NewsMVNU's Swanson to Be Inducted into NCCAA Hall of Fame
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Paul Swanson, the head women’s volleyball coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, has been selected as one of this year’s inductees into the National Christian College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
Swanson and Jean Penfound of Moody Bible (Ill.) Institute will be inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame during the annual NCCAA Convention on Friday, June 2, at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, South Carolina.
"This is quite an honor,” said Swanson of his selection. "It is really not one of those things that you set out to get as a coach. However, it does help to reinforce the belief that Christ has had his hands on the work that we have been doing here over the years. This award is as much a reflection on the players who have come through this program. Just having an opportunity to have a small impact on their lives through the years has been an amazing blessing.”
"When I think of Paul Swanson, I think of ability, integrity, humility, and respect,” said Wayne Yerxa, associate professor of business and faculty athletics representative at MVNU. "He is not only concerned about the team’s athletic and academic development, but he is also concerned about the team’s spiritual growth. Paul strives for team unity on the floor, and more importantly, unity with the Lord in each of his student-athletes.”
Over the past 22 seasons, Swanson has led the MVNU women’s volleyball program from relative obscurity to become one of the winningest small college programs in the Midwest. During his tenure with the Lady Cougars, Swanson has led MVNU to a 764-264 record with a .743 winning percentage. He has guided the program to six conference titles, 14 NCCAA region titles, and 15 straight trips to the NCCAA national tournament, and the Lady Cougars have consistently been in the NAIA national rankings.
When Swanson took over the MVNU program in 1984, the Lady Cougars had compiled a 109-97 record in its first eight years of existence. However, by 1987, with his first recruiting class in their junior year, the team went 31-7 and the program has posted 19 straight winning seasons since then.
For Swanson and the Lady Cougars, the decade of the 1990s was full of highlights. The team posted an overall record of 396-107 (.787 winning percentage) that included an incredible 122-9 mark in home matches. At one point, MVNU won an NAIA-record 70 consecutive home matches - a mark that stood until 1999 when it was eclipsed by two-time NAIA national champion Columbia (Mo.) College.
During his career at MVNU, Swanson has been named the conference Coach of the Year four times and the NCCAA district or region Coach of the Year 13 times. He was also featured in Sports Illustrated’s "Faces in the Crowd” on October 6, 1997. The Lady Cougars have topped the 30-win mark in each of the past 13 seasons with seven seasons of 40 or more wins and two years with 50 or more wins. Swanson has also coached seven NAIA All-Americans, 17 NCCAA All-Americans, and two conference Players of the Year. He has also had 16 NCCAA All-America Scholar-Athletes and 13 NAIA All-America Scholar-Athletes.
A native of Illinois, Swanson graduated from North Park (Ill.) College in 1975 after playing basketball for the Vikings. He went to West Virginia University after graduation and served as an assistant volleyball coach while working on his master’s degree.
Swanson traveled to Japan and South America as a coach with Athletes in Action during the summers of 1982 and 1983 respectively before taking the head coaching position at Waynesburg (Pa.) College in 1983. After a 15-15 campaign at Waynesburg, Swanson came to MVNU and he now stands just 18 wins from tying the NAIA all-time wins mark of 779 that is currently held by former Georgetown (Ky.) College coach Donna Hawkins. Swanson’s overall record is now 779-279.
In addition to coaching, Swanson teaches in the Physical Education Department at MVNU and serves as the department chair. He was recognized for his academic contributions at MVNU in 2002 when he was awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching - the highest award that an MVNU faculty member can receive.
Swanson resides in Mount Vernon with his wife, Susie. The couple has three sons - Casey, Brady, and Riley.