Former University of Tulsa basketball standout Dante Swanson is Wagoner’s new boys head basketball coach.
Wagoner athletic director Dale Condict announced Swanson’s promotion Tuesday afternoon. Swanson, 40, is a 1999 Wagoner graduate and has been an assistant with the program.
“He’s more than qualified,” Condict said. “It was a real easy decision for us. We put the ball in his court. He’s from here, he’s a hard worker, he loves the kids, loves the game of basketball and the community, and he’s already been helping us. Besides basketball, he’s been part of our Summer Pride program that involves all sports. He played a part in our football success.”
Swanson said he’s “nervous and excited,” about his first head coaching opportunity. He succeeds Zack Ange, who resigned last week after seven seasons to return to his alma mater, Cache, as girls basketball coach after leading Wagoner to its first boys area tournament since 2010.
“I was talking with coach Condict and he said you’ll never feel fully ready for that first job,” Swanson said. “I was real comfortable as an assistant and no one expected that Ange would leave. If I was going to be a head coach, this was the time. I’ve been here 4-or-5 years and am very familiar with the players. We’ve got some unfinished business and I would like to see us get back to state.”
Swanson, a 2018 Wagoner Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, was a 1999 All-State selection as he averaged 21.7 points to help the Bulldogs finish as the Class 4A state runner-up. That was Wagoner’s most recent appearance in the state title game.
Swanson then had a stellar career from 1999-2003 at TU. After being a key reserve on the 2000 Elite Eight team, he started during the next three seasons that included the 2001 NIT title, and reaching the NCAA round of 32 in 2002 and ‘03. His 139 games played rank third in TU history. He is TU’s 14th-leading scorer at 1,433 points and sixth with 179 steals. Swanson was the nation’s top 3-point shooter in 2002 as he made 49% of his attempts.
Swanson then played 12 pro seasons in Europe and was the 2010 Polish Cup MVP before returning to Wagoner.
He will get the opportunity to coach his son, Dante, who will be a freshman next season.
“This is an exciting hire that many will take notice of,” Condict said.