Buchanan hoops coach Eric Swain to move to Clovis North as AD
Eric Swain, who elevated Buchanan High’s boys basketball program into the Central Section’s elite in a seven-year career, has stepped down to become Clovis North’s athletic director.
“When I got into education, I always had aspirations beyond coaching and getting into administration,” he said. “And the thought of being an athletic director is the best of both worlds — getting my feet wet in administration while still keeping a hand in athletics. But to work so hard to build something, and then step away, that’s what will be the hardest.”
Swain went 115-85 with the Bears. After a 19-38, two-year start — extending the program’s streak of consecutive losing seasons to six — he then went 96-47 (.671) with a share of two Tri-River Athletic Conference titles and a second-place finish in the section’s Division I playoffs in 2010.
Buchanan has shared one other league championship (1995) in the 20-year history of the program. And the Bears’ 24-5 (2011-12) and 22-8 (2009-10) records under Swain are their best, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
“Coach Swain was a fierce competitor,” said Loren LeBeau, the coach at TRAC opponent Central. “He built Buchanan the right way and, in doing so, helped them become one of the Valley’s best programs.”
Swain will make one more on-court appearance, coaching the City against the County in Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. Boys All-Star Game at Hoover. And it will be there that he will step out with the four-year starters who played the primary roles in Buchanan’s ascent — Ryan Swain, his son; and Alex Fertig, the sixth-leading career scorer in section history.
“It will be fun to finish with those two,” Eric Swain said. “I’ve heard all the horror stories from guys who coached their kids. But, fortunately, that was not the case with mine; it was a great ride.”
Swain is endorsing his junior varsity coach, Steve Dittmann, as his successor. And Buchanan Athletic Director Mike Vogt hinted that the school’s administration might go that direction: “One of Eric’s strong points was mentoring assistants and lower-level coaches, so, actually, the guys we have around here are legitimate.”
Hoops all-star DH
Bee All-Star Aaric Armstead and Brad Thakham of D-I champion Bullard also will be featured for the City boys.
Sierra, the D-IV runner-up, will be represented by coach Anthony Patino and players Jake Blunt and Derek Austrum.
The City/County girls will open the doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. Their game will showcase Bee All-Stars Alexandria Orlich (Clovis West) and Tiana Maxwell (Central) of the City and Kayla Luis (D-I champion Hanford) of the County.
By Andy Boogaard