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February 9, 2017 by Laura Phagan

Swartz named head coach for CWC women's basketball

Coach Ken Swartz talks to his women's basketball team on the sidelines of a basketball game

After serving interim coach for the Central Wyoming College women’s basketball team for the past four months, Ken Swartz has officially been named head coach for the team.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Swartz said. “I’m proud of this team; they’ve worked hard and have been through a lot of adversity.”

This year has been a struggle for the team, with only eight girls able to play; two have been on the bench due to injuries. Swartz said his goal as head coach is to recruit 10-11 new players for next season and create a competitive team on the floor. To date Swartz has five new recruits for next season and plans to have six more within the next six weeks.

“We will only have three return players,” Swartz said. “There will be some growing pains but nothing I haven’t been through before.”

Swartz brought former basketball player from Western Wyoming Community College, Mika Pinner, to be the assistant coach for the lady Rustlers.

“She has brought a lot to the program,” Swartz said. “She has gone above and beyond what my expectations were.”

Swartz was in retirement from Western when he received a call about the position at CWC from a father of a CWC player. After talking to athletic director, Steve Barlow, Swartz decided to accept the position.

My first inclination was to do it but then I thought I’d stay retired. But I missed being around the student athletes. ”

Ken Swartz

Swartz retired in 2014 and had more than 40 years of coaching experience. He spent 24 years coaching at the high school level and about 18 years at the college level. During his time as a high school coach he made 18 state tournament appearances in Wyoming. And during his tenure at Western his team averaged 21.5 wins per year and in his final year the team went 26-8 and lost in the Region IX finals by two to Nebraska Western. Academically at Western his teams were National Academic Champions in 2009, 2010 and 2011; something he hopes to continue to strive for at CWC.

Swartz was named Conference Coach of the Year twice, Sub-Region Coach of the Year three times and Region IX Coach of the Year twice, during his time at Western. In 2004, Swartz was inducted into the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Throughout his career his teams have won 650 total games.

“We are very happy to have Coach Swartz at CWC,” said Scott Miller, director of human resources. “His knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise are valued and we look forward to having him here to serve our athletes, students and community. Coach Swartz has a long history of coaching and leading athletes, teams and students to continued success. Our program at CWC is gaining momentum under his direction and we look forward to supporting his team.”