Allegheny’s head baseball coach Kelly Swiney knows a thing or two about the rigor of being a student-athlete. Swiney, a ’99 Allegheny alum, played for the school’s baseball team all four years while majoring in managerial economics.
Managing time for classes and practice was something Swiney learned to do early on and is something he instills in his athletes today. Swiney, an advocate for the importance of a college education, emphasizes how important it is to work hard both on and off the field.
Under Swiney’s coaching, Mike Costello, ’13, graduated as an Academic All- American, driving home the values of achieving goals. Having a clear set of goals is one way Swiney helps his athletes to succeed.
“We talk about our goals, how to achieve them, then follow through,” said Swiney.
Taking the goals one step at a time to try and make it into reality is how Swiney put it into perspective to his players.
“Try to let the goals motivate you, but focus on the day to day training to achieve them,” Swiney said.
This season the team has one goal in mind: to win conference. At this point in the season the team is 5-3 in conference play.
Swiney knows a lot about winning conferences after playing on a team that placed in the top two for regional conferences all four years at Allegheny. The drive behind Swiney when he coaches is to give the men the tools necessary to succeed like his team did during his time at Allegheny.
“The biggest thing for me is that I had a great academic and baseball career, which I want my players to also have. This is the motivation for me to coach these athletes,” said Swiney. “I put pressure on myself to be just as successful from when I played to now when the team plays.”
The team tries to follow Swiney’s example of positive attitude and the experience he brings to the team.
“Coach motivates us a lot. He played here, he knows how to perform well, he knows how to get us going and he passes that onto us,” said Cole Baker, ’18.
Another major point Swiney emphasizes in regards to both baseball and academics is mental toughness. Swiney explained how both are good examples of a test of willpower.
Last year, the majority of the pitchers graduated, leaving this year’s team with a fresh pitching staff consisting solely of freshmen. Although the team had some downfalls with the new additions, they were able to improve their overall skill set through practice at the mound.
According to Swiney, baseball is full of strikeouts and failures, however, through perseverance you can get through almost anything. As far as the pitching staff is concerned, the freshmen stepped up to practice, stuck with it and worked hard to get them where they are today, with an 13-11 record.
The same “go get it” attitude applies to hitting the books for Swiney. Working through to your deadlines and putting out your best effort is something Swiney stands for in his athletes.
Nick Dibucci, ’18, takes Swiney’s mental toughness mentality with him into the classroom.
“Coach always makes sure academics comes first. He emphasizes that we should do school work in our free time to keep professors happy,” said Dibucci.
Swiney has coached at several colleges before coming back to his alma mater. He first served as assistant coach at Amherst College, Washington and Jefferson College, Thiel College and Kings College. He then landed at Allegheny in ’09 where he has been head coach for six years now. Swiney has held his athletes to the same high standard throughout his career in coaching and enjoys preparing them for the working world to help them conquer all that lies ahead.