Head Men's Soccer Coach
Kurt Swanbeck enters his fourth season as head coach of the Army men's soccer program. Swanbeck brings a talent-laden lineup to West Point in 2005 that is expected to challenge for the Patriot League title.
Swanbeck, who served as president of the NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches Association, became the ninth head coach in Army's storied 83-year history prior to the 2002 campaign. He replaced long-time Black Knight mentor Joe Chiavaro, who retired in December, 2001.
A 1981 graduate of Columbia University, Swanbeck served as head men's soccer coach at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga., before coming to the Academy, compiling an impressive overall record of 112-69-5 (.616). He left as the winningest coach in the school's history. At Berry, Swanbeck guided the Vikings to the conference's postseason tournament in each of his nine seasons at the helm.
A two-time conference and region coach of the year honoree, Swanbeck helped the Vikings to one of their most successful seasons in recent history, leading Berry to a 17-5 record, a No. 13 national ranking and the school's first appearance in the NAIA Tournament in two decades during his final season (2001). The previous year, Swanbeck's team completed the season with a No. 3 ranking, the highest the Vikings had ever been in the polls.
Berry has established a tremendous reputation for churning out top soccer coaching talent over the years, including Bret Simon, current head coach at Stanford University, and Bob Warming, current head coach at Creighton University. While Simon directly preceded Swanbeck as head of Berry's soccer program, Warming directly preceded Simon in that same capacity. The relationship between Swanbeck and Simon dates back much farther, with the pair separated by just one year as teammates on Fran Bositis' soccer team at Franklin High School in the state of Massachusetts. At Franklin, Swanbeck was a first team All-American during his senior season in 1976.
Swanbeck spent five years as head coach at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., prior to assuming control of the soccer program at Berry. In 16 years as a collegiate head coach, he has authored an overall record of 155-147-20 (.512).
"Kurt Swanbeck is one of the most professional, enthusiastic and talented coaches in the country," Simon lauded at the time of Swanbeck's hiring. "He's paid his dues at a number of levels and will be a great addition to West Point. His personality and soccer knowledge make him an ideal candidate. I'm very excited for him to be a part of the Army family. He's a great one and a good friend. I'm sure he will take the Academy to new heights."
Swanbeck, who holds a pair of master's degrees from Columbia, lettered four times for the Lions during his undergraduate days in New York City. A three-time All-Ivy League performer, Swanbeck captained the Columbia squad during his junior and senior seasons, and earned team most valuable player honors. He helped the Lions to a 48-12-5 record, three Ivy League titles and an NCAA Final Four appearance in 1979.
Following graduation, Swanbeck played professionally for one year with the Nashville Diamonds of the American Soccer League before beginning his coaching career as an assistant on the staff at Dartmouth College. He returned to his alma mater in the fall of 1983, serving a highly successful five-year term as an assistant on the Lions' coaching staff. During that period, Columbia posted a 58-17-7 record while claiming a trio of Ivy League championships. The club made three trips to the NCAA Regional finals and advanced to the NCAA championship game in 1983, closing the regular season ranked No. 1 nationally.
Longtime Birmingham-Southern head coach Preston Goldfarb, whose soccer teams opposed Swanbeck's Berry clubs many times over the years, offered his support for the new Army head coach as well.
"Having spent several years in the U.S. Army and knowing Kurt as I do, I cannot think of a better person to head the soccer program at West Point than Kurt Swanbeck. He is a person of tremendous integrity. That is probably his finest attribute. He is a very loyal, dedicated and hardworking individual who will give everything to the game because of his great passion for it. He will do a great, great job with the soccer program at West Point."
Swanbeck, 46, is married to the former Lynne Khoury of Auburn, Mass. The couple has two sons, Tyler Kurt Khoury Swanbeck, 6, and Trevor Patrick Khoury Swanbeck, 2. Mrs. Swanbeck is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.