Swanson spent the previous 23 seasons as the head coach at Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Conn., racking up a career record of 406-264 (.606). He ranks 40th among active Division I head coaches with 406 career wins. Swanson, who was a four-time NEC Coach of the Year, led Sacred Heart to five postseason bids, including three NCAA Tournament appearances. SHU captured four NEC regular season and three tournament championships.
Swanson led Sacred Heart’s transition from Division II to Division I in 1999-00, and the program took off under his direction. Over the program’s 14 years in Division I, the Pioneers amassed a record of 280-145(.664). He departs the NEC as the conference’s all-time winningest head coach at 190-62 (.754) with every one of his teams finishing third or higher in the league standings. In total, Swanson-coached players earned 19 All-NEC honors, including nine first-team awards, nine NEC All-Tournament Team honors, eight NEC All-Rookie Team selections, four NEC Rookies of the Year, three NEC Tournament MVPs and three NEC Players of the Year.
His teams have also enjoyed success in the classroom. On five occasions, the Pioneers were selected to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, which has recognized outstanding academic performance from the top teams in each of the five collegiate divisions since 1995-96. In 2011-12, Swanson’s squad ranked 23rd nationally with a team GPA of 3.35. On eight occasions since 2003, one of his players was a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and two Pioneer players were named NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The Pioneers posted 20-win seasons seven times during his tenure at Sacred Heart, including five of the last eight campaigns. Swanson led SHU to a school-record 26 wins in claiming the NEC regular season and tournament championships on the way to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. In 2009, Sacred Heart became the third program in NEC history to complete the regular season with a perfect 18-0 mark, while finishing with a 25-8 mark and an NCAA Tournament berth. The Pioneers also earned an NCAA Tournament berth in 2011-12, winning both the NEC regular season and tournament crowns to go with a 25-8 record.
In 2009, Swanson was named to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Sacred Heart in 1989 and spent three seasons as a men’s assistant coach with the Pioneers from 1990-93. Also during his tenure at Sacred Heart, Swanson served as the moderator for the SHU Student-Athlete Council from 1998-01 and has been the annual coordinator of commencement exercises since 2000.
Swanson inherits a Tribe team that finished last season at 8-22 and will return eight letterwinners to go along with four incoming freshmen signed for the 2013-14 campaign.