, 1939.
  16. Janssen, Mark (October 7, 2010). "Purple Pride vs. Big Red - 4-0 vs. 4-0". Kansas State Wildcats. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  17. 1 2 3 "Game-by-Game Results for Kansas State". James Howell. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  18. Fitzgerald, Tim (2001). Wildcat Gridiron Guide: Past & Present Stories About K-State Football. ISBN 0-9703458-0-1.
  19. http://cjonline.com/stories/100700/end_seriesmemories.shtml#.WBz3lIWcHIU
  20. Kansas State Coaching Records
  21. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/coaches/doug-weaver-1.html
  22. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1964-schedule.html
  23. "Sanctions Still Trouble Cats' Gibson". The Topeka Capital-Journal. October 14, 2000.
  24. https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/2761441/
  25. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/coaches/ellis-rainsberger-1.html
  26. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1982-schedule.html
  27. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1983-schedule.html
  28. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1984-schedule.html
  29. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1985-schedule.html
  30. http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=204990350
  31. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/coaches/jim-dickey-1.html
  32. http://cjonline.com/sports/catzone/2016-10-20/trip-time-30-years-ago-stan-parrish-bags-only-big-eight-win-first-season-k
  33. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1986-schedule.html
  34. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/1987-schedule.html
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  36. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/19326/KANSAS-STATE-GRID-COACH-RESIGNS.html?pg=all
  37. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/big12/2005-12-04-prince-official_x.htm
  38. "Ron Prince Will Not Return for 2009". November 5, 2008. Archived from the original (English) on December 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  39. http://www.espn.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/101363/kansas-state-faces-critical-crossroads-when-bill-snyder-finally-retires
  40. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/2009-schedule.html
  41. College football losses fact
  42. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/2010-schedule.html
  43. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/2011-schedule.html
  44. http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/kansas-state/2012-schedule.html
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  47. http://cjonline.com/sports/2012-12-31/snyder-wins-bobby-dodd-coach-year-honor
  48. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bowls/2013/12/29/kansas-state-wildcats-michigan-wolverines-buffalo-wild-wings-bowl/4238993/
  49. "College Bowl Streaks". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  50. http://www.kstatesports.com/trads/traditions.html EMAW origination
  51. "Wildcats defense puts smackdown on McCoy, Longhorns". ESPN.com. September 30, 2007.
  52. "Lynch Mob History"
  53. 2002 Ring of Honor
  54. 2008 Ring of Honor
  55. Olson, Kevin (December 2, 2014). "1910: The lost year of the Sunflower Showdown". The Manhattan Mercury. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
  56. NCAA's 2013 FBS Record Book (English), NCAA, retrieved July 8, 2014
  57. "Sports People". New York Times. August 27, 1982. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  58. "Kansas State Football: All-Americans". kstatesports.com. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
  59. 1 2 "Fourteen Former Wildcats Land on NFL Rosters". KStatesports.com. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  60. "Rooks Drafted By Saints; Cats Hold Big 12-Best Draft Streak". kstatesports.com. Retrieved 2014-05-11.
  61. "Which Big 12 Schools Has Most Starting NFL QBs?". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  62. "Josh Freeman: Player Bio". NFL.com. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
  63. "Quarterback U: Which school deserves the title?". Altoona Mirror. Aug 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  64. "Kansas State players in the NFL". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  65. "Kansas State Football Records". KStatesports.com. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  66. "Kansas State versus Conferences". Chris Stassen. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
  67. "Kansas State Wildcats Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08.

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