BROOMFIELD — Mark Knudson was always reluctant to get into high school coaching.
But the former Colorado prep standout from Northglenn who went on to play for eight years in the Major Leagues, including six with the Milwaukee Brewers and one season with the Colorado Rockies in 1993, was convinced that things were a little bit different at Prospect Ridge Academy.
“I had resisted for so long just because of some of the horror stories I had heard regarding — what I guess the term is now ‘helicopter parents’ (a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children),” Knudson said. “They convinced me that it was different at PRA and they just don’t get into that, and when I met with Jordan (Nathanson, the previous head coach) we hit it off and he said the same thing.”
Knudson joined Nathanson’s staff prior to the start of the Miners first CHSAA season last spring as the pitching coach and midway through the season assumed the interim spot when Nathanson stepped away.
Prospect Ridge finished the season 4-15 overall and went just 1-11 in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan League that sent seven teams to the postseason.
And still somewhat reluctant to be the one in charge, Knudson ultimately decided that PRA was the right place, saying, “these are the kind of kids you want to coach.”
Knudson, who has taught the fundamentals of pitching privately for the last 20-plus years, is taking a philosophical approach to his initial foray into high school coaching.
“What I’ve learned through sports in all my years, is that it is a great vehicle to teach people to be prepared for life,” he said. “That ability to when you’ve been knocked down to get back up and dust yourself off and get back in the game.
“And it’s that opportunity that I am most excited about.”
Knudson is drawing on his past and coaching mentors that helped guide him though his journey, that ultimately landed him in the big leagues, as part of what he will bring to the Miners — who will have their first graduating class next spring, including nine seniors on the baseball team.
“For a lot of them, it will be the last baseball they play in their lives,” he said. “And the opportunity to teach them more about the game will be fun.”