Coach Dave Swisegood is Mr. Baseball Around Here
Is there is anyone in the Plymouth-Bowen-Augusta area who hasn’t been impacted by Dave Swisegood? You see, for 63 years Coach Swisegood has been a part of young people’s lives as a teacher, coach and mentor. Swisegood, who officially “retired” at the end of the 2015 baseball season at Southeastern High School, is the all-time winningest baseball coach in the Illinois High School Association’s history with 950 career victories.
From the category of “you can’t keep a good guy down”, Swisegood used his "retirement" as head baseball coach to become the assistant baseball coach at Southeastern helping new head coach Cyle Rigg for the last 3 seasons. You just can’t keep him off the field and why would you. The only person who could keep Coach Swisegood off the field would be Dave Swisegood.
Coach Swise, as he is known, is now 88 years old and last summer he announced that the end of the 2018 baseball season would be his last year helping out. The 2018 season ended Tuesday. So when he walked off the field named after him for the last time after the game between Southeastern and Griggsville-Perry, he ended an incredible run witnessed by nearly 400 people according to the Herald Whig. They turned out not just to watch the game, but to honor this wonderful man, coach, teacher and mentor one last time and to share a story or two.
My favorite story about Coach Swisegood was when he was coaching against Quincy Notre Dame at Q.N.D. one afternoon. I went out to watch the game and around the 3rd inning or so I hear him call “time out”. He walked out to the 3rd base foul line and yelled out to his right-fielder who was standing some 10 feet from the foul line “Hey Alex, don’t let anything fall between you and that line…..move over will ya!” That right there exudes the character of the man.
Coach Swise and I would meet each other for lunch from time to time and we would talk baseball the whole time. Baseball is his life, so I suspect next spring he’ll be somewhere outside the fence watching the game instead of inside it.
Even at 88 years of age, the man refuses to take that 3rd strike! Keep swinging Coach, keep swinging!