ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca College officially welcomed its 10th football head coach to the program during a press conference Tuesday morning at the Athletic and Events Center on campus.
Dan Swanstrom, who has been the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania since 2014, will take over leadership of the program in January.
He was part of the coaching team that lead Penn to back-to-back Ivy League Championships in 2015 and 2016, IC officials said.
During the press conference, Swanstrom was presented with an Ithaca Bombers No. 10 football jersey by Susan Bassett, Ithaca College director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports.
Swanstrom said, “I’m just so excited to be here, to be a part of a historic program — a winning tradition — that I feel like you can build on. Just looking at this process, Ithaca had everything I was looking for.”
Swanstrom applied for the position in November after former head coach Mike Welch announced in early August that 2016 would be his last season with the Bombers.
The timing of his application was stressful — he found out about the job the Tuesday before Penn faced off against Cornell University for the Ivy League Championship game on Nov. 19.
When the team got to Ithaca that Friday, Swanstrom said he got to Hotel Ithaca and, “…I just run up here. I just went for a jog and ran around the campus and just took it in, you know, just to see what the school is like, to see the facilities.”
He said that was really the first step in the process to his hiring, which made him the official coach Monday afternoon.
Swanstrom said he hasn’t made any decision about the coaching staff yet, but said everything will be under review.
Check out the lives stream video by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice. The entire statement from Ithaca College, which includes additional information about Coach Swanstrom, can be found below.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Ithaca College Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreational Sports, Susan Bassett ’79, announced that Dan Swanstrom has been named the 10th head coach for the prestigious football program on South Hill. Swanstrom will begin his appointment at IC on January 3, 2017.
“I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Dan Swanstrom as the next head coach for Ithaca College football,” said Bassett. “At every stage of his career, Dan has elevated the programs of which he is apart to championship-level performance. He is committed to the scholar-athlete ideal and has proven that excellence in academics and athletics are compatible endeavors as demonstrated at two world-class universities, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania.”
Swanstrom, a native of Texas and 2005 graduate of Rhodes College, comes to Ithaca after previous stints at Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins and the University of Redlands.
“I would like to thank Susan Bassett and the search committee for this opportunity,” said Swanstrom. “My family and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Ithaca College community. I truly believe that everything I have done in my personal and professional life has led me to this opportunity. Being a head coach at a top academic institution with a proud winning tradition and an unbelievable campus is everything I could have hoped for. The passion for Ithaca Football was very apparent during the interviewing process and gives me great confidence in the future. I can’t wait to get started.”
Since 2014, he has been the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Penn, which won back-to-back Ivy League Championships in 2015 and 2016. Swanstrom oversaw the growth of Alek Torgersen, a two-time First-Team All-Ivy selection, to one of the greatest careers at Penn, as he is just the second signal caller in school history to pass for more than 7,000 yards.
During his time at Hopkins from 2008-13, Swanstrom began as a quarterbacks coach and was quickly promoted to offensive coordinator and then to associate head coach. Hopkins won five Centennial Conference titles while Swanstrom was on the sidelines, and the Blue Jays averaged more than 500 yards of offense in three different seasons. Four straight players were named the conference’s player of the year under Swanstrom’s watch. Every significant offensive team record in school history was broken during his tenure as the offensive coordinator and no less than 75 individual records fell during that time.
His collegiate coaching career began at the University of Redlands from 2006-08. He was the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach during his time there and Redlands won the 2007 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Swanstrom also coached one season as a high school coach at Stratford High School in Texas, where he coached current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
As a student-athlete at Rhodes, Swanstrom was a two-time captain, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a Gagliardi Trophy finalist. He also played in the German Football League with the Darmstadt Diamonds after graduation.
Since 1958, only three coaches (Dick Lyon, Jim Butterfield and Mike Welch) have been at the helm of Bombers football. Swanstrom replaces Hall of Fame coach Mike Welch, who retired at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign with 169 victories in 23 seasons.
“Dan Swanstrom will embrace and honor the tradition of excellence of Bomber football and lead the program to the level of competitive success that Ithaca aspires to on the field,” stated Bassett. “At IC, we do things the right way, the Bomber way and I am confident that while Coach Swanstrom will bring his own style to leading the football program, he will embody the values we hold dear; integrity, respect, sportsmanship and a high work ethic.”
After an extensive and comprehensive process to select the next coach of Ithaca College football, Swanstrom, stood out above the rest. The search committee, chaired by Marc Hudak ’90, was comprised of Bassett, Tariq Ahmad ’04, Tom Heinzelman ’75, Dan Juvan ’09, Mead Loop ’88, Mike O’Donovan ’99, Paul Parker ’90, Becky Robinson ’88 and Todd Wilkowski ’93. Committee members met n person with semifinalist candidates on November 29-30. Scott Shafer P ’17, collegiate coach at Stanford, Michigan and Syracuse, served as committee consultant.
“Dan Swanstrom emerged as the right person at this time to lead the Ithaca College football program,” expressed Bassett. “Dan is a winner. He has a proven track record of success as both an athlete — from his early days playing high school football in Texas, at Rhodes College as a Gagliardi Trophy finalist — and, most importantly as a coach at the University of Redlands, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania.”
Three semifinalists advanced to the on-campus interviews, which took place from December 5-8. The finalists showcased their career paths all day on campus and interviewed with numerous groups – the screening committee, head coaches and staff members, admissions and financial services, athletic trainers, faculty-athletic representatives and senior football players. Hudak and Wilkowski also returned to South Hill for the finalist interviews.
“Coach Swanstrom’s background, credentials and record of success speaks for itself,” stated Hudak. “I consider him a man of great character and I am confident that he will lead this program with class and integrity as others before him have.”
Distinguished Hall of Fame coaches on the committee were Robinson, Jeff Long, Marty Nichols ’90, Rick Suddaby and George Valesente ’66. Johan Dulfer, Karrie Moore, Jennifer Potter ’92 and Patrick Ouckama ’05.
“The committees implemented for this process were critical to our analysis and determination to this successful outcome. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially committee chair Marc Hudak, for their commitment to the process to help identify the next head coach of Ithaca College football,” Bassett said.
Swanstrom and his wife, Kristin, have a son, Harrison (five), and daughter, Ellie (three).