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Discover the Stories Behind K-State's Nickname, Willie the Wildcat Mascot, Gameday Traditions and More
- Location - Manhattan, Kansas
- Conference - Big 12
- School Colors - Royal Purple
- Fight Song - "Wildcat Victory Song"
Kansas State Nickname: Wildcats
Kansas State has certainly seen its fair share of nickname changes throughout its athletic history. It all began with the "Aggies," which lasted for the first 19 seasons of competition. However, when new coach John "Chief" Bender came aboard in 1915, he decided to change things up and gave his squad the name "Wildcats." While this nickname only lasted for one season, it would come back into play down the road. In 1917, the team became known as the "Farmers," but by 1920, another new coach, Charles Bachman, took over and decided to reignite the "Wildcats" name. This time, the moniker stuck, and Kansas State has proudly worn it ever since. The ever-changing world of sports is no match for K-State's beloved feline nickname.
Kansas State Gear
Discover daily specials and new arrivals for Kansas State shirts, caps, collectibles and more for your home, office or the special Wildcat on your shopping list.
K-State Mascot: Willie the Wildcat
The fIgure found prowling the sidelines of Wildcat games is a creature that resembles half animal and half man. However, assigning the mystery to the X-Files would rank as a hoax since it's just K-State's mascot, Willie. Sporting a Wildcat head and a football uniform, the costumed mascot displays wildcat strength at K-State football games when he does push ups each time his team scores. The amount that Willie knocks out equals the number of Wildcat points on the scoreboard.
Wildcat Gameday Traditions
K-State First Downs
A game day tradition that K-State claims to have originated is one that fans coast to coast love to scream out when their team makes a first down. Those who have ever shouted, "First down!", when the referee makes the signal, perhaps owe this joyful moment to a group of purple-clad fans.
This is how it's done Wildcat style. After the team makes a first down, K-State's stadium announcer, Ivan Wilkinson says, "Good for another Wildcat ... " and the rest of the Wildcat fans yell "first down" while pointing in the direction their beloved team is headed.
Singing This Song is a MUST!
For K-State fans, the Wabash Cannonball is more than just a song. It's a symbol of resilience and tradition. Composed as a tribute to America's hobos, the Cannonball found a new home in the heart of the Wildcat faithful in 1968. That year, the Music Department was devastated by a fire that destroyed all of their sheet music - except for one copy of the Wabash Cannonball. The song's survival became a powerful metaphor for the enduring spirit of K-State, and it quickly became a beloved tradition. For generations of fans, the Cannonball is more than just a second fight song - it's a testament to the power of perseverance and community.
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