Ithaca College head football coach announces departure from team

Ithaca College head coach Dan Swanstrom left the football program to become the University of Pennsylvania’s offensive coordinator.

January 24 announcement of Ithaca College said Swanstrom’s last day with the team was Jan. 31 and he began his new role Feb. 1. He returns to the university where he coached before becoming the 10th Bombers head coach in program history. Swanstrom was the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator for the Quakers of 2014 to 2016. The coach led the Bombers to a 32-11 record and .744 winning percentage in his four seasons at South Hill. This is the best score in program historyahead of Jim Butterfield’s .743 winning percentage in 27 years on the sidelines.

“I can’t say how special my time in Ithaca was,” Swanstrom said in the announcement. “I want to thank the players, coaches and fans for the valuable experiences and meaningful relationships.”

Swanstrom did not respond to multiple interview requests from Ithaca.

Susan Bassett, associate vice president and director of the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics, said she was impressed with Swanstrom’s abilities as a coach and appreciated the impact he was having on the program.

“I commend and thank him for the professionalism he has brought to his approach to coaching and his role as an educator,” Bassett said. “I think the impact he’s had on the program in terms of the quality athletes he’s recruited and the exceptional coaches he’s attracted to come and work with him in the program goes to the depth of character. and the substance he brought to his work.”

The statement noted the college will hold an “immediate national search” for its next football head coach and that current assistant coach, Mike Hatcher, will be the interim head coach until the hire is made. Hatcher declined an interview request from Ithaca.

Bassett said Swanstrom informed her that her former team had expressed interest in returning to the University of Pennsylvania in late December 2021. She noted Swanstrom has been transparent throughout the process, allowing the college to prepare for his departure. Bassett said she is now putting together the search committee, which will include alumni, faculty and staff, and is beginning the search process.

“We already have a large number of candidates who have applied and others who have contacted us,” Bassett said. “So I know that we are going to have a very rich and talented pool of candidates with coaches from Divisions I, II and III. And in that mix are graduates of Ithaca College, which we welcome.

Despite losing his head coach, junior receiver Julien Deumaga said he hasn’t heard of any players looking to transfer out of the program.

“There are certainly no discussions [of transferring] in direct relation with Coach [Swanstrom] leave,” Deumaga said. “No one is leaving the ship.”

Prior to Swanstrom’s four seasons at the helm, the Bombers had just two head coaches for 50 years. Butterfield held the sideline job from 1967 to 1993 and Mike Welch led the program from 1994 to 2016. Bassett said the college is committed to hiring a head coach they believe is best suited. to help the program maintain its tradition of success.

“We are looking for a professional coach, an educator who adheres to the values ​​of respect, integrity, sportsmanship and a commitment to academic and athletic achievement,” Bassett said. “And we want, of course, someone who has a proven track record as a college coach, great knowledge of the game, great energy, great work ethic and excellent communication skills.”

Swanstrom demonstrated those qualities during his tenure, guiding the Bombers to eight wins in each of his four seasons. The team also posted a 175 Liberty League record with Swanstrom at the helm. Junior quarterback AJ Wingfield said the team was sad to see Swanstrom leave, but they understood it was a business decision.

“As a team, there are no hard feelings. It’s part of the business, and we understand that,” Wingfield said. “He taught us everything he could have taught us. And now that we have that, I mean, we’re the ones on the ground. We know we are the culture.

Deumaga echoed Wingfield’s praise for their former coach, calling him the smartest coach he ever played for. He added that while it is sad for the team to lose a personality they respected so much, they are ready to look ahead and prepare for next season, whoever coaches next.

“I’m excited about what lies ahead for our program, what our future looks like,” Deumaga said. “It’s going to be weird with a new coach in charge, but I think we’re talented enough to be successful no matter who coaches us.”

For now, Wingfield said the team is rallying behind Hatcher and the interim head coach is getting closer to the opportunity.

“Coach Hatcher was there at six in the morning [the day after the announcement] and he was the first to say anything,” Wingfield said. “He told us, like, ‘Llisten, that’s what it is, we have to move on. It happens. It’s a business, and it’s not going to change us,” and he fully supported. We respect Coach Hatcher as much as anyone.

Bassett said she believed anyone who hired the college would be a great fit for the program. While she said she wanted to hire someone soon, the will be a thorough process.

“I’m extremely confident that we’re going to find a phenomenal leader for our position as head football coach,” Bassett said. “We will work with attention to detail and efficiency with the aim of appointing our new head coach as soon as possible.”

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