Shadae Swan couldn’t be more elated for the upcoming CIAA Basketball Tournament making its way to her hometown.
The Baltimore native is Bowie State University’s women’s basketball coach and has become one of most respected sports figures in the region. Swan, a former standout at St. Frances Academy and Goucher College, will return home next week for what she anticipates will be an exciting experience for herself and her team.
“For myself and for the team— we’re very excited. The main reason is because when the tournament was in Charlotte, it was very hard for family and friends to see us play in the tournament,” Swan said. “I believe having that crowd and fan base helps with the momentum. Your crowd is like your sixth man and the more people that you have supporting you, a lot of times you play better.”
Swan is in the middle of her sixth season as head of the program (seventh if the 2020-21 canceled season is counted) and her Bulldogs are currently 11-10 overall. While at Goucher (2005-08), Swan was one of the top Division III performers in the nation.
Her accomplishments as a student athlete along with the local impact she’s made led to a recent Goucher College Athletics Hall of Fame induction. As a native and a resident, the approaching CIAA Tournament will likely be one of the highlights of Swan’s coaching career.
“I know for me, it will be special because I’m from here, I still live in Baltimore… this city has pretty much helped shape me into the person that I am,” Swan said. “I have a large basketball family just from growing up and meeting people in the basketball community. It’s so often that you hear about the negative of Baltimore City, but there’s so much more that the city has to offer, and I’m just hoping that the other teams, other schools and people who come in and watch the games will get to come in and see the positive of the city.”
Swan has earned numerous honors at the helm of BSU’s women’s basketball program, including the CIAA Women’s Coach of the Year award in 2019, being named Bowie State University Female Coach of the Year and led the Bulldogs to multiple NCAA Division II appearances. She also believes the tournament can lead to promising opportunities for local youth and residents.
“I also think that it will be good for our community,” Swan added. “Baltimore is a basketball city, and I think it will be good for a lot of the kids in the community to get to come out and see some college basketball – especially HBCUs – learn more about the culture of the CIAA and the teams who participate in the conference.”
BSU is coming off a huge 84-57 home win over Shaw on Feb. 12 and has won six of its last eight games. The Bulldogs have away games at Virginia State on Feb. 16 and Elizabeth City State on Feb. 19 to conclude the regular season before preparing for the CIAA Tournament.
Swan and her club look to carry the momentum into the tournament, set to commence Feb. 22-26 at the Royals Farms Arena downtown.
“The team is gelling more on and off the court, and it’s showing in our stats,” she said. “The only thing I ask is for our team to progress each day in practice and in games, and I see us doing that. If we continue to do so, we’ll be able to carry the momentum into the tournament to be successful.”