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MVNU competition court named after Paul Swanson, Women’s Volleyball Coach

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The competition court at Ariel Arena on the campus of Mount Vernon Nazarene University will honor the longest-standing coach in the University’s history as it becomes Paul Swanson Court.

Swanson was surprised with the announcement during Homecoming Weekend when he was asked to join campus leadership on the court during halftime of the men’s basketball game with Cornerstone University.

“I have been blessed with a very long and rewarding time here at MVNU. I know that God has richly blessed our program,” Swanson said. “The Lord has caused the right players at the right time to come to MVNU. It is our desire to keep Christ at the center of everything we do, and the Lord has rewarded and blessed us.”

In his 35 years as volleyball coach at MVNU, Swanson has built not only an impressive win-loss record, but more importantly, he has proven himself a valuable mentor to his players both on and off the court.

“His wins are just part of his success,” said Tracy Waal, Vice President of Student Life. “But, it is the combination of his ability to coach players, invest in them — character development — that is why we want his name on the floor.”

The idea of Paul Swanson Court was resurrected after members of the athletic department started meeting with athletic alumni who reminded school officials there was once discussion of naming an old court after the beloved coach. The support of that idea coming to fruition was evident as Swanson was joined by over 50 former and current players prior to the announcement.

“It was a joy to see so many alums come to this event. Each alum is a special blessing in their own way,” Swanson said.

Swanson paid tribute to his family, including wife, Sue, and sons, Casey, Brady and Riley, for their own dedication to the program.

“Coaching is not a family-friendly job, so to have my family there for this unique honor meant everything. They have sacrificed so much,” Swanson said.

Highlights from Swanson’s career include:

•Ranked second in NAIA volleyball’s winningest active coaches;

•Took Lady Cougars to the conference championship match six times from 1999 to 2007;

•Achieved 122-9 home record in the 1990s that included a 70-match winning streak;

•Eight-time conference coach of the year;

•NCAA region Coach of the Year 17 times;

•During the 2012 season, became first women’s volleyball coach to mark 1,000 wins; and

•Named to NAIA Hall of Fame in 2008.

MVNU is proud and grateful Swanson has chosen to pursue his coaching career with the university.

“For his loyalty, commitment, dedication, demeanor, positively and servanthood, for his gentle and patient spirit, for the impact made on the lives of so many students, players, faculty, staff, family and friends; and for a life that reflects the love of God, to you, Paul, we say ‘thank you,’” said Travis Keller, Director of Alumni Relations, during the announcement.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.