Some Manhattan locals hope to honor K-State ‘icon’ Robert Lipson in a special way

Alumni from K-State are behind a movement to get Wildcat superfan Robert Lipson a legacy seat in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

In Bill Snyder Family Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum, you are just as likely to see Kansas State ultra-fan Robert Lipson as you are to see Willie the Wildcat.

Since 1972, Lipson has attended every home football game, and in 1973 he added away conference games to his calendar as well. His dedication, even when K-State was dubbed the most losing team in college football history, more or less speaks for itself.

“The dedication he had at that time, especially on the football side of it, oh my gosh, we were not fun to watch,” Karl Kunz, a K-State alumni, said. “He went above and beyond during the time when it would have been hard to have that dedication.”

And now, a group of Manhattan locals hope to make sure Lipson’s presence is felt in Bill Snyder Family Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum for generations to come.

“For us to not try to do something now while he’s alive here I think would be ignorant of us, to not recognize the commitment, the dedication and the loyalty,” Brad Drewek, a Manhattan local, said. “I think us as fans, to give credit to Robert for the sacrifices that he’s [made], I think it would just be a great token and a great class act by us as a community.”

Inspired by the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat in Kauffman Stadium and the new Lamar Hunt Legacy Seat in Arrowhead Stadium, Kunz said they want to honor Lipson’s dedication to the K-State family by introducing a legacy seat named after him in both of K-State Athletics’ major sporting complexes.

“What the Royals did with Buck O’Neil and the Chiefs also have a Lamar Hunt one, that was kind of where the talk amongst tailgates always was,” Drewek said. “If this was a bridge, he’s that keystone. He’s holding the bridge from generation to generation of fans.”

But this conversation about honoring Lipson is not new. Kunz said the idea has been floating around at tailgates for years.

“This has been talked about before, but nothing ever came of it,” Kunz said.

K-State superfan Robert Lipson, who travels to virtually every road football and basketball game, flashes a sign claiming the state of Kansas for K-State in KU's Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, during the women's basketball game against the Jayhawks in 2016. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

This time around, it all started with a post in the “You know you are from Manhattan if…” Facebook group. The post, Drewek said, was like a foot in the door.

“In one day, [we got] 345 likes,” Drewek said.

Kunz said the volume of responses and support for the idea was unexpected.

“That wasn’t my intention to start with, but I like the direction it went,” Kunz said.

If the seats were to be established, Kunz and Drewek have some ideas of who could be nominated to sit in Lipson’s Legacy Seat. For starters, they want to be sure individuals who would watch a game from that seat are selected for their commitment to the K-State family and the community.

“I like it to be that idea of charity, and all I mean by that is who’s giving back to the community. Not so much in money, but in time. I would hate for something … associated with this seat to be about giving money somewhere,” Kunz said. “I want it to be tied more to what they gave back to their community.”

Right now, K-State Athletics has not been included in the conversation about designating the seat, but Drewek and Kunz both said they are excited about the new momentum in the community to get it done.

“We’d be interested to hear, if K-State wanted to take over this thing, what ideas they’d have,” Kunz said.

For now, Kunz and Drewek say they’re looking forward to seeing Lipson recognized for his commitment to the Wildcats. Maybe someday a seat can be added to the baseball stadium as well, Kunz said, since Lipson recently added several of the baseball games to his regular traveling calendar.

“It gets me excited because this is like the beginning,” Kunz said. “While this thing has got momentum, let’s see if we can keep pushing it. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the ex-managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.