Swafford named Southridge boys basketball coach

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Kyle Swafford addresses the attendees of the Southwest Dubois County School Board Thursday after his hire to be the next boys basketball coach at Southridge. Swafford spent three seasons coaching the girls at Monrovia, and the last five as the boys coach of the Bulldogs. He went a combined 116-78 and won three sectional championships between the two programs. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG - The Southwest Dubois County School Board made the decision on Thursday to hire Kyle Swafford to be the next Southridge boys basketball coach.

Swafford comes to the Raiders after spending the previous five seasons in the same position at Monrovia. He led the Bulldogs to a sectional championship in 2019, and also coached the Monrovia girls team to sectional championships in 2014 and 2016. He went a combined 116-78 during his tenure with the two programs.

Swafford replaces Mark Rohrer, who went 45-32 in three seasons with the Raiders.

"I'm very excited," Swafford said. "I think this is a wonderful community, wonderful town, a wonderful school. I've been very impressed with the leadership, and I'm just looking forward to getting things rolling and getting started."

He told the Herald that it was "extremely tough" to leave Monrovia, but he pointed to all the athletic success that the Raiders have attained. Swafford mentioned the heights the football team has achieved - and that the baseball team will be playing in its third straight state championship game on Tuesday. He also noted that the 2020-21 Raiders went to semi-state in basketball, and hailed Huntingburg Memorial Gym for being one of the coolest in the state.

Southridge athletic director Scott Buening said there were between 15 and 20 applicants - and they fielded some quality applicants for the position. He said the decision to recommend Swafford to the board happened around late last week, earlier this week.

"One thing that just really jumped out was A, his energy, his enthusiasm, his attention to detail," Buening said. "When we talked to one of his references, the term they used - and this hit me really hard - was he's got an 'it' factor with kids.

"And I think that's one of the more important traits when you look at a leader of your program that they have that ability to relate, that ability to motivate, that ability to instill confidence in these kids - the kids that they're coaching - and run the program and lead the program," he continued.

Swafford graduated from Edgewood in 1996 and attended Indiana University, receiving a degree in education. He'll spend time teaching physical education at both the high school and middle school, while also serving as dean of students at the latter location. Swafford golfed with the Mustangs and later coached golf at Monrovia, too. He played point guard during his prep days, and noted he's honest about being tougher on his point guards. Swafford believes setting up for success starts with the point guard position.

He enjoys the process of forming scouting reports to know the opposition - and added that he wants to instill confidence and build relationships with his players. Swafford thinks that a coach believing in his players and players believing in their coach can sometimes go farther than a scouting report or the X's and O's.

The Raiders graduated four of their five starters from this past season's semi-state team, and Swafford knows it'll be a process and a challenge, but he's up for it.

"We're going to hit the ground running as soon as I can start reaching out and getting in touch with some people," Swafford said.




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