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Kansas State athletics, 1914-15: Lowman’s end

The athletic program overall hit its lowest ebb of the pre-World War II era.

Eddell Jones, all-Missouri Valley guard, pictured lower left.
Eddell Jones, all-Missouri Valley guard, pictured lower left.
Kansas State University Department of Veterinary Medicine/PD

The second turn through the Missouri Valley was even worse than the first for the KSAC Aggies, and it would have dire consequences.

The season kicked off with a 15-0 home win over Southwestern, but a 0-0 tie with Emporia Normal a week later was a harbinger of what was to come. Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, combined to outscore the Aggies 124-13. The losing streak extended to five with a 26-16 season-ending loss to Washburn.

That left KSAC with a 1-5-1 record, 0-3 in the conference — dead last. On the bright side, it would be 25 years before a team approaching this level of futility took the field in Manhattan.

It would also be the last time Guy Lowman coached an Aggie football game, which we’ll get to shortly. His final record as a football coach was 17-15-3.

Running total: 71-58-9, 65-58-4 against colleges, 0-5 Missouri Valley

Basketball also suffered through a miserable season, struggling to a 6-12 record. Four games were non-conference affairs; they split two with Washburn, beat Bethany, and lost to Saint Mary’s. It was against conference foes that the Aggies truly struggled.

The conference slate opened with four straight losses, dropping two-game weekend sets at home against Nebraska and Kansas. The following weekend, Washington (MO) came to town and were defeated twice, and a few days later the Aggies won the first of two games at Kansas.

But they lost the second, as well as two home games against Missouri. Then came the road loss to Washburn and the home loss to Saint Mary’s already referenced, and a pair of losses at home to Iowa State. The season-ending trip to Missouri resulted in one win, but a loss in the finale doomed KSAC to a 4-10 Valley record. That was good for fifth place out of seven teams.

Despite the poor season, senior guard Eddell C. Jones was named a first-team Valley selection. Jones later became a captain in the Army during World War II and earned the Distinguished Service Award from K-State’s Department of Veterinary Science in 1958. He made a career as a vet in Gothensburg, Neb., and later became the president of Norden Laboratories in Lincoln.

Running total: 69-68, 61-61 against colleges, 11-15 Missouri Valley

A caveat: this season’s information is entirely from the media guide, as the 1916 Royal Purple failed to provide the detailed recap of the previous season to which we’ve become accustomed. Delving through newspapers, it’s clear that at the very least one home game against Missouri and one road game against Kansas are missing from the media guide.

At least the baseball team managed a winning season, albeit a very short one. The non-conference slate featured wins over Bethany and Haskell, losses to Kansas Wesleyan and those pesky Chinese University of Honolulu frauds.

In conference play, Iowa State was swept, while the Jayhawks swept their first two from the Aggies. The final three games involved a split with Missouri at home (the loss missing from the media guide), and then the Aggies hit the road for pairs of games at Kansas and Missouri. KSAC beat Kansas once; the other game is unknown. The second game against Missouri was rained out following a 2-0 loss to the Tigers. The final tally, as best as we can piece together: 6-6, 4-4 in the Valley. Kansas won the title, but we do not know where KSAC finished.

After the baseball season, Lowman stepped down from his head coaching duties entirely. He would remain in Manhattan for a year assisting the new men, but afterward he left for Indiana. He coached basketball in Bloomington for one season then went to Wisconsin. In Madison, he coached basketball for three years and football for the war-ravaged 1918 season, but became a Badger legend by spending 12 seasons as the head coach of the baseball team. He then remained on faculty at Wisconsin, heading up the physical education department, until he died in 1943 at the age of 66. In 1952, the baseball stadium at Wisconsin was named in his honor. The Badgers played there until 1971 before moving to a new stadium; the program was abandoned in 1991.

Lowman’s final record as head baseball coach was 32-26-1, as far as we can determine.

Running total: 166-100-3, 147-91-3 against colleges, 8-9-1 Missouri Valley

Track, on the other hand, we have a clear record of from the yearbook. The Aggies, coached by Merner, posted dual-meet wins over Emporia Normal, Oklahoma, and Kansas; only a loss to Missouri marred the record. That loss was a bad one, as the Aggies fell 71-38. At the Missouri Valley meet in Columbia, the Aggies came in fourth place; the championship was won by Missouri, aided by a world-record tying performance in the high hurdles by Tiger sophomore Robert Simpson. To the surprise of nobody reading this, the Valley high jump champion was Herbert Frizzell of KSAC.