Ahead of the pack
Before this year, no institution in the 100-plus year history of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference had ever won four team championships in a single fall season. But Mines changed the game and did exactly that in 2018, capturing regular-season titles in football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer, as well as RMAC Tournament crowns for both soccer teams.
The Mines football team went 10-2 overall and won a share of its fourth RMAC regular-season title of the decade, qualifying for the NCAA Championship tournament in the process. This year, the Orediggers played their first on-campus postseason game in 14 years and the first ever at Marv Kay Stadium.
Mines had an outstanding season, going 19-1-2 overall to also win the RMAC double. The Orediggers were an undefeated 11-0-1 at home led by one of the nation’s best defenses. The championships continued a dynasty for Mines women’s soccer, which has won five of the last six regular-season titles and seven of the last eight RMAC Tournament titles as they qualified for their 11th consecutive NCAA Championship tournament.
The men’s soccer team went 18-2-1 to win both the RMAC regular-season and tournament titles, reaching as high as fifth in the national rankings. The regular-season title was Mines’ seventh since 2000 and their RMAC Tournament trophy was the program’s sixth of the decade.
One might think that a team regularly starting five freshmen might be looking to the future, honing their skills and teamwork to earn championships later in their college careers. But for Mines volleyball, the future is now. The team went 24-6 overall this year to win a share of the RMAC regular-season championship. Mines was 16-2 with a very tough RMAC schedule and qualified for their 10th consecutive NCAA Championship tournament, where they advanced to the second round.
Earning a top spot
A Mines alumnus has never been a full-time member of the PGA Tour. Until now.
Jim Knous ’12 earned his PGA Tour card on Sept. 23, finishing 25th on the Web.com Tour Finals money list to punch his ticket to the world’s top golf tour over the next year. Knous earned the 25th and final card on a harrowing day at the Web.com Tour Championship, the final event of the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals series that determined qualifying for the next
PGA Tour season.
“It was a brutal day emotionally. I wasn’t quite sure how much my performance would affect the overall outcome. It kind of just depended on what everybody else did,” Knous said after his round, which saw him finish 57th.
Knous needed to finish inside the top 25 of earnings across the four Web.com Tour Finals events and ended up with $41,931—only $490 ahead of Justin Lower.
His PGA Tour card continues a professional golf dream for Knous, who was a decorated amateur golfer for Mines. Knous played in numerous small events and qualifiers all over the country before latching onto the Web.com Tour—the PGA Tour’s “minor league”—full-time last year after four tries at qualifying school. Knous qualified for his first PGA Tour event in 2017 when he played in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“I dreamed about it, for sure,” Knous said. “I didn’t know if it was achievable or not, but the last few years I know I’ve been playing great golf and I knew I had the game—just getting it done was the hard part, and to actually do that
Knous is the first Mines—and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference—alumnus to earn a full-time PGA Tour card and is one of only two Orediggers to have played in a top-level event, joining Marty Jertson ’02, who has three PGA Championship appearances under his belt. A standout for Mines from 2008 to 2012, Knous was an
all-American in 2012, finishing tied for the lead at the NCAA Division II national championship. He was the 2012 RMAC Player of the Year, a
two-time PING All-Region pick and a four-time First-Team All-RMAC selection. As a senior, Knous finished second in the GolfStat D-II rankings before earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2012.
Knous wasted no time putting his PGA Tour status to work—he finished tied for 10th in his very first event, the Safeway Open, in October. Knous’ status allows him to compete in events through the end of the PGA Tour year in fall 2019.