The most successful prep mentor at Springstead – eight-year wrestling skipper Eric Swensen – announced Tuesday via email that he and his family were relocating to Minnesota.
The announcement indicated that Swensen's longtime assistant coach and former Eagle alumnus Sal Basile was promoted to head coach.
Swensen and Basile had teamed up to etch 41 tournament titles – including back-to-back Class 2A state championships – for the North Suncoast's finest mat program.
Over the past eight years, the Eagle mat men have produced 59 individual district champions, 21 individual regional champions and 16 of its county record of 25 state champions.
During Swensen's reign, his teams posted a combined 101-11 dual-meet mark – featuring back-to-back-to-back unbeaten seasons.
From 2004-12, SHS qualified 14 wrestlers to regionals five times, including the past four straight seasons. Before that, the Spring Hill team had qualified 14 members three times in 24 seasons.
After collecting five regional runner-up trophies from 2004-10, SHS has registered back-to-back regional titles.
The Mariner Boulevard club set a county record by qualifying 12 wrestlers to states this past winter and by having eight medalists among the top six.
All told, 38 of Swensen's 62 state qualifiers (county record of 61 percent) placed during the past eight FHSAA Finals.
Swensen took over after former Central standout Roy Reyes was relieved of his head coaching position following the 2003-04 campaign.
Reyes' two teams went 11-10 and 8-3 overall – and neither captured a district championship. Moreover, the 2004 club was the last SHS team not to have at least one grappler reach states.
Before that, 22 straight state tourneys featured at least one Springstead state qualifier.
Swensen's email was filled with emotion.
"It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I am leaving Springstead H.S.," he wrote. "My family and I have decided to move closer to family, and my wife Deb has accepted a job that we could not pass on. We will be moving away from the warm state of Florida to the cold of Minnesota."
On his Springstead experience, "I have had an incredible time over the past eight years and Springstead Wrestling has reached the pinnacle of high school wrestling success. I really believe that the success of this program was not because of me but because of WE."
Swensen took the time to thank many involved, including his entire coaching staff, as well as former Springstead Hall of Fame coach and current athletic director Bob Levija, and Principal Susan Duval.
According to Swensen, "Springstead Wrestling has a great tradition that was started in 1979 under Coach Levija and it has continued over the years. The program will be in great hands as Coach Sal will take over as the fourth head coach in SHS Wrestling history. Sal is a great coach and friend and I am positive the program will be stronger than ever with Sal leading the charge.
"Thank you all and God bless."
By the Numbers: Springstead's Eric Swensen (2004-12)
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO
YEAR W L .PCT
2004-05 14 4 .778
2005-06 16 2 .889
2006-07 16 1 .941
2007-08 12 3 .800
2008-09 10 1 .909
2009-10 13 0 1.000
2010-11 13 0 1.000
2011-12 07 0 1.000
TOTALS 101 11 .902
Tournament Titles: (41)
Class 2A, District 9 Tournament @ CEN
4th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey
County Championship Tournament @ SPG
The Villages Tournament
Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ SPG
25th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
5th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey
17th Springstead Invitational
Hernando County Athletic Conference Duals Tournament @ SPG
Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Dunedin
26th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
18th Springstead Invitational
Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Ridgewood
3rd Ocala-Forest Invitational @ Ocala-Forest
27th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
7th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey
19th Springstead Invitational
23rd Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell
Class 2A, District 5 Tournament @ Dunedin
3rd Deltona Duals @ Deltona High
14th Cougar Invitational @ Plant City-Durant
28th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
8th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey
20th Springstead Invitational
24th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell
Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Lecanto
4th Deltona Duals @ Deltona High
29th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
9th Gulf Duals Tournament @ New Port Richey
21st Springstead Invitational
25th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell
Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Springstead
Class 2A, Region II @ Avon Park's South Florida Community College
47th annual Class 2A State Championship @ The Lakeland Center
5th Deltona Duals @ Deltona High
30th Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational @ Hernando
22nd Springstead Invitational
26th Flagler Rotary Club Invitational @ Bunnell
Class 2A, District 7 Tournament @ Hernando
Class 2A, Region II @ St. Cloud
48th annual Class 2A State Championship @ The Lakeland Center