The USC lacrosse program announced Thursday it has hired former Westlake and Harvard Westlake offensive coordinator Peter Swander as head coach, replacing Adam Ghitelman.
Swander, who also coaches locally with the Catch! Lacrosse club, spent last season at Westlake, directing an offense that averaged nearly 14 goals per game. The Warriors went 14-5, won the Marmonte League and reached the semifinals of the US Lacrosse Southern Section North playoffs. Their 11-2 loss to Palos Verdes in that semifinal was only the third time all season the Warriors were held to single-digit scoring.
“Peter Swander brings a philosophy of fast-paced, high-scoring, creative lacrosse that has set scoring records in previous seasons,” USC General Manager Charlie Meister said in a release. “More importantly, he retains the philosophy from where he learned the sport, ‘The Other Fellow First,’ where the creative assist is hoped for, and team enthusiasm [is] the measure of success.”
A Bay Area native, Swander learned lacrosse at a summer camp in upstate New York. Later, he captained the Branson School and went on to start at attack for Wesleyan University. Before joining Westlake High School last spring, Swander served as offensive coordinator for Mission League power Harvard Westlake.
At USC, Swander will take over a program that has had three coaches in the last three years. Ghitelman, who resigned over the summer to join the staff at Utah, coached for one season after replacing Chris Boland, who returned to the East Coast after two seasons leading the Trojans.
USC went 8-8 last season, including 3-2 in conference play, and reached the Southwest Lacrosse Conference tournament for the first time in program history. The Trojans return nine starters from last year’s squad and have welcomed 23 new players into the fold, bringing the roster to 60 players for fall ball. The team will participate in the UC Santa Barbara fall tournament on Nov. 12.