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Kansas State athletics, 1903-04: a misleading record

Baseball continued to be decent, while football gave false hope.

G.O. Dietz, the man who replaced his own brother.
G.O. Dietz, the man who replaced his own brother.
wikipedia/public domain

In 1902, Cyrus Dietz had overseen a horrific season while his older brother was running the sideline at Drake University in Des Moines. In 1903, the elder Dietz took over in Manhattan, and at first glance appeared to have done some good.

G.O. Dietz, born Godlove Orth, was four years older than Cyrus. G.O. delayed his entry into Northwestern University a few years, and as a result the two brothers actually played together for three years. G.O. then headed to Drake, where the Bulldogs went 4-3-1 including a season-ending 47-0 destruction of Grinnell. Both schools, of course, would later be in the same conference as KSAC.

The season started poorly, though. The Aggies fought KTSC (Emporia State) to a scoreless tie at home before traveling to Lawrence for their only road game of the season and getting mauled 34-0 by the Squawks. A three-week break ended with an 18-0 loss to Bethany, but G.O. recorded his first win a week later in an 11-0 victory over Clyde High School. Washburn called and won 34-0, and then the Aggies posted an 11-0 win over Fort Riley. That score was reversed a week later when College of Emporia visited, and the season ended with a 34-6 whipping of Haskell.

Of course, if you’re paying attention, you see the problem. KSAC did, in fact, post a 3-4-1 record on the year. But two of those wins were over non-collegiate competition, taking off some of the shine... and giving an indication of what was about to transpire in 1904.

We previously told you about the tragic death of Cyrus Dietz, only 53 when he fell from a horse and died in September of 1929. The thing is, his brother was already dead. G.O. had passed away only six months earlier, at the age of 56.

Running total: 14-25-6, 9-25-1 against colleges

Spring, however, was much kinder. It wasn’t as successful a campaign as the previous year, with the record slipping by one game in the loss column to 8-6.

The important part of our story in this year, though, is that we finally know who the head coach of the baseball team was: none other than Michael Francis Ahearn.

Ahearn had attended Massachusetts Agricultural College, which is now the University of Massachusetts. He was a deft athlete, lettering in all three major sports plus hockey. He came straight to Manhattan after graduation, and within three years he would literally be running the entire athletic department. But it was baseball where Ahearn truly made his mark. He would helm the diamond nine for seven glorious seasons, and by the time he departed the baseball team would sport a winning all-time record which would remain that way until the mid-1960s when the disastrous 14-year tenure of Ray Wauthier finally reached its nadir.

Running total: 39-45