Even though their search for a head coach stretched deep into the spring season, the Daemen Wildcats' men's soccer team has found its replacement for Bobby McColl.
Bediako Swan, a former assistant coach with NCAA Division I St. Francis (Pa.) University and a member of the United Soccer Coaches 30 under 30 education program in 2017, has been hired as the new head coach.
McColl's three-year stint at the helm ended when he accepted the head job at Houghton College on Nov. 29. A national search orchestrated by athletic director Traci Murphy produced "a plethora of qualified candidates," a press release noted, with Swan ultimately accepting the offer.
A native of Grenada, Swan - called "Bedi" for short - spent the majority of his college career as a striker for Davis & Elkins in West Virginia before assuming the assistant coaching role for the NCAA Division II men's program for four years (2014-2017). He doubled up as the women's assistant for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, too, before moving on to St. Francis last season to work with the goalkeepers.
While the selection to the United Soccer Coaches yearlong educational program, limited to 15 male and 15 female coaches under the age of 30, is a nice feather in Swan's cap, his season of experience with the culture at St. Francis - which has boasted a winning record every season since 2012 - will likely be even more valuable in rebuilding Daemen's embattled men's program.
Before McColl's departure, Daemen had pieced together a strong recruiting class locally, inking Trey Buscaglia from Williamsville East, Derek Bartlo from Canisius High School and Chris Cox from Olmsted. No indications have been given that any of these three has changed their intentions of attending Daemen.
Sweet Home's Noah Keem was McColl's biggest local recruit over his three years, but the previous head coach had generally focused his recruiting overseas, with starters hailing from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy and Scotland. It's possible the Wildcats' roster will look significantly different next season.
With Franco Cardillo hired at Buffalo State and Craig Wilkinson at Medaille, there are no longer any men's collegiate head coaching positions open in the area. Erie Community College has yet to announce a new women's coach after Gary Boughton's move to Trine University.
*Note: In "small world football," Swan was a college teammate of BDSL player James Kpainay while at Davis & Elkins.