Former Kansas State Coach Talks About Wildcats, Tradition

Three former Kansas State basketball coaches took their teams to the NCAA Sweet 16. Dana Altman is going to the final 4 and has fond memories of days in Manhattan.

Altman’s Oregon team stunned Kansas in Saturday’s Elite Eight. He led Kansas State basketball in the early 90s.

He was also an assistant to Lon Kruger in 1988 one of the best seasons in Wildcat history.

Altman reminisced about playing the “chickenhawks” during Friday’s NCAA Elite-Eight media briefing as reported by  “Kansas State has great tradition,” he said.

Mar 23, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman speaks during a press conference after the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the semifinals of the midwest Regional of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Oregon defeated Michigan 69-68. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The ’88 team that included Hall Famer Mitch Richmond won 25-games that season and finished a game back of the Sooners for second place in the Big 8 Conference.

Kansas finished a distant third.

The Wildcats faced Kansas four times that season.

Kansas State won the game in Lawrence and lost by a single point 64-63 at Ahearn Field House.

The Wildcats also won their battle in the conference tournament at Kemper Arena in Kansas City by 15 points.

Most fans thought the story was over. No more games with the birds that season. They were wrong.

As luck would have it, the teams met in the Regional final with a trip to the final four on the line.

Following a double-digit win on March 12, 1988 and facing a team with double-digit losses what could go wrong for the ‘Cats? This was going to be one of the biggest NCAA tournament wins ever.

It didn’t happen the way Wildcat fans wanted.

Kansas State fell short that day 71-58 in the regional final in Detroit. Other than the 2010 loss to Butler, the Wildcats have not been that close to the final four since.

Altman’s Wildcats were a mediocre 68-54 from1990-94. He surprised a few people when he left Manhattan.

Following the 1993-94 season, he took the ‘Cats to the NIT final-four. A few days later, he resigned to take the head coaching job at Creighton. He took over the Ducks in 2011 and is finally getting a trip to the Final 4.