- Throws Left
Ken Knutson is a long-time college coach.
Knutson was born in South Dakota but grew up in Seattle. He was an All-State pitcher in high school in 1976. He was attending Seattle University when they dropped baseball in 1980; he then transferred to the University of Washington, where he would spend many years. He went 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 1981 to help the university win its first Pacific-10 Conference Northern Division title in 22 years. He won All-Conference honors. He was immediately hired as the University's pitching coach, a job he held from 1982 to 1986; in 1985, the Huskies led NCAA Division I with a 2.80 ERA.
From 1990 to 1992, Ken was assistant head coach and pitching coach for the University of Washington. One of his students, Scott Brow, became a major leaguer. Ken also got married in 1991; he would become a father of three. Knutson became head coach for the Huskies in 1993, replacing Bob MacDonald, who had held the job for 16 years.
The Sisseton native led Washington to a 39-19 record his first year in charge. They won a school-record 42 games in 1994, beat three teams that were ranked #1 during the year and produced five All-Americans after only producing three in the university's history. In 1995, just his third year, he became the third coach in school history to win 100 games.
Knutson almost took his team to the Pac-10 title in 1996, dropping 2 of 3 in the finals to USC, despite using a lineup consisting mostly of freshmen. In 1997, Washington again won 46 games and finished #13 in Division I. They won the first Pac-10 championship in school history. Chris Magruder was a starter for Team USA; no Husky had ever even tried out for Team USA before Knutson became head coach.
Knutson's team went 41-17 in 1998 and won the Pac-10 title again. They again finished 13th in the country. In '99, Ken's club was 12-12 in league play and Jeff Heaverlo became the highest-drafted Husky to that point (33rd overall). The team sputtered for a couple of years; when the Pac-10 merged North and South divisions in 1999, the Northern clubs had trouble competing. During 2002, Washington started 12-15-1 but bounced back to finish 30-25-1.
In 2003, Washington went 42-18 and Brent Lillibridge became a starter with Team USA. During 2004, Knutson's team went 39-20-1 to finish second in the Pac-10 under freshman ace Tim Lincecum. On May 22, Knutson passed his mentor, MacDonald, as the winningest coach in school history, with 422 victories.
Washington was 33-22 in 2005 and led NCAA Division I in fielding percentage. During 2006, Ken led the Huskies to a 36-25 record, with Lincecum being drafted 10th overall in the 2006 amateur draft after winning the Golden Spikes Award. Knutson's 2007 Huskies faded to 29-27 while producing first-round pick Nick Hagadone. That year, Ken became the winningest coach in any sport in University of Washington history and also reached 500 wins.
In 2008, Ken's record was 33-22. He had gone 559-369-2 overall, with the best winning percentage in University of Washington for someone who coached 85+ games. After the 2009 season, he moved to Arizona State University as pitching coach.
Source: University of Washington bio