Ken Knutson holds 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 17 as a head coach at the University of Washington and five seasons as the pitching coach at Arizona State University, including his final two as associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator.
He has coached one Golden Spikes Award winner, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, three Pac-10 Pitchers of the Year and 36 All-Americans. Dating back to his tenure as head coach at Washington, Knutson has coached at least one All-Conference pitcher every season since 1993, including 19 All-Pac-10/12 Conference pitchers in his five years with the Devils.
Knutson mentored two Devils who have ended their careers with two of the lowest ERA in school history (aluminum bat era). Brady Rodgers’ (2010-12) 2.39 career ERA is second lowest in school history and Trevor Williams’ (2011-13) 3.00 career ERA ranks as the sixth lowest.
Knutson has an impressive knack for sending his players to the professional ranks.
From 2010-14 at ASU, Knutson had 14 pitchers drafted by the MLB, including five in the first two rounds. He also coached two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum at Washington as well as current minor league all-stars Jake Barrett and Brady Rodgers, among others.
Knutson has called two no-hitters in his coaching career, including most recently Ryan Kellogg’s on March 23, 2013, against Oregon State. Knutson’s first came in March 2006 with the Washington Huskies when Lincecum combined with Nick Hagadone for a no-hitter against Santa Clara. Lincecum, a Knutson protégé, also threw a no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants on July 14, 2013.
In 2013, Knutson led a pitching contingent that featured a pair of freshmen All-Pac-12 selections. Kellogg became the first freshman in school history to begin his career 11-0 and is just the fifth freshman in school history to lead the team in wins (11) en route to becoming just the fourth Devil in school history to earn freshman All-America honors from three or more publications. Fellow freshman Ryan Burr set ASU’s freshman single-season saves record with 12 and his .141 opposing batting average was the lowest mark in school history.
Knutson guided a pitching staff that finished in the top 10 in Div. I in both walks allowed per nine innings and WHIP in 2012, and mentored one of the top pitching duos in the country that season. Brady Rodgers and Trevor Williams both placed in the top four in the Pac-12 in ERA and walks allowed, and in the top six in innings pitched and wins. Rodgers finished his three-year career with the school’s second-lowest ERA and Williams was the conference’s only 12-game winner in 2012 and just the 25th Sun Devil in the aluminum bat era to record 12 wins in a season.
His second season with the Sun Devils featured five pitchers who earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors (Alex Blackford, Kramer Champlin, Mitchell Lambson, Rodgers and Williams), as well as a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American (Williams). He was instrumental in helping Lambson become only the third Sun Devil with 20+ wins and 10+ saves, guiding him to a combined 15 wins and 12 saves in 2010 and ‘11, and helped a trio of Sun Devil pitchers get drafted by the MLB (Champlin, Lambson and Kyle Ottoson).
In his first season handling the Sun Devil pitchers in 2010, Knutson oversaw a staff that featured three 10-game winners (Seth Blair 12, Jake Borup 11 and Merrill Kelly 10), a closer who set a new school record for single-season saves (Jordan Swagerty, 14) and the top two ERA pitchers in the Pac-10 Conference (Rodgers, 2.11, and Mitchell Lambson, 2.16). Blair earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, the third time a pitcher coaches by Knutson has received the award (Tim Lincecum, 2004 and 2006).
During Knutson’s time at the helm of Washington, he compiled a career record of 584-399-2, including a 240-189 record in Pac-10 play. He is Washington’s all-time leader in coaching victories and won four Pac-10 Northern Division titles and two overall Pac-10 titles during his tenure. He led the Huskies to six NCAA Tournaments and was three times named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1996, 1997 and 1998).
Knutson coached 31 All-Americans at Washington, including 2006 Golden Spikes Award winner and current San Francisco Giant Tim Lincecum, as well as closers Will Fenton and Buck Merrick. Merrick is the school’s all-time leader in saves with 31, while Fenton is second with 23, including the 2003 season where he did not allow a run while recording 12 saves. While at Washington, Knutson spent much of his head coaching career as the UW’s pitching coach, coaching at least one All-Pac-10 pitcher every year he served in that capacity.
Prior to being named Washington’s head coach in 1993, Knutson spent nine seasons with the Huskies as both a player and an assistant. In 1981, the lefty Knutson compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.89 ERA, helping lead Washington to the Pac-10 Northern Division title, their first since 1959. He was a First Team All-Pac-10 selection that season after transferring from Seattle University, where he was an all-league performer.
From 1982 to 1986, Knutson was in charge of the Husky pitching staff, including the 1985 season when UW led the nation with a 2.80 ERA. After coaching semi-pro ball in the Seattle area, Knutson returned to Washington as the lead assistant coach and pitching coach from 1990 to 1992 before being named head coach.
Born in Sisseton, S.D., Knutson was raised in Seattle. He was an all-state pitcher at Seattle’s Evergreen High School in 1976 and also quarterbacked the football team.
Knutson was married on August 31, 1991, to his wife Pam. They have three children - Halie, Andrew and Camille.
KEN KNUTSON HEAD COACHING CAREER
Knutson served as Washington head coach from 1993 through 2009. He concluded his UW career with the most coaching wins in UW baseball history, and 15th-most in Pac-10 history.
Knutson’s accomplishments during his 17-year head coaching tenure at Washington:
- Spent 17 seasons as head coach at Washington, compiling a career overall record of 584-399-2 and a career record of 240-189 in Pac-10 play.
- 584 wins were most in UW baseball history and tied for 15th-most in the history of the Pac-10.
- Won Pac-10 Northern Division championships in 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and won the overall Pac-10 Championship in 1997 and 1998.
- Earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 1994, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, accounting for six of Washington’s eight all-time NCAA berths.
- In those six NCAA Tournaments, never failed to win at least two games in regional play each year and posted a record of 16-12 in six regional appearances.
- Twice led the Huskies to within one victory of a berth in the College World Series (1994, 1997).
- In 17 seasons, coached 55 All-Pac-10 first-teamers and earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
- Had 76 players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. Of those 76 players, only 21 were drafted out of high school and all but three of those players were selected in a higher round out of college.
- Recruited and coached seven players who made it to the Major Leagues, accounting for almost half of the 15 Washington alumni ever to make the big leagues.
- Coached 31 players who earned some level of All-America honors, including two-time All-America Tim Lincecum, the winner of the 2006 Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top amateur player.
- Before 1993, no Husky had ever participated in the USA National Team program, but eight Huskies have represented the USA since then.
- During much of head coaching career, also served as the UW’s pitching coach. Coached at least one All-Pac-10 pitcher every year as pitching coach.