Wheaton College football coach Swider announces retirement

  • Daily Herald File PhotoWheaton College head football coach Mike Swider addresses his team following a 31-14 win over North Central College in a NCAA III Championship second round game in Naperville.

    Daily Herald File PhotoWheaton College head football coach Mike Swider addresses his team following a 31-14 win over North Central College in a NCAA III Championship second round game in Naperville.

  • Mike Swider

    Mike Swider

 
 
Updated 12/10/2019 11:59 AM

After 39 seasons with the Wheaton College football program, including the last 24 as coach, Mike Swider announced his retirement Tuesday.

"I have known for a while that this is the right time," Swider, 64, said in a school news release. "However, I decided to wait until now to make the announcement because this entire program is about the whole team and not one person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"If I had announced this decision before the start of the season, then it becomes about me. I did not want to put this program in a situation where every single game was about me. This season was about our seniors and our whole football team. Now that the season has ended, this is the right time to make this announcement."

Athletic director Julie Davis said the school will begin a national search for a new coach. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Jesse Scott will serve as interim coach.

Swider finished with 209 wins, good for 14th among active NCAA coaches at any level, and he won 80.1 percent of his games. The Thunder appeared in the NCAA Division III playoffs 10 times in Swider's 24 seasons, reaching the semifinals once.

This year's team was ranked No. 5 in the nation and reached the Division III quarterfinals before losing Saturday 34-33 to St. John's University in a game that ended in heartbreaking fashion.

Swider played for Wheaton College, graduating in 1977. He returned to the school in 1985 as defensive coordinator before taking charge of the program in 1996.

"You know in your heart when it is time," Swider said. "It is very important to me to leave when there are good coaches and players in place, and they are definitely here. The future is extraordinarily bright for Wheaton football."

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