MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Nazarene University playing floor will now be known as the Paul Swanson Court.
During halftime of the men’s basketball game Saturday during MVNU’s 50th Homecoming weekend, Swanson, who has coached volleyball for the Cougars for 35 years was brought on the floor for the announcement. When he stepped on the floor, he didn’t know what it was for.
“Complete surprise,” Swanson said. “No expectation what so ever. I had no clue. I feel very, very blessed.”
“For all of my family to happen to be here, that’s just really awesome,” Swanson said. “I almost couldn’t even look at the players because it just represents too many lives — the impact of that.”
Swanson has now coached the Cougar volleyball program for 35 years. Heading into this season, he posted a career record of 1,122-424 (.726). He is the second winningest active coach in the NAIA. He has been selected as the conference coach of the year eight times and has been put in both the NAIA and NCCAA Hall of Fame.
“In the middle of them talking about all of the numbers or whatever, which are kind of meaningless, I am just thinking about how blessed I am in relation to my family and these people,” Swanson said. “I praise God for it all.”
For the past 35 years, the MVNU hardwood has been associated with Swanson during the volleyball season, but now it will be tied to Paul Swanson all year round. He has left a lasting impression on the floor, but his biggest impressions could be with his family, both at home and on the court.
“Coaching is not a family-friendly job, so to my wife and boys I couldn’t be more grateful for them sticking with it,” Swanson said. “Each individual life is just so precious in terms of the players. There’s a story behind every one of them that deserves to be told. I’m just so grateful to be put in this position.”