Jim Knowlton joined the Air Force Academy as the director of athletics March 22, 2015. In this capacity, he oversees 27 intercollegiate varsity sports, physical education, intramurals and all physical testing and evaluation at the Academy.
Prior to the Air Force Academy, Knowlton served as the director of athletics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and was responsible for overseeing the Institute's 12 men's and 11 women's NCAA intercollegiate varsity teams and three junior varsity squads, involving more than 600 student-athletes, as well as intramurals.
In his time in Troy, Knowlton helped develop the strategic vision for the athletic department, implemented a new athletics branding initiative, increased two-way communication with the student-athletes, created and filled many key positions, and facilitated renovations to the Houston Field House as well as the construction of the $102M first phase of Rensselaer's East Campus Athletic Village.
Prior to joining Rensselaer, Knowlton served as the director of the Center for Enhanced Performance at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. In that position, he led a staff of 50 professionals who delivered training for peak performance in athletics, academics, and military endeavors to cadets, soldiers, and athletes both on and off the West Point campus.
From 2003 to 2006, Knowlton served as both deputy and interim director for the athletics department at West Point, where he led a staff of more than 200 people and supervised 25 intercollegiate athletic programs with more than 1,000 student-athletes. During his tenure, West Point set the stage to earn its first NCAA national championship in more than 50 years.
Knowlton received a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1982 from West Point, where he was a four-year letter winner and captain of the varsity hockey team. After 10 years of organizational leadership positions of increasing responsibility in the U.S. Army, Knowlton received a master's in civil engineering from Cornell University. He returned to West Point in 1992 to teach in the civil and mechanical engineering department, after which he was selected to lead and manage larger and more complex organizations within the Army, ultimately leading a battalion of 750 men and women while stationed at Ft. Carson, Colo., before deploying to Iraq.
Knowlton is a registered professional engineer in Virginia. His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, the Air Assault Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge.