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February 26, 2013

VSU hires new volleyball coach

VALDOSTA — Mike Swan, a 27-year veteran in the collegiate coaching ranks, has been named the new head volleyball coach at Valdosta State.

“I am really excited to have Mike join our team,” said Valdosta State athletic director Herb Reinhard in making the announcement. “He brings a wealth of experience at a very high level of collegiate volleyball to our program. I have full confidence he will build on the firm foundation already established in our volleyball program and will continue to move us forward into becoming a program that is prominent on a national stage.”

Swan has coached at nearly every level of collegiate volleyball during his career. He has built successful programs at the NAIA, NCAA Division I, II and III levels. During his 27 years in volleyball, Swan has totaled 520 victories, which ranks among the top 40 among active Division I coaches. Eleven times in his career, his teams have won 20 or more matches in a season. He has directed a squad to postseason tournament play on 15 occasions.

“I would like to thank President (William) McKinney, Herb Reinhard and the rest of the selection committee,” Swan stated. “Everyone I met during the interview process had so many good things to say about working at Valdosta State, and about the experiences that student-athletes have when they are members of a VSU squad. I am very excited to join the Valdosta State family and look forward to meeting the expectations that come with working at this university.”

Swan comes to Valdosta State from Division I Evansville, where he has served as the head coach since 2003. In his 10 seasons at Evansville, Swan tallied 124 victories and twice led his team to postseason play.

While his Purple Aces achieved on the court, they also excelled in the classroom. Evansville was honored with the AVCA Academic Excellence Award eight times in his 10 seasons, and in each of the last five years. Five times a Purple Ace was named All-Missouri Valley Conference under Swan, while a player was tabbed to the MVC’s All-Freshman team on three occasions.

Prior to Evansville, Swan spent five years at Division I Morehead State, where he accumulated 82 wins. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 2001 after leading his team to a 23-10 record, one of four years he led the Eagles into postseason play. He coached the 2001 and 2002 OVC Player of the Year and the 2001 OVC Freshman of the Year while at Morehead State. His emphasis on success in the classroom was also evident, as he directed his squad to the AVCA Academic Excellence Award in four of his five seasons with Morehead State.

Prior to Morehead State, Swan spent one season at Division II American International, where he tallied a 23-10 record and three years at Division III Manchester College. He began his collegiate coaching career at Huntington University, where he put together teams that dominated the NAIA ranks. His teams made postseason play in all eight of his years with Huntington and won conference championships with undefeated records in seven of those eight years. He earned conference Coach of the Year honors all seven of those years, including District Coach of the Year accolades in 1987 and 1993, and saw his team finish ranked in the NAIA Top 25 in 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Swan’s head coaching career began at Southwood High School in Wabash, Ind. in 1979. During his six seasons with the school, he directed the Knights to a 115-37 record.

“The success of the Valdosta State athletic program as a whole is one that is known nationwide,” Swan stated after the announcement. “Everyone I talk to tells me that VSU is absolutely a great place to work. I look forward to the new challenges that will come with taking over this program and building it to match the level of success that the rest of the Blazer teams currently enjoy.”

A native of Largo, Ind., Swan graduated from Manchester College in 1979 with a degree in Secondary Education.

“We were very pleased with the strength of the pool of applicants for our position,” Reinhard concluded. “As we expected, there was considerable interest in coaching the program at Valdosta State, and I feel strongly that we have found a tremendous new coach to lead us forward.”

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