In nine years on West Chester’s sideline, Zwaan has masterminded a 70-39 (.642) record.He sports an overall record of 124-53 (.701) in 15 years. His 70 victories at West Chester University is third all-time on the school’s charts while his .642 winning percentage ranks sixth all-time at the institution among coaches who spent at least three years in that position.
Zwaan’s patented Spread Wing-T offense has averaged better than 400 yards of total offense per game in seven of his nine years at WCU and has scored at least 50 touchdowns per year in his first six campaigns.
The 15-year college football mentor collected his 100th career win against Lock Haven in the 2008 season opener and is one of only a handful of college coaches to lead a school to the NCAA Tournament semifinals at both the Division II and III levels, having guided West Chester to the Division II semifinals in 2004 and Widener University to the Division III semifinals in 2000.
West Chester University has captured the Team of the Year award handed out by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) three times during Zwaan’s tenure (2007-09). The Southeastern Pa. native was also honored with induction into the Delaware County chapter of the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame in July 2008.
Zwaan and the Golden Rams have suffered through a pair of losing seasons in each of the past two campaigns. However, the Golden Rams still ranked among the top seven teams in the PSAC in scoring offense and among the top nine teams in total offense. Additionally, West Chester University’s place-kicker, Shawn Leo, was named a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Award in both 2010 and 2011, handed out to the national kicker of the year who examplifies excellence both on the field and in their community.
West Chester lost two games in overtime while suffering a heart-breaking two-point loss to Edinboro in 2010. Senior WR Dan DePalma finished second in the conference in receiving yards while is nine touchdown receptions ranked fifth in the PSAC. He signed on with the New York Giants practice squad in the fall 2011 where he remained the entire season, helping the Giants’ to victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Zwaan put together a 7-4 campaign in 2009. However, the Golden Rams managed to win their final three games after having been knocked out of the divisional championship race. It marked the first time since Zwaan’s first year at WCU that the football squad didn’t reach the NCAAs and the first time it was not nationally ranked in the American Football Coaches’ Association (AFCA) postseason poll since 2005.
Despite the disappointment in not reaching the postseason, West Chester’s defense was the top-ranked unit in the PSAC, highlighted by a run defense that yielded just over 77 yards rushing per contest. The Golden Rams’ offense was ranked third in the PSAC under the guidance of sixth-year senior QB Joe Wright, who finished the year as the loop’s second-rated passer.
West Chester finished 9-4 in 2008 with the school’s second consecutive PSAC Eastern Division title in tow, marking the third straight nine-win campaign and second straight undefeated conference slate. As a result, West Chester captured the Division II team of the year award in the ECAC for the second straight season. The Golden Rams made it five postseason appearances in a row, topping Southern Connecticut State, 52-32, in the first round of the NCAA playoffs and setting a school record for most points in a playoff game.
West Chester boasted the conference’s second-ranked offense, averaging 428 yards per game and scoring 58 touchdowns. Senior WR Mike Washington was the focal point of that offense, earning Division II first team All-America accolades and being honored as one of eight finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy handed out to the Division II player of the year.
In 2007, West Chester posted an overall record of 9-3 en route to the PSAC Eastern Division crown with a perfect 5-0 mark. The Golden Rams once again reached the NCAA II playoffs.
After guiding the Golden Rams to a 9-4 mark in 2006, including a first-round victory over Bryant in the postseason, West Chester captured its second Lambert Cup in the last three years as the top team in the East.
In 2004, Zwaan was chosen the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Eastern Division coach of the year as his club posted a school-record 11 victories against just four losses. The Golden Rams won the PSAC East, captured the Division II Lambert Trophy for the first time since 1967 and claimed an NCAA Division II playoff victory for the first time in the history of the program.
Zwaan’s magical run through the NCAA II playoffs ended with a loss to national power Valdosta State (Ga.) in the semifinals. It marked the first time that West Chester University won the NCAA regional championship and advanced to the semifinals in school history.
The former Widener University head football coach and director of athletics took over the Golden Rams’ coaching reins in February of 2003. He led West Chester to an 8-3 mark, its most wins in a season since 1999.
In 2002, Zwaan completed his sixth and final year as head coach of perennial NCAA Division III powerhouse Widener by leading the Pride to their third consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference championship with a 9-1 mark. He stepped down from his post as both head coach and the school’s athletics director to take over at West Chester.
Zwaan still owns the highest winning percentage in school history at Widener University with a .794 ledger (54-14). In 2001, he guided Widener to its second straight MAC title and a spot in the national quarterfinals. He produced the first undefeated regular season in 20 years and reached second in the Division III national polls for five weeks during the campaign.
In addition to being named the MAC and Region II coach of the year in 2000, and again in 2001, Zwaan was named the Tri-State Region coach of the year by the Maxwell Football Club and was also honored as the American Football Monthly coach of the year.
Widener won a dozen games in both the 2001 (12-1) and 2000 (12-2) seasons and the Pride advanced to the NCAA Division III national semifinals in 2000. That year, Widener also captured the Division III Lambert Cup and also won the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III team of the year award.
Zwaan has produced 14 All-Americans and four academic All-Americans. His latest protégé, wide receiver Mike Washington, was a Harlon Hill finalist in 2008 for Division II’s player of the year award. Washington caught for more than 4,000 yards during his career and set numerous records on the national, conference and school levels. His record of 50 straight games with at least one pass reception is a Division II record and one shy of the NCAA record at any level.
Former Widener University wide receiver Michael Coleman became the first Pride drafted by the NFL in 20 years (2002) thanks to Zwaan’s tutelage. Jim Jones, who along with Coleman, helped form the most formidable receiving tandem in the country, signed a free agent contract following the draft that same year.
Former Widener standout T.J. Hess received two of the highest honors in the nation as he was named Academic All-America of the Year for the college division (Divisions II, III, NAIA) and was one of 16 recipients of an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame while playing for Zwaan.
Zwaan’s football coaching career began at Monsignor Bonner High School where he was the offensive coordinator from 1977-79. He later served stints at the University of Cincinnati and at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
Following three years as merchandise general manager for the Philadelphia Spectrum, Zwaan joined Bill Cubit in 1988 at Martin County (Fla.) High School.
Zwaan was a standout quarterback at the University of Delaware during his college playing days, leading the Blue Hens to the 1974 NCAA Division II national championship game. He earned his bachelor’s of science degree in Marketing Management in 1979.