Once again Swanson’s third season was one for the record books. The Tribe raced out to its best start in school history with an 11-2 record. W&M went onto again to win the fourth most wins in school history with 15. For the second straight season the Tribe broke the blocks and assist record, by tying the single season assist record (466) and broke the school record for blocks with 148. During the season junior Marlena Tremba became the 15th player in school history to break the 1000-point barrier. Individually, four players earned All-CAA awards as junior Alexandra Masaquel was tabbed to the second-team and all-defensive team, Tremba eared third-team honors, and freshman Bianca Boggs picked up a spot on the all-rookie team. The Tribe was also rewarded for its hard work in the classroom as Masaquel, Tremba, and sophomore Jenna Green earned all-academic team honors.
Swanson’s second year with the Green and Gold was one for the record books. The Tribe racked up 15 wins, the fourth-most in school history, on its way to its first-ever postseason appearances with bid in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Green and Gold had a seven-win turnaround, while setting three school records for assists (466), blocked shots, (143), blocked shots per game (4.5). Individually he helped lead four players to five All-CAA awards. Sophomore Marlena Tremba was named to the All-CAA Third-Team, senior Jazmen Boone was named to the All-Defensive Team, freshman Abby Rendle to the All-Rookie and All-Defensive team, and senior Kyla Kerstetter earned all-academic honors.
In his first season with the Tribe, Swanson led a young team to eight victories in a seven-seed in the CAA Tournament. The Green and Gold finished in the top 10 nationally in steals per game, while Jazmen Boone also ranked in the top 20 in the NCAA in the same category. Under his guidance Kaitlyn Mathieu garnered Third-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors, and went on to sign a professional contract with a team in Germany. In addition, guard Marlena Tremba went onto win CAA Rookie of the Year, and was named to the all-rookie squad. Boone was named to the all-defensive team, while she and Kyla Kerstetter took home all-academic honors.
Swanson oversaw Sacred Heart’s transition from Division II to Division I in 1999-00, and the program took off under his direction. Over Sacred Heart’s 14 years in Division I, Swanson led SHU to a 280-145 record (.664), including a 190-62 (.754) record in the NEC. He departed as the NEC’s all-time winningest head coach with all of his SHU teams finishing third or higher in the league standings. Swanson-lead teams have posted 13 straight winning seasons and 12 straight campaigns with 18 or more victories, including six with 20 or more wins. In 2009, he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
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 (WBCA) Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll, which has recognized outstanding academic performances from the top teams in each of the five collegiate divisions since 1995-96. 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.
In 2012-13, Swanson led Sacred Heart to its third straight postseason appearance, and in the process, recorded his 400th career victory. His milestone win came on Feb. 12, 2013 as the Pioneers defeated Fairleigh Dickinson. SHU completed the season at 22-11, finishing second in the NEC with a 13-5 ledger and garnering a berth in the program’s first Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
Sacred Heart claimed its third NEC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12. The Pioneers also ranked 23rd nationally in the WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll with a team GPA of 3.35. SHU compiled a season mark to 25-8, winning both the regular season and postseason crowns in the league as Swanson was named NEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
The Pioneers earned a berth in the 2011 Women’s Basketball Invitational and finished the year at 18-13 with a 12-6 mark in the NEC. After a 0-5 start to the 2008-09 season, Swanson’s Pioneers reeled off a 21-game winning streak, the longest in school history and second longest in the country, before finishing with 25-8 record. SHU completed the NEC regular season with a perfect 18-0 mark, becoming just the third team in the history of the conference to accomplish the feat. Swanson earned NEC Coach of the Year honors as Sacred Heart finished off an amazing season by capturing its second league title and trip to the NCAA Tournament over a four-year span. During the 2008-09 season, Swanson moved past former Mount St. Mary’s head coach Bill Sheahan (124) as all-time leader in Northeast Conference wins and eclipsing the 300-win plateau in his career.
The 2005-06 season saw Swanson lead the Sacred Heart program to its first NCAA Tournament, capturing the NEC Championship in just its seventh season at the Division I level. Swanson guided the Pioneers to a school record 26-5 record, including a 16-2 NEC ledger. He also garnered career victory No. 250 during the season.
Under his leadership, Sacred Heart was one of the toughest teams on its home court, the William H. Pitt Center, which opened in 1997. During the Pitt Center's opening 16 seasons, Swanson’s teams won 81.9 percent (185-41) of its home games. In 2011-12, SHU went 15-1 at home, a season bested only by a perfect 15-0 in 2005-06 and 14-0 in 2003-04. During the stretch, the Pioneers’ home winning percentage at the Pitt Center ranked among the best nationally.
After directing the Pioneers to a 20-7 record — the program’s first 20-win season — in 1995-96, Swanson was voted Coach of the Year in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) District I.
Swanson took the reins of the Sacred Heart University women’s basketball program in 1990 and built the Pioneers into one of the top teams in the Northeast. He joined Dave Bike’s men’s basketball coaching staff at SHU in 1989, and, after becoming head coach of the Pioneer women’s program in 1990, did double duty for three seasons before becoming the University’s first full-time women’s coach in 1993. Prior to Swanson’s arrival, the Sacred Heart women’s team compiled a 4-21 record. Under his guidance, the climb to Division II respectability was accomplished within three seasons, from 8-19 to 11-16 and, in 1992-93, to 16-13 — the program’s first winning record in 11 seasons.
In his time at SHU, he was a four-time NEC Coach of the Year, led Sacred Heart to five postseason bids, including three NCAA Tournament appearances. Swanson guided the Pioneers to four NEC regular season crowns and three NEC tournament championships. SHU posted 20-win seasons seven times during his tenure, including five of the last eight years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Sacred Heart in 1989. Also during his tenure at SHU, Swanson served as the moderator for the Pioneer Student-Athlete Council from 1998-01 and was the annual coordinator of commencement exercises since 2000. Swanson and his wife, Marion, have two sons, Connor and Matthew.