Aug. 24, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT (August 24, 2009) - Sacred Heart head women's basketball coach Ed Swanson has been selected for induction into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. Swanson, who led the Pioneers to their second Northeast Conference Championship last season, is poised to begin his 20th season on the Sacred Heart bench.
The 2009 New England Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is slated for October 9th at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. The New England Basketball Hall of Fame is anchored at the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island and 2009 marks the fifth induction ceremony in the organization's history. Swanson is joined by the University of Vermont's Sharon Dawley as the only two coaches being inducted in the intercollegiate women's basketball coaching category.
Swanson, who has built the Pioneers into one of the top teams year in and year out in the Northeast Conference, is coming a season where he led SHU to a perfect run through the league and the program's second conference title in the last four years. The Pioneers posted just the third perfect 18-0 mark in NEC history last year earning the head coach his third NEC Coach of the Year award. Last season's magical run included a pair of coaching milestones as Swanson moved past former Mount St. Mary's head coach Bill Sheahan (124) in all-time Northeast Conference wins at 138 and counting while also eclipsing the 300 win plateau in career victories.
In their 10 years in the Northeast Conference, Swanson's Pioneers have never missed the playoffs and have never finished lower then third in the final league standings. He has guided Sacred Heart to a 195-101 record since joining the Division I ranks in 1999-00. After a 0-5 start to the 2008-09 season, Swanson's Pioneers got their season on track and finished the year with 25-8 record including 21-straight wins, a school record and mark that ranked second in the country. After a perfect run through the NEC schedule, the Pioneers finished off their amazing season by capturing their second league title and trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four years.
The 2005-06 season was a magical run for Swanson and his program as the Pioneers made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after capturing the NEC Championship in just their seventh season at the Division I level. Swanson led the Pioneers to a school record 26-5 record along with a then record mark of 16 NEC wins while he himself earned his 250th career victory. He has guided the Pioneers to five 20 win seasons including four in the last six years. Swanson's Pioneers enter this season riding a streak of nine-straight winning seasons and eight-straight seasons with at least 18.
Under his leadership, the Pioneers have become one of the toughest teams on their home court, the William H. Pitt Center. Since the opening of the Pitt Center in 1997, his Sacred Heart teams have won 84% (138-27) of their home games including a perfect 15-0 in 2005-06 and 14-0 in 2003-04. Between 2002 and 2004, the Pioneers put together a string of 19-straight regular season wins at home in the Pitt Center. Their .836 winning percentage at home ranks the Pitt Center nationally as one the toughest arenas for visiting teams to earn a win.
Since joining the Northeast Conference in 1999-00, the Pioneers have had a pair of Northeast Conference Player of the Year and three NEC Rookie of the Year award winners. Last season, Alisa Apo became just the second player in conference history to win the league's top-player award after earning the rookie of the year award the previous season. SHU center Kaitlin Sowinski joined former Pioneer Amanda Pape with back-to-back All-NEC first team awards. Pape, the program's all-time leading scorer, was named both the NEC's Player and Rookie of the Year while leading the Pioneers to their first-ever league title. Apo, Pape and Nicolle Rubino all earned Rookie of the Year honors under Swanson's guidance.
For more information on this year's event and to obtain ticket information for the event, fans can visit www.internationalsport.com/basketball/. For the last three Ceremonies, famed TV basketball analyst Billy Packer served as MC. The 2009 Master of Ceremonies will be announced on September 1.