Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Shawn Swords
School: Laurentian University
Position: Head coach
Seniority: 11 years
Previous school/position: Professional basketball player
- How did you first get involved in coaching? What was your path to your position as head coach of at Laurentian?
I first got involved the way most do through basketball camps and clinics. My path is a bit different. Professionally overseas as a player, you are usually asked to run clinics and camps in the region to market the sport and improve local players. After my playing career was about to end, it was time to move over to the coaching side. The path was playing five years with the Senior National Team as well as 10 years overseas in six different countries.
- Who are the people that have influenced you most as a coach?
This list is quite long: Jay Triano, Peter Campbell, Dave Smart, Mike Katz, Jason Hurley, Ken Wallenius, John Campbell, Peter Guarasci, Rando Dessarzin, Charlie Auffray, I could continue.
Some of these names are former coaches I’ve had or coaches I’ve worked with. They have all in some way influenced my style and knowledge. In most cases, they continue to influence me.
- How would you describe your coaching style?
Passionate players coach.
- Which coach do you admire the most, and why?
Can’t say I’d admire any one coach. I admire all coaches for the time, effort, patience, compassion required to do this job. Regardless of the perception of a team’s success or failure, every coach is trying their best to put their team in a situation to be successful. Success can look differently from team to team and year to year.
- What is the most “out-of-the-box” thing you’ve done as a coach?
Play with my players in the offseason
- What is your greatest coaching moment or achievement?
Greatest would have to be the gratitude shown to me by former players. Knowing that I have helped them in some way become better players but more importantly into commendable young men.
- What’s the best advice you can give to an athlete and/or athlete’s parents?
The best advice would be to believe in yourself and work as hard as you can. For parents, I’d say support your children and allow them to learn from each coach they have.
- How have you changed as a coach over time? What principles/values, etc. have remained the same?
I have lightened up on some aspects of coaching and listen even more to what players are thinking on and off the court. Things that have remained the same: punctuality, work ethic, confidence as a group.
- What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in coaching mode?
I enjoy hanging out with my family, doing just about anything with them is great! I also enjoy playing hockey.