PHOENIX, Ariz. – Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil and Vice-President for Athletics Don Mitchell announce the hiring of former major league pitcher Bill Swift as the Firestorm's head baseball coach. Swift served as baseball coach at Scottsdale Christian Academy from 2001 until accepting the Arizona Christian baseball position on Tuesday, June 18.
"Bill Swift was a star player in the College World Series, the Olympic Games and the Major Leagues," said President Munsil. "But rather than rest on his playing accomplishments, he has spent more than a decade building an impressive Christian high school baseball program and investing in the lives of young men. He has the combination of baseball knowledge and steady, mature Christian leadership we desire for the student-athletes in our baseball program."
Swift commented, "I am so excited to be stepping into this next chapter in my life! God has opened the door to ACU, and I am so pleased to be part of this university. I look forward to passing on my knowledge of the great game of baseball to this group of young men."
Swift will be responsible for leading the Firestorm into their second season as a member of the prestigious Golden State Athletics Conference and their fourth season of intercollegiate baseball. The last two ACU teams won over 30 games and played in post-season tournaments.
ACU's 2012 team, directed by Doyle Wilson, posted a 34-23 record and won the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Conference Tournament, appeared for the first time in the NAIA National Tournament, and had two players selected in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft. The 2013 team, with Mitchell as head coach, went 31-27, played in the school's first GSAC Tournament, first National Christian College Athletics Association (NCCAA) West Regional and first NCCAA Division I World Series in Ohio, and had three MLB draftees.
In 2001, Swift seized the reins of a Scottsdale Christian Academy baseball program which had dwindled to just 11 players and built it to 32 players, revitalized two junior high programs, brought home baseball games back to campus by renovating and rebuilding SCA's baseball facility, and established SCA's first baseball booster club and implemented fundraising programs and promotions for alumni games, baseball clinics, team publications, and combined travel for baseball tournaments with college tours.
Under Swift's direction, SCA posted 274 victories (.743), won four Metro League championships and appeared in 10 State playoff tournaments. SCA won State baseball championships in 2004 and 2005, and placed second in the State 2A Tournament in 2003, 2006 and 2011. Swift received State Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2005, and Metro League Coach of the Year recognition in 2006.
After graduating from South Portland (Maine) High School, Swift attended the University of Maine in Orono from 1981-84, where he was a four-year letter-winner. Recruited as an outfielder, Swift converted to pitcher as a sophomore. He earned All-America honors in 1983 and 1984, and All-ECAC recognition in 1982, 1983, and 1984. He played in four consecutive NCAA Division I College World Series and led Maine to a third-place finish in 1983. After the Minnesota Twins selected Swift in the second round of the 1983 MLB draft, Swift did not sign and returned for his senior season and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in education in 1984.
Swift also was a member of the 1984 United States Olympics team which won a silver medal in Los Angeles, and served as flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies. Swift was the U.S. winning pitcher in its game against a powerful Nicaragua national team. He also was a member of the American team for the 1982 World Games and the 1983 Pan American Games.
The Mariners selected Swift in the first round of the 1984 MLB draft with the second pick overall. Swift pitched for 13 seasons for the Seattle Mariners (1985-86, 1988-91, 1998), San Francisco Giants (1992-94) and Colorado Rockies (1995-97). Swift won 94 and lost 78 with 767 strikeouts and a 3.95 earned-run average in 1599-2/3 major league innings.
Swift appeared in 282 games, 170 in relief, and totaled 24 saves and a 41-49 record in seven seasons in Seattle, and won the Mariners' 1989 Fireman Relief Pitcher of the Year Award. Swift was traded to the Giants in 1992, and was moved from the bullpen into the starting rotation. After leading the National League with a 2.08 ERA in 1992, Swift went 21-8 with 157 strikeouts and a 2.82 ERA in 195 innings of work and placed second in the voting for the 1993 Cy Young Award.
The Giants traded Swift to the Rockies, and he went 9-3 in 19 starts with a 4.94 ERA in 1995, and helped Colorado to its first-ever playoff appearance. He returned to Seattle in 1998, and went 11-9 with a 5.85 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 144-2/3 innings, and then retired from baseball.
Swift has been inducted into the State of Maine Hall of Fame, the University of Maine Hall of Fame, and is a nominee for recognition into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 1999, was named in a USA Today poll as one of the Top 50 athletes of all-time from the State of Maine.
Swift and his wife, Michelle, were married in 1986, and have three daughters, Aubrey, 22, who recently graduated from Chapman University (Calif.), Mackenzie, 21, a student at the University of San Diego, and Brynlie, 15, a student at Scottsdale Christian Academy.