Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Bearcat Athletics News

Symmonds watch: Bearcat is headed to the Olympic 800-meter finals Nick Symmonds

In his first-round heat in London, Nick Symmonds '06 took first place, courtesy of his typical late-race surge; just today, in the semifinals, he performed well enough to make the final.

Symmonds was unable to make it past the semifinals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The 800-meter final is scheduled for this Thursday at 8 p.m. London time, or noon PST. An on-campus viewing opportunity is in the works from athletics.

Stay updated day-by-day at the athletics website or at NBC.


Miller named head coach of men's and women's rowing

Ryan Miller, who served as the interim head coach of the men's and women's rowing teams at Willamette University this past year, has been promoted to head coach of both teams, Athletic Director David Rigsby announced today. Miler was an assistant coach with the Bearcats in the spring of 2011 before being named interim head coach for the 2011-12 season.

"I am proud of Ryan's accomplishments during his first season leading our rowing programs," Rigsby said. "His promotion to head coach is a well-deserved recognition."

This past season, Miller guided Willamette two a pair of top-three finishes at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships as well as two top-three finishes at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships. The Bearcats achieved second place in the women's varsity 4+ at WIRA, while earning third place in the women's novice 4+. At the NCRC regatta, Willamette crews took third place in both the women's varsity 4+ and the men's novice 4+.

"During his year as interim coach, I was impressed by Ryan's work ethic and attention to detail," Rigsby noted. "He has proven to be a great manager of our teams."

Miller's rowing career began as a novice on the crew club at the University of North Carolina, where he competed on both heavyweight and lightweight crews. After graduating from UNC, he spent three summers coaching for the junior's and master's sweep and sculling programs at the Duxbury Bay Maritime School in his hometown of Duxbury, Mass.

In the fall of 2008, he joined the coaching staff for rowing at Florida State University and began working on his master's degree. He was the women's assistant coach at Florida State for two seasons.

While at FSU, helped lead the Gators to medals at the Florida Championship Regatta, Head of the Chattahoochee, First Coast Regatta, plus a top-six finish at the SIRA Championship Regatta in the women's novice 8+.


Portland State Assistant Ready to Lead Bearcats on Road to SuccessAfter five seasons with Portland State, Peg Swadener has been named the women's head basketball coach at Willamette University.

Willamette has hired Peg Swadener as the Bearcats' next head coach of women's basketball, Director of Athletics David Rigsby announced today. Swadener, currently the associate head coach of women's basketball at Portland State University, will begin her new duties in July.

"I am delighted to welcome Peg to the Bearcat athletics family," Rigsby said. "For almost fifteen years, Peg has been a fixture in the Northwest college basketball coaching community. I cannot imagine a better person to lead our program."

Swadener has been an assistant coach at Portland State for the past five seasons. She was hired as an assistant coach in 2007 and quickly earned a promotion to associate head coach in 2008.

She has served as the team's recruiting coordinator, scouting coordinator and academic coordinator. In addition she has been the communication liaison between the team, support staff and administrative staff. She has mentored and trained the assistant coaches.

Her recruiting efforts led to Eryn Jones, Courtney VanBrocklin and Kate Lanz to choose Portland State. Jones was named Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player in 2010-11, VanBrocklin was chosen Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2010-11 and Lanz was named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2011-12.

As the academic coordinator for the PSU women's basketball team, she has overseen the academic efforts of the Vikings. Two of PSU's players have earned Academic All-America recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) since 2007-08.

"Beyond her impressive coaching pedigree, Coach Swadener brings a strong commitment to academic success and the comprehensive student-athlete experience," Rigsby commented. "She is a tireless recruiter, coach and educator who will help our students develop on the court and off the court."

Swadener coached Portland State's guards from 2007-08 through 2009-10, including two-time First Team All-Big Sky Conference selection Claire Faucher. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Swadener was assigned to the post players on the roster, including Kelli Valentine, who earned First Team All-Big Sky honors.

"I have always wanted to develop a program where I can recruit and coach a highly motivated student-athlete who seeks excellence on the court, in the classroom and in life," Swadener said. "I have dreamt of putting together a staff that understands the well-being of the student-athlete, and keeps that in mind through all aspects of the job. It is my goal to create a program that can put those two ideas together and can still compete to win championships."

"I have been waiting for the right fit to take this next step and I feel that I have finally found that place in Willamette University," Swadener commented. "I value the quality of education at Willamette. The Northwest Conference is a national caliber conference, and one which I believe can also attract the high achieving athlete. The combination of the education and conference has the makings of a great program."

While working at Portland State, Swadener was active in getting the women's basketball team involved with Special Olympics.

She coached the Washington County "A" basketball team within Special Olympics Oregon and included PSU players as assistant coaches. Many of her players also participated in open gym time with athletes from Special Olympics. She hopes to develop a similar program at Willamette.

Swadener's extensive coaching experience with the Vikings has added to her overall knowledge as a coach.

Prior to coaching at PSU, she was an assistant basketball coach at Boise State University from 1997-98 through 2001-02, was an assistant coach at Idaho State University in 2002-03, was an assistant coach at the University of Oregon from 2003-04 through 2005-06, and was an assistant coach at Princeton University in 2006-07.

During her 15 years as a collegiate coach, Swadener has been directly involved in all of the important facets of college basketball. She has worked extensively in recruiting, academic support, scheduling team travel, directing camps and organizing video. She has been actively involved with practice and game duties.

Swadener was the head girls' junior varsity coach and assistant girls varsity coach at Marist High School in Eugene, Ore., in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

As a collegiate athlete, Swadener competed on the University of Oregon women's basketball team from 1989-90 through 1993-94. She received Pac-10 Academic Honors three times. She was a representative on the Team Council, a group of athletes providing a liaison between Oregon's student-athletes and the administration. She received the Centurion Award from Oregon in 1992, as one of the top 100 all-around students attending the university.

Swadener received a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Movement Science from the University of Oregon in June of 1994. She earned a Master of Science degree from Boise State University in Exercise and Sport Science in December of 2010.