Women’s Basketball Coach • 1990-2013
Ed Swanson radiated a fierce energy on the court as the longtime orchestrator of one of the NEC’s most successful women’s basketball programs.
For 23 seasons, Swanson marched up and down the sidelines of the Pitt Center, inspiring, cajoling and ultimately bringing out the best in the players he coached during his tenure at Sacred Heart.
He led the Pioneers to three NEC titles and three NEC regular season championships, but that’s just the start.
To say the Sacred Heart program was a consistent winner under Swanson is the ultimate understatement. In the 14 years SHU competed in the NEC under Swanson after transitioning to DI, the Pioneers never finished lower than third place and won an astounding 75.4 percent of their league games, going 190-62. SHU finished with a .500 or better overall record every year after joining the NEC and Swanson guided the Pios to six 20+ win seasons.
The four-time NEC Coach of the Year won his first conference title in 2006. With NEC Player of the Year Amanda Pape leading the way, the Pioneers finished 16-2 in league play and 26-5 overall, culminating with a 69-65 win over Quinnipiac in the NEC final.
Three years later, Swanson guided SHU to 25 wins and just the fifth perfect season in conference annals, running the table with an 18-0 mark. Sparked by NEC Player of the Year Alisa Apo, the Pioneers would go on to beat Saint Francis U, 74-66, in the title tilt, then give Ohio State a run for its money in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
It was a similar script in 2012 when the Pioneers posted a 15-3 NEC record and 26-7 overall mark, and won the program’s third conference championship with a 58-48 win over Monmouth. This time it was Callan Taylor who was tabbed the NEC Player of the Year under Swanson.
In total, Swanson amassed a 280-145 record during SHU’s time in the NEC and went 406-264 over his 23-year tenure. His 190 NEC wins and 16 NEC Tournament wins remain conference records to this day. Swanson’s teams also won 81.9 percent (185-41) of their home games.
In total, Swanson’s players earned 19 All-NEC honors, including nine first-team awards, nine NEC All-Tournament team accolades, eight NEC All-Rookie Team selections, four NEC Rookies of the Year winners, three NEC Tournament MVPs and three NEC Players of the Year honorees.
Swanson was inducted into the New England Hall of Fame in 2009.
“Ed Swanson is the best example of a person who paid his dues, and then some,” said Don Cook, former SHU Director of Athletics. “From the day I first met Ed in the summer of 1992, I knew Sacred Heart had a young man who had all the characteristics of a person who was dedicated to coaching. To say Ed was (and still is) “high energy” is an understatement. He loved basketball with a passion, and was willing to do whatever it took to succeed. He was open to take advantage of any opportunity for success that might present itself. To summarize Ed’s statistical accomplishments requires more space. Let it be said that what he’s done for the University, its women’s basketball program and the Northeast Conference cannot be measured by statistics alone. He made the transition from Division II to Division I almost seamless. He made sure he recruited players and hired assistants who bought into his philosophy and vision. His core values, work ethic, recruiting skill, and disciplined attention to detail were the foundation that created a legacy of success at Sacred Heart.”