KSV Hessen Kassel is a German association football club based in Kassel, Hesse. The club was founded as FC Union 93 Kassel in 1893 and just two years later joined FC Hassia 93 Cassel to form Casseler FV 95. In 1919, fusion with VfK Kassel created SV Kurhessen Kassel.
It was as Kurhessen that the club joined the Gauliga Hessen, one of sixteen top flight divisions established in the re-organization of German football in 1933 under the Third Reich. They were relegated at the end of the 1935–36 season and made their way back in 1938, but continued to perform poorly, narrowly missing relegation in subsequent seasons. They earned their best result in 1942 in the newly formed Gauliga Kurhessen, finishing just two points shy of division winners 1. SV Borussia 04 Fulda. In 1944, they joined CSC 03 Kassel to form the combined wartime side KSG SV Kurhessen/CSC 03 Kassel and again finished two points behind the division leaders, this time in third place on goal difference. The Gauliga Kurhessen was re-organized into three groups for the following season and the club assigned to the Gruppe Kassel, but the region was overtaken by World War II, bringing a stop to league play.
After the war, SVKK was one of a number of clubs merged to form the Gründung der Sportgruppe Süd, an association active in a number of sports. This club became VfL Kassel in 1946, and finally, merged with Kasseler SV Kassel in November 1947 to become today's KSV Hessen Kassel.
Kassel quickly established themselves as a stolid, but largely unremarked, second tier side. They played their way into what was at the time the first tier Oberliga Süd and then found themselves in the Regionalliga Süd (II) after the formation in 1963 of Germany's new premier level professional league, the Bundesliga. A first place Regionalliga finish in 1964 saw them compete unsuccessfully in the promotion rounds for the Bundesliga. The club continued to play tier II ball until the mid 70's when their performance dropped them to Amateur Oberliga Hessen (III) until the start of the next decade brought an advance to the 2.Bundesliga. Through the 80's, the team flirted with promotion to the senior circuit, but could never quite put themselves over the top. In 1985 the club just missed being promoted: a loss to Nurenburg (0:2) in the last game of the season against wins by three other clubs in the hunt saw Kassel left behind.
Those runs at the Bundesliga in the 80's, alongside an advance to the quarter final of the German Cup in 1991, represent the apex of the team's achievement. The club was bankrupted in 1993 and the football side set off on its own as FC Hessen Kassel. They too had financial problems and in 1998 also found themselves bankrupt, but this time plunged all the way down to Kreisliga Hessen A (VIII). Kassel began their recovery by going unbeaten over the course of the next two seasons and advanced to the Oberliga Hessen (IV) which they won in 2005–06 to earn a promotion to the Regionalliga (III). In 2007–2008 they failed to qualify for the new 3rd Liga, remaining in the Regionaliga Süd, now tier four. They came close to promotion once more in 2010-11 but narrowly failed finishing third.
At the end of the 2011-12 season the club was grouped into the new Regionalliga Südwest, which replaced the Regionalliga Süd in the region. In 2012–13 the club won the inaugural championship of the new league and qualified for the promotion play off to the 3. Liga.
With the introduction of the Regionalligas in 1994 and the 3. Liga in 2008 as the new third tier, below the 2. Bundesliga, all leagues below dropped one tier. Also in 2008, the majority of football leagues in Hesse were renamed, with the Oberliga Hessen becoming the Hessenliga, the Landesliga becoming the Verbandsliga, the Bezirksoberliga becoming the Gruppenliga and the Bezirksliga becoming the Kreisoberliga. In 2012, the number of Regionalligas was increased from three to five with all Regionalliga Süd clubs except the Bavarian ones entering the new Regionalliga Südwest.