It was nearly 14 years to the day that separated Bob Stitt’s inaugural victory as the Colorado School of Mines football coach from his century-mark milestone.
On Sept. 13, 2014, Mines steamrolled William Jewell College 46-0 at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada in the 2014 home opener. The triumph was the 100th of Stitt’s career at Mines.
“It is all about the players,” Stitt said. “I’m really proud to be able to be at one school this long and win 100 games, especially to win 100 games at an engineering school.”
More than 1,300 fans were in attendance at the NAAC on Sept. 13 to witness the Orediggers rout and Stitt’s milestone. The coach said he hoped the victory would put smiles on the faces of all his current and former players because they each had a hand in helping him reach 100.
That said, it was only the second game of the season. Stitt isn’t content to dwell on what he has accomplished because there are so many more places he wants to take the Mines program in the future.
When Stitt replaced Versie Wallace in 2000, Mines hadn’t had a winning season since 1991. After a 2-8 campaign that year, the Orediggers reeled off consecutive seven-win seasons, and in 2004 the program captured the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship and qualified for the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time. Mines earned a postseason victory that year behind star quarterback Chad Friehauf ’05, who won the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation’s top player in Division II.
‘That ’04 class gets a ton of credit, but I think when people really knew where the program was, that success goes back to 2001,’ said Friehauf ’05, who served as an assistant coach on Stitt’s staff in 2012-13.
In the nine years since, Mines has had only one losing season, and five seasons have seen at least eight victories. In 2010 Mines survived the University of Nebraska-Kearney, 55-53, in triple overtime to secure its second RMAC crown and Division II playoff berth under Stitt.
“He’s just an amazing offensive mind. Some of the plays he comes up with and his scheme as a whole has really brought him the success he’s found,” said former Oredigger quarterback Clay Garcia ’11, MS ’12, a finalist for the Harlon Hill trophy in 2010.
In 2012, Stitt moved into first place in career coaching victories at Mines with No. 85. He surpassed legendary coach Marv Kay ’63 on that day.
“I think it’s very difficult and I think it’s a wonderful achievement. Bob’s done it a heck of a lot faster than I did it,” Kay joked. “It shows the quality of coaches and athletes we have today and the positive support of the institution.”
In recent years fans have also had the chance to see the lighter side of the coach, look no further than the ‘Stitt Happens’ mantra that has become a hashtag on Twitter and appears on T-shirts. It initially started two years ago in a tweet by former CBS Sports and current Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman.