By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – There are those around, even in these ever-changing times, who still find purpose in the same careers they started long ago. Farmersville’s athletic director Dan Swagerty is one such person. For the past 41 years he has been involved in high school athletics in one fashion or another. Last week the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state office took notice awarding him the male winner of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award for the Central Section.
“This award caught me a little by surprise, but it is a great honor to be recognized by the state and local section,” Swagerty said.
Every year the CIF awards two athletic directors from all 10 sections with this distinction. It is designed to give special recognition to those who have remained in the CIF the longest. Swagerty was joined by Dos Palos’ Nikki Pigg.
Swagerty’s tenure has taken him all over the state. He has worked at high schools in the Southern, Sac-Joaquin, and Northern sections, and his longest tenure of 11 years and coutning, in the Central Section.
He is not just well-traveled but is also versatile in his field, holding a variety of positions over the years. As a coach he has headed up seven different sports teams. He coached basketball, one of two sports (the other being baseball) he played as a student, for more than 35 years and coached baseball for seven years. Swagerty spent 19 years as a volleyball coach and four years coaching golf. He also had stints as a coach for track, soccer, and tennis teams.
Swagerty also took his knowledge to section committees. A current member of the Board of Managers for the Central Section, he has also served on the North Section’s board and as president of the California Coaches Association.
Being a high school athlete, coaching may have seemed like a naturel fit for Swagerty, but suprisingly he stumbled into the career.
After graduating from Brethren Christian High School in Huntington Beach, Calif., Swagerty enrolled at Grace College in Indiana where he graduated with an associate’s degree in business before switching his major to physical education.
Swagerty was then lured back to California by Chet Kammerer, the Hall of Fame basektball coach for Westmont University in Santa Barbara, Calif.
“He offered me the assistant basketball coach job, and I was like, ‘sure I’ll come back home,’” Swagerty said.
The single job turned into a five-year training to be an athletic director. In that time he held the assistant baseball coach and sports information director positions.
From there he traveled back to Indiana where he began working with high schools for 13 years before returning to California again.
Swagerty, who is a more hands-on director, enjoys being at the front of everything happening athletically at his school, and section.
“You have your section commissioners and assistants, but they still need help doing all the other stuff they do,” Swagerty said. “I enjoy helping out, plus we get to see some great games.”