Every athlete knows the importance of a great coach. Through a lifetime of impacting players on and off the court, tennis coach Bruce Swan excels as one of The King’s Academy’s most admired coaches. From fighting in the Vietnam War to working with NASA, Coach Swan’s exceptional life experiences propelled him toward the career he loves most: impacting young people through tennis.
Born in 1945, Coach Swan grew up in Madison, Wis. and joined the Marines after attending Indiana University. Coach Swan sharpened his tennis skills by playing against top national athletes in a league sponsored by the Marine Corp. He was then transferred to Vietnam, where he became a military parachutist and calculus teacher for officers.
“During that time, I lost four fraternity brothers to the war, and I felt as though it was my duty to join,” said Coach Swan. “If I didn’t go [to Vietnam], then somebody else would, and that thought really bothered me.”
After leaving Vietnam, Coach Swan was stationed for six months in Iwakuni, Japan, where he taught accounting at Mitsui Petrochemical. When his wife gave birth to his son in Osaka, Japan, Coach Swan reports that multiple students walked over five miles to deliver presents for the newborn.
“The students I taught were some of the most loyal people I know, and I still hear from some of them,” said Coach Swan. “I absolutely love the Japanese culture, and I would go back in a heartbeat.”
Upon returning to the United States, Coach Swan became involved in multiple entrepreneurial ventures, including a company that created serial communications and broadcasting lenses for NASA missiles. Currently, he trains students through private tennis lessons and coaches both the middle school and Varsity tennis teams.
“I’ve witnessed the complete spectrum of kids through coaching, and The King’s Academy kids are the most special bunch that I’ve ever witnessed,” said Coach Swan. “They all have in common a thirst for becoming better, and I am so thankful that The King’s Academy lets me work with them.”
Coach Swan has worked alongside Varsity Head Coach Jeff Hanna and his players to bring home six state championships in a row. He also trains 10 to 15 athletes in private lessons through his personal coaching program, including senior Jacob Tanner and junior Ashlyn Davidson. Both Tanner and Davidson report that Swan serves not only as a tennis coach to them but also as a role model.
“I love Coach Swan’s faith in people,” said Davidson. “No matter how skilled or talented you are, Coach Swan always believes in you. He has impacted the tennis program by giving people a love for tennis and the will to keep playing even when the competition gets hard.”
Outside of coaching tennis, Coach Swan enjoys multiple hobbies, including writing, and has written a 150-page book delving into the importance of competition. Coach Swan is also currently writing a book covering the fundamentals of tennis and hopes to incorporate players’ personal excerpts of writing into the final copy