LEWISTON - Lewis-Clark State College has a rich history when it comes to success on the baseball field. Many players are remembered for their athletic accomplishment after standout careers in Lewiston. Kyle Knigge, a Lewiston native, found success both in the classroom and on the field, and went on to make his mark after his time as a Warrior was complete. He used his LC State baseball career as leverage to make it in the highly competitive field of physical therapy.
Knigge grew up in Lewiston and graduated from Lewiston High School in 2010. From there, he joined the baseball team at LC State and enjoyed a memorable four-year career.
“The biggest thing for me was learning to handle adversity in pressure situations,” Knigge explained. “I majored in Biology and it was tough to balance school and athletics, so going into a doctorate level program for physical therapy, I felt like I was better prepared to handle the pressure situations that I found myself in.”
The Biology major was an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2013, and lead the Avista NAIA World Series in batting average (.526) that same year. He was named to the Avista NAIA World Series All-Tournament Team as an outfielder. During his time at LC State, he played under both Gary Picone and Jeremiah Robbins. Though the Warriors did not capture a national title during his career, Knigge still values has time in the Avista NAIA World Series.
“I think not winning makes me able to handle defeat a little easier,” Knigge explained. “I take the positive out of it because you can’t always win, but you give your best try. I have to do that now in my job with patients that don’t want to work with me. You have to be able to accept it but know you are trying your best.”
Knigge had multiple influences while at LC State, including Biology professor Jacob Hornby, coaches Picone and Robbins and Head Athletic Trainer Tracy Collins.
“Professor Hornby was my advisor and he was so caring and so helpful of getting me to that point of knowing what I needed to do with my curriculum,” he explained. “Coach Picone was the coach when I was a freshman and he told me that I can be here as a freshman expecting to play, but that I would not be treated as a freshman but instead as a senior. He had high expectations of me, so I think him putting me in that position was one of those things that was a big influence.
“Coach Robbins definitely held high expectations and was a guy that you really wanted to please and put it all on the line for because he would do the same for you,” Knigge recalled. “Tracy was amazing. She is the best. With all the stuff she has to deal with, I cannot say enough good things about Tracy. She cares about every single athlete.”
Knigge dealt with injuries while at LC State, which sparked his interest in physical therapy.
“I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do after baseball,” Knigge said. “I had had physical therapy before and I remembered that environment from when I was a patient and it seemed like they were having so much fun. You get to be yourself and interact with people all day, so I thought it might be something I’d like to do.”
After graduating in 2015, Knigge spent two years as a physical therapy aid at SPORT PT before being accepted into Thomas Jefferson University’s Doctorate program in Physical Therapy in Philadelphia. He was selected to represent his peers with a keynote speech in the group’s White Coat Ceremony in March of 2019, and graduated from TJU with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy in May of 2020.
Knigge returned to Lewiston and will soon begin work as a Doctor of Physical Therapy at SPORT PT. Coming back to Lewiston was always a part of the plan.
“Knowing that I have family here makes it a special place, especially with baseball,” Knigge said. “It’s hard to go back and watch because I miss it, but I love supporting the Warriors. It means a lot to see them compete. I knew I would want to come back to Lewiston.
“I want to give a huge thank you to my parents because they have been my biggest support,” Knigge added. “They have done so much for me and I want to give a huge thank you to them. I would not be where I am today without the family I have around me.”