Eastern High School athletic director Brad Wilson said he hopes he’s shut the revolving door in the varsity baseball program with the hiring of Steve Swinson as the head coach.

“This is our fourth baseball coach in eight years,” Wilson said. “Everyone I talked to before hiring [Swinson] had nothing but positive things to say about him. I think we have a good one — someone who will stay and give us some continuity in the program.”

Swinson is a 1987 Kokomo High graduate who has spent most of his adult life involved in youth baseball. The past four years, he’s been the assistant baseball coach at Northwestern, where he was also head wrestling coach the past eight seasons.

Prior to that, he was known in Kokomo baseball circles for his success at Southside Youth Baseball League. There he coached Schwinn for 14 seasons, winning the Tribune-sponsored city tournament in 2001. He coached teams to six state Bambino titles and in 1995, directed the Southside squad that was runner-up in the Bambino World Series.

“This is a great opportunity,” Swinson said. “Ever since coaching youth baseball, I’ve always wanted to coach at an upper level. Anyone who has been around me knows I love wrestling, but my passion and love is with baseball.”

Swinson, who works for the Howard County Highway Department, takes over a program that has had one winning season (2004) this century. This past spring the Comets finished 8-17.

“We lost just two seniors,” Swinson said. “We have a good group of seniors back and I really like our freshman and sophomore classes. I think we can win and I think we have kids who are willing to do whatever they can to build tradition. We may have a tough first year, but we should have good senior leadership to help us get this turned around.”

Swinson said one of his top priorities would be to improve summer baseball at Eastern, perhaps returning to an American Legion program that would include a junior team.

Swinson said his time at Northwestern would serve him well at Eastern.

“[Northwestern] absolutely treated me like gold and I enjoyed working with [Ryan] Berryman,” he said. “He’s a good coach — very aggressive. Our coaching styles are similar.”

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