Investing in Oredigger athletes

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Fall 2023, Inside Mines | 0 comments

Mines' athletic fields

Mines received an anonymous $6.5 million gift to fund scholarships for student-athletes in Olympic sports and to improve track and field and cross country facilities. It’s one of the largest gifts to support athletics in the university’s history.

“This gift comes from donors who have strong affinity for student-athletes, have great pride in Mines and know first-hand how involvement in athletics can lead to success in the classroom and beyond,” said Mines President Paul C. Johnson. “These donors want to ensure that all our student-athletes have opportunities for scholarships. They have also seen the impact that facilities investments can have on individual and team success. I’m excited by the large number of new scholarships this gift creates, the opportunity to upgrade our existing track and field facilities and the creation of an on-campus loop for our nationally renowned and three-time national champion cross-country teams. We are incredibly grateful for this investment in our students.”

$440,000 a year for scholarships in Olympic sports

Mines, like most NCAA Division II schools, offers athletes partial scholarships. Smaller scholarship budgets often hamper Olympic sports programs’ recruiting and retention efforts, including:

  • Men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, swimming and track and field
  • Women’s basketball and volleyball
  • Men’s wrestling and golf

The gift’s $5 million scholarship fund will provide about $440,000 each year for scholarships across these teams for the next 20 years. That total includes the initial gift plus investment income.

“Mines has one of the highest costs of attendance in DII, with tuition, housing, food and supplies costing about $40,000 for in-state students and $62,000 for out-of-state students,” said David Hansburg, Mines’ athletic director. “We work hard to attract scholarship funds to make Mines an appealing and financially viable option for the unique student-athletes that can be successful in the classroom and in athletics at Mines.”

$1.2 million for track and field updates, first cross country training course

The gift’s remaining $1.2 million will pay for long-needed updates at Mines’ outdoor track and field facility, including replacing the track surface and
other equipment that has reached the end of its lifetime, as well as bringing field event areas up to collegiate standards.

“These facility improvements will reflect the quality of our championship-contending athletes and let Mines host more track meets,” Hansburg said. “That will cut our travel costs and, most importantly, keep students in class.”

Mines will also begin building a cross country training facility in the coming months, featuring 3K and 2K loops with varied, challenging terrain. The 50-member men’s and women’s teams currently train in Jeffco Open Space parks, such as Crown Hill Park’s 2.5K loop. Commutes can take 45 minutes round trip.

Cross Country Coach Chris Siemers said the new facility will give Mines a distinct advantage

“We’ll be one of the few schools in the country with an on-campus training course,” he said. “We’ll be able to jog up the hill instead of getting on a bus, which means we can train five days a week, including recovery days. The students who look at Mines for cross country are also considering Division I schools that can offer bigger scholarships. I believe that when we show a recruit the course, they’ll understand how invested we are in their potential and in continuing to be a national contender in this sport.”

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Pete Sterbick

Pete Sterbick named new Mines Football head coach 

After former coach Brandon Moore’s departure from Mines in early 2023, the search for the Orediggers’ next head football coach didn’t take long.

Pete Sterbick served as the team’s offensive coordinator since January 2019 and was a key driver of some of the nation’s most explosive offenses since then, helping Mines to consecutive regional titles and an appearance in the 2022 NCAA Division II national championship game.

“I am honored and excited to take over as head football coach here at Mines,” Sterbick said. “This is a very unique and special place. The tradition here started well before I arrived in 2019 as offensive coordinator, and we’ve been fortunate enough to take our program to an elite level. We aim to stay on a championship track and are hungry for more. Our players are and will always be priority number one, and I am grateful to be their coach.”

“Pete has done an exceptional job in his time at Mines as our offensive coordinator, and he will continue to lead our program as we continue to pursue a national championship,” said Director of Athletics David Hansburg. “The exuberant reaction of the team when I told them says it all about what Pete has accomplished and what our players feel about him.”

Sterbick was the 2022 FootballScoop D-II Coordinator of the Year and has perfected one of the nation’s most explosive and versatile offenses since arriving as offensive coordinator in 2019. This past season, Mines had a prolific offense that led the nation in scoring (44.6 ppg) and red zone offense (97 percent) while ranking in the top 10 nationally in total offense, passing offense, fourth down conversion percentage and turnover margin. At Mines, Sterbick has worked with numerous all-Americans and all-conference student-athletes, most notably mentoring the development of quarterback John Matocha from a true freshman starter in 2019 to Harlon Hill Award winner in 2022.