Less than a month after resigning from his position as Wiregrass Ranch High baseball coach amid controversy, Jeff Swymer has been hired as head baseball coach at Bishop McLaughlin, dean Joseph Jasinski said Monday afternoon.
"It's going to be different not being in maroon, but I'm glad to be back," Swymer said. "I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity after the situation and what was put out there. I know there will be concerns, but it'll be a chance for me and the team to start over."
"We're very excited to have Jeff come aboard," Jasinski said. "We've been searching very hard and for a while for someone to fill that position and, given his experience, it was a perfect fit for us. He was too good to pass up."
On June 13, Swymer faced a year-long suspension by the Pasco County District School Board after it was found he was drinking while in charge of his baseball team during a Spring Break tournament trip in March. Swymer opted to resign from his position following the team's most successful season that ended with a loss in the Class 7A region final.
Swymer, who was named the Pasco Tribune Baseball Coach of the Year, had the support of Wiregrass administration following the incident, as well outpouring support from parents and players. Swymer said he had more than 250 letters of support sent to him, as well as more than 500 signatures on a petition.
Swymer points to that support as a way to alleviate any concerns parents of Bishop McLaughlin players might have as he takes over.
"I'm sure they will (have concerns) - I expect it," Swymer said. "But I have people willing to vouch for my character and the support of Bishop and its staff. It was a stupid mistake on my part and I'm going to (put it in) the past."
Jasinski said Swymer reached out for the open position, even though it had been closed. Jasinski said they were intrigued to have such a worthy candidate apply.
Swymer had a 76-33 record in four seasons at Wiregrass, including leading the Bulls to a 19-10 record and the Class 7A region final that included an upset of then-nationally ranked Steinbrenner High School. The 2013 season was also Wiregrass' first postseason berth in program history.
Bishop, was 13-18 before its head coach of two seasons, Tom LoSauro, resigned. LoSauro was 30-23 in two seasons, but had previously won a Class 3A state baseball title with Fort Myers Bishop Verot.
Monday afternoon Swymer was already heading over to Land O' Lakes High to watch his Hurricanes play summer league ball.
"I need to see where to start and get my staff together, but I'm ready, and you know me, I work hard all the time," Swymer said. "I'm excited to get started and ready.
Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.