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May 06

K-State Traditions Explained

Posted on May 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM by Tarra Rotstein

Manhattan is home to Big 12 Sports and who doesn't love to cheer on the Cats? Whether it is football, volleyball, basketball or baseball, the best place to celebrate a win is Aggieville. Learn more about the history of some of our favorite K-State Traditions. 

Let’s start with Aggieville, how did the oldest shopping district in Kansas get its name. To say that is a complicated answer is an understatement, two main theories are out there. Either way though the name caught on somewhere between 1910 and 1920 and it has more than stuck.


Theory 1: Kansas State Agricultural College students had sporting teams and called themselves the “Aggies.” Therefore, where the “Aggies” would hang out would be called Aggieville. Although many  think it was a negative term, because Moro and N. Manhattan were both dirt roads at the time. (Info Via: Aggieville Archives)


Theory 2: It started with a cookie salesman who addressed a letter to a business in the area and noted as a joke the location as “Aggieville.” The letter was posted in the business’s window and the name caught on from there. (Info Via: Aggieville Archives)

Either way the best place to celebrate a Wildcat Victory remains Aggieville.  

Now you might be asking where did the idea for Willie the Wildcat come in and how long was K-State known as the “Aggies”?


Kansas State athletic teams played for 19 seasons using the name the “Aggies”. Around 1915 new coach, John “Chief” Bender, started to nickname the team “Wildcats.” This lasted for his one season as coach. Then Coach Z.G. Clever took over and the school became known as the “Farmers” for a few seasons. In 1920, Coach Charles Bachman started coaching and the team went back to the name the “Wildcats.” (Info via: K-State Sports)

Who is Willie the Wildcat? 

Willie the Wildcat is the No. 1 fan for K-State appearing at most sporting events, homecoming, campus celebration, town events and more. Willie is a student in an oversized Wildcat head, traditionally the student’s identity is kept secret and that still holds true today. (K-State Sports)

There are dozens of K-State traditions, what is your favorite tradition?


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