USAF ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force volleyball head coach Marc Swindle announced that he will retire from coaching at the end of the 2018 season. Swindle, who has been with the program for the last nine years, spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the team, before taking over head coaching duties in 2016.
“I decided to retire from coaching earlier this year and it was an incredibly tough decision,” Swindle said. “This last decade of coaching DI has been the most fortifying of my half-century of life. Almost every day, I got to spend time with young women who do more in a morning than most of us do in a week. I listened to the latest music, learned about satellite orbits and mathematical flow models for predicting price fluctuations ... none of which I understood. I’m really proud of everything I did for the sport before I started coaching, but I’m much more proud that I nurtured this group of incredible humans for so long.”
Swindle enters his final week of coaching with a 38-54 record – and will finish his tenure with the best overall winning percentage of any Air Force coach at the Division I level. He was the program’s first DI coach to collect a double-digit win total in their first season (10 in 2016), has tallied at least 10 victories in all three seasons as the head coach and has been on the sideline for five of the seven 10-win seasons in Air Force’s Division I history.
With 14 victories so far this season, Air Force is tied for the program’s second-highest win total at the Division I level. The Falcons claimed the first-ever victories over teams from the ACC (Wake Forest) and Big 10 (Maryland) this year, en route to a non-conference record that included the second-highest winning percentage at the DI level (10-4, .714). In addition, by completing a season sweep of Nevada on Nov. 8, Air Force improved to 14-14 on the year and marked just the fourth time in DI history that the Falcons had been .500 or better in November – a feat that includes a 13-13 mark on Nov. 1 this year.
Swindle, who took over a program in 2016 that included only three veterans with any significant playing experience, saw his young squad win eight of their first 10 matches and post the program’s best 10-match start to a coaching tenure since 1981. He collected his first coaching victory in the team’s opener against Jacksonville State on Aug. 26, while the Falcons captured the team title at the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic and finished the non-conference slate with the program’s best winning percentage (.692) in nearly two decades. Following a 3-0 win over Fresno State during the Mountain West campaign, Swindle became the program’s first Division I head coach to collect a double-digit win total in their debut season.
The Falcons continued to improve during his second season, matching the Academy record for MW wins in a season (seven) and equaling the most overall victories at the DI level (14). He saw his lone senior, Piper Heineck, record a bevy of notable honors, as she set three Air Force DI records in blocking, became just the fourth Falcon to earn all-conference accolades from the Mountain West and was the first to ever claim MW Player of the Week honors more than once in a season. Despite losing one of his top offensive threats to injury after the opening weekend, Swindle’s 2017 squad captured their first victory over Army West Point in 13 years, their first win over New Mexico in 14 years, their first-ever road win over UNLV and their first season sweep of Fresno State – a feat highlighted by the program’s first victory in Fresno.
As an assistant coach during the 2010-15 seasons, Swindle saw the Falcons record their first double-digit win total in more than a decade (13 in 2014) and tally the most conference wins (seven in 2014) since moving to Division I. He also helped Air Force snap a 74-match losing skid in conference play (2010, San Diego State) and a 66-match match skid in conference play on the road (2012, at Nevada). Swindle coached Akokwe Clement to all-conference accolades in back-to-back years – the first such Division I occurrence in Academy history – and helped Air Force to two High Honorable Mention recruiting awards from PrepVolleyball.com (2012, 2014).
Swindle coaches his final two matches at the Academy later this week, when the Falcons host Boise State on Thursday, Nov. 15, and Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 17. The season finale for the Falcons’ 2018 season will be on Monday, Nov. 19, when Air Force travels to Fresno State.