Like the rest of the sporting world, the Boulder Collegians are eager for a return to normalcy this summer.
However, it will be anything but business as usual for the Collegians in 2021.
For the first time since the summer college baseball program returned to Boulder in 2013, the Collegians will be under new management. Longtime general manager/president/jack-of-all trades Matt Jensen recently ceded control of the Collegians, which he returned almost single-handedly to the state’s summer baseball circuit eight years ago.
In Jensen’s place will be a new vision for the program, led by former Major League pitcher and one-time Colorado Rockies hurler Mark Knudson. Knudson will serve as the team’s general manager and pitching coach, with an eye on completely revamping the entire organizational structure.
“It’s too good of a situation to just drop,” Knudson said. “Matt did a wonderful job bringing this team out of mothballs in 2013. The history is the history. It’s spectacular. It can be that again, is what we thought. By taking over and putting our plan in place, we can bring this back to the prominence it had in the 1970s and 80s.”
When Knudson was at Colorado State, he played summer league games against Collegians teams that featured future MLB stars like Tony Gwynn and Joe Carter. The goal is to return the Collegians to those heights once again.
Already the Collegians have a new website (bouldercollegians.org) and a new manager in Tony Rouco, who also is doubling as team president. They have changed leagues, moving from the Rocky Mountain Baseball League to the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League. While Jensen was forced to be a sort of one-man-band in running the Collegians’ entire operation, the new regime already has established a board of directors in hopes of delegating more of the operational responsibilities. Boulder resident and former Dodgers and White Sox front office veteran Dan Evans has joined the board of directors.
The goal, according to Knudson, is to eventually bring a full “minor league type atmosphere” with between-innings promotions and entertainment.
“It’s a great opportunity. Like a dream job,” Rouco said. “The Collegians have a long, storied history and we’d like to get it back to the prominence where Bauldie Moschetti had it.”
As for Jensen, the Boulder native’s passion for the sport and for the Collegians program is the reason why the club has become a summer staple at Scott Carpenter Park for a large part of the past decade. But the return of the team coincided with his career as a realtor beginning to flourish. Eventually, the constant juggling of recruiting a team, finding host families, fundraising, and all the team’s other responsibilities simply became too big a burden.
“I just felt like I couldn’t bear the responsibility on my shoulders alone anymore, and I just didn’t have the capacity to recruit more people to step up and help out,” Jensen said. “I wasn’t able to do it within my schedule. My career has been growing and that kind of had to be the priority for me.”
The new-look Collegians are scheduled to open the 2021 season on May 28, when they host the Denver Browns for a #BoulderStrong night that will honor the victims of the March 22 King Soopers mass shooting. Supporters interested in being a potential host family can make inquiries through the team’s website.