Five years ago, the Kansas State University family lost one of their greatest friends, fans and a champion of all things purple. Shwan Alkhatib, commonly referred to as “Fatty” or Fatty4KSU throughout the Kansas State community, died tragically in March 2012. A man whose creative talents told the story of K-State’s athletic resurgence was gone far too soon.
Shwan Alkhatib (Fatty) was not only a great friend to many in the Manhattan community, but was also a man considered to be K-State’s biggest fan, and most ardent supporter. Fatty knew the ins and outs of all things K-State football, and every opponent on the upcoming schedule.
Ben Trenary, a Manhattan Native, and best friend to Shwan describes what he meant to him and to Wildcat Nation:
Shwan was the biggest K-State fan I knew. He knew every score for football games going back to 1996. He was obsessed with K-State football. He knew all the players and he knew every Big XII team inside and out. “Fatty” started posting on college sports message boards in 2000 or 2001 and it did not take him long to gain a reputation. He was banned from a lot of them pretty quickly, but his persistence, his knowledge, and his incredible sense of humor won over almost everyone, even opposing fan bases. People just couldn’t believe how prolific he was.
Ben’s remarks on his good friend did not stop there, while describing the loyalty and fanaticism of his good friend and fellow K-Stater.
Shwan also had an encyclopedia of old game tapes, highlights from pre-game shows, post-game shows, highlight shows and he would use this to make YouTube videos. He was incredible at it. “Birth of K-State Football” is an absolute masterpiece in story telling using pathos. It starts off with stat after stat, which Fatty loved, and by the time the stats are over you are convinced that K-State is the worst football program you’ve ever heard of. Most K-State fans don’t have enough of an appreciation for how bad it was, and it is so bleak, and then all of a sudden Snyder appears and the line from the AD is like “you better be good” and then he starts with the opening synth chords to “Where the Streets Have No Name” and the song has which is one of the most beautiful openings to a pop song of all time and you feel the lump in your throat and your eyes start watering. Every K-State football fan, not just me because I loved Shwan, but every K-State fan that watches this thing instantly loves the narrative arc, the memories, the clips with the game audio from these incredible moments and to think about how incredibly improbable it all was. You just can’t believe it.
Shwan’s unique talents, coupled with loyalty to K-State provided a unique and special place in K-State lore.
Shwan was a man of his time, carrying a unique ability to tell a story (often sports) through audio and visual displays, most famously on Youtube. Kansas State, a school which witnessed years of futility in football, along with heartbreak on the hardwood, saw a resurgence in both sports during Fatty’s time in Manhattan, and there was no one better to tell its story.
As you can see, the greatest turnaround in college football history had the greatest person to tell its story to the world, as Fatty’s unique abilities shined brightly through his Youtube creations. His love admiration of all things Kansas State was highlighted through these masterful video compilations.
Shwan’s abilities had no boundaries, as fans across Big 12 Country have enjoyed his work, most notably a dreary October day in Lincoln, Nebraska that still shines brightly in the hearts and minds of Iowa State Cyclone fans across the country.
A continued legacy
Following Shwan’s death in 2012, his closest friends organized a foundation in honor of him and his brother Weesam, who also passed away from cancer that spring. This foundation, commonly known as the “Fatty Fund” has raised money for a computer lab at Kansas State University to be named in Shwan and Weesam’s honor.
Every summer, the Shwan “Fatty” Alkhatib Memorial Fund gather in Manhattan for Fatty Fest, an event which has taken place every June since his passing. During the afternoon, a trivia contest is held where teams are formed to compete for a title belt and bragging rights for the following year, along with a silent auction which has raised over $40,000 towards a study room in his memory at Hale Library on the K-State campus. Following this event, a concert is held in Aggieville to complete the evening.
Saturday, October 7th
Trivia and silent Auction will begin at 3pm.
Trivia (per person) will be $20 for students and $30 for adults, all proceeds donated towards the Fatty Fund.
Celebrating his legacy moving forward
As we celebrate the life of Shwan “Fatty” Alkhatib, five years after his passing, we hope all sports fans across America can admire and appreciate the level of love Fatty had for his beloved Kansas State University and its Wildcat sports teams. For this Cyclone fan, I always admired the sheer dedication he had for his beloved school, and the true love his friends have shown for him and his family, just had he did throughout his life. Through this appreciation and admiration of what he meant to the K-State community, his legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Wildcat Nation and fans across Big 12 country like myself.
We love you Fatty, and thank you for all you’ve done for your family, friends, K-State, and sports fans across the country. You are truly missed by all.
*A special thank you to numerous K-Staters, including Ben Trenary, Von Wiltz & Ryan Joerger for helping me complete this fitting tribute.