The university adopted the nickname "Wildcats" in 1915 after being previously known as the "Aggies." Head coach Zora G. Clevenger changed the team's nickname to the "Farmers" from 1916 to 1919, but it was changed back to "Wildcats" permanently in 1920 by coach Charlie Bachman.
Bill Snyder is the all-time leader in seasons coached at KSU with 22, more than double the next highest. Snyder is also the leader in games coached (268) and total wins (177) through the end of the 2013 regular season. Mike Ahearn has the highest overall winning percentage of any Wildcat coach, at .755 over his six seasons. Sam Francis is the worst coach in program history in terms of winning percentage, as he lost every one of the ten games he coached during his only season at Kansas State. Among coaches who served more than one season, Stan Parrish has the lowest winning percentage with .076 after completing three seasons with a record of 2–30–1. Charles Bachman and Pappy Waldorf have both been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as coaches. Coaches Zora G. Clevenger, Alvin "Bo" McMillin and Sam Francis were inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame as players. Snyder is the only coach to have won post-season major national coach of the year honors while at Kansas State.
^Although the first Rose Bowl Game was played in 1902, it has been continuously played since the 1916 game, and is recognized as the oldest bowl game by the NCAA. "—" indicates any season prior to 1916 when postseason games were not played.
^A running total of the number of head coaches, with coaches who served separate tenures being counted only once. Interim head coaches are represented with "Int" and are not counted in the running total. "—" indicates the team played but either without a coach or no coach is on record. "X" indicates an interim year without play.
^Overtime rules in college football were introduced in 1996, making ties impossible in the period since.
^When computing the win–loss percentage, a tie counts as half a win and half a loss.
^"Aggie Championship", The Daily (Manhattan) Nationalist, November 29, 1912
^National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2011). Bowl/All-Star Game Records (PDF). Indianapolis, Indiana: NCAA. pp. 5–10. Archived from the original on August 22, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
^"Kansas State's Dickey resigns under pressure". Lakeland Ledger (Lakeland, Florida). The Associated Press. 1985-09-16. p. 3D. Retrieved 2010-04-28. Jim Dickey, after losing his first two games in a self-described make-or-break season, resigned under pressure Sunday as Kansas State football coach and will be replaced by assistant athletic director Lee Moon.