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Kansas State athletics, 1907-08: basketball’s nadir

Football and baseball maintained their progress, though.

Duff Cooley of the Topeka White Sox
Duff Cooley of the Topeka White Sox
Library of Congress

KSAC Football took another very small step back in 1907, but it didn’t result in a losing season. Only one game was played away from home, a 29-10 loss in Lawrence to the hated Jayhawks on October 26. A puzzling loss two weeks earlier to Haskell marred the record, while a fifth-straight loss to Washburn on November 5 was morbidly unsurprising.

At home, the Aggies vanquished the usual suspects — College of Emporia, Ottawa, Wichita, Emporia State — and a new victim, Kansas City Veterinary.

The following year, though, the schedule would undergo a marked change.

Running total: 31-38-6, 25-38-1 against colleges

On the hardwood, things fell apart. Only once -- on February 14 at home against what was effectively a semi-pro team from Glasco — did the Aggies win. They suffered a home loss to Highland Park College, a predecessor to the now-closed Des Moines University. Nebraska and Kansas dispatched the Aggies, which was probably not surprising; that KSAC dropped two games against Ottawa, two against Washburn, and two against Bethany? That was unconscionable. Ultimately, the Aggies suffered through a 1-12 campaign, the worst two months of Mike Ahearn’s professional career.

Things would rapidly improve in 1909, however.

Running total: 12-31, 5-25 against colleges

After a four-loss campaign in 1907, KSAC only lost twice (plus a tie) in 1908. Of course, they’d played 23 games in 1907 and only 15 in 1908, but it all worked out.

One loss was a 9-3 setback against the Western Association’s Topeka White Sox — who would shortly thereafter change their name to the Jayhawkers, and would win the 1908 Western Association title with a record of 89-50. Topeka sported the services of former major leaguer Duff Cooley, who’d spent 13 years with the Browns, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, and Tigers. So that loss can and should be forgiven. The Aggies also lost 3-1 to Washburn and suffered a 2-2 tie against Saint Mary’s.

They roared through the rest of the schedule. Both the Washburn loss and Saint Mary’s tie were avenged on the road, and Emporia State was also vanquished in Emporia; KSAC did not lose on the road in 1908. William Jewell, College of Emporia, Southwestern, and Kansas Wesleyan all fell victim at home, and on June 6 the Aggies ended their campaign with another first: a home doubleheader against the Jayhawks. It was a sweep for KSAC, taking down Kansas 2-1 and 1-0.

Running total: 93-63-2, 88-60-2 against colleges