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Kansas State athletics, 1902-03: Basketball!

It was awful, but it was finally on campus.

Cyrus Dietz, the seventh of the nine one-year football coaches.
Cyrus Dietz, the seventh of the nine one-year football coaches.
wikipedia/public domain

The fall of 1902 brought yet another new face to the KSAC Aggie sideline. Cyrus Dietz, fresh with his law degree from Northwestern after four years on the team and two as a captain, arrived in Manhattan to try to make something happen.

Something happened, all right. Something bad.

The season started with two games on the road, both 16-0 losses. The first was at KTSC (Emporia State); the second was the very first meeting between KSAC and the arch-enemy from Lawrence. The following week, another Lawrence team visted Manhattan and beat the Aggies even worse as Haskell departed with a 23-0 victory. Two more home losses followed as KSAC suffered a 6-0 loss to Fort Riley and a 15-0 setback against Ottawa, and then the losing streak hit six with a 40-0 drubbing at Bethany.

After a couple of weeks off, KSAC finally ended the season on a good note, getting even with Haskell 24-0, again in Manhattan, and then ended a three-game streak of 0-0 ties with Chapman High School by posting a 22-5 win. Still, it was the worst season of KSAC football to date.

Dietz, whose brother would coach the Aggies in 1903, later went into law practice with said brother in Moline, Ill. In 1928, he was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court, but died only a year later after being injured falling from a horse. But we’ll have more on the tragic tale of the Dietz boys in our next installment.

Running total: 11-21-5, 8-21 against colleges

After the new year dawned, so did a new sport: basketball became an official varsity offering. The team, whose initial coach is unknown, only played five games. They lost them all. The first two losses were absurdly horrific: a 60-7 loss at home to Haskell followed two weeks later by a 52-5 loss in Topeka to the local YMCA club. But the team did improve, losing by 14 at both Bethany and McPherson before ending the year with a 10-point loss at home to Baker.

However, the school would not field a team in the following two years, perhaps owing to the humiliating exercise of 1903.

Running total: 0-5, 0-4 against colleges

Baseball, on the other hand, was slowly becoming a minor success story. In the final year for which we don’t know the identity of the team’s coach, the Aggies managed to win 8 of 13 contests, and more importantly taking 3 of 5 on the road.

The following year, however, would mark the first appearance in our narrative of the first deeply important individual in K-State’s athletic history.

Running total: 31-39