Wisconsin Sports

21st season a special one for Viroqua's Pete Swanson

First WIAA State Berth comes one year after medical scare

21st season a special one for Viroqua's Pete Swanson

VIROQUA, Wis. (WKBT) - If there is a Tommy Lasorda, Tom Kelly, or Bobby Cox of Viroqua, his name is Pete Swanson.

"I think if you just stay around, things happen, so I've been here a long time, I guess," Swanson said.

This will be his 40th season coaching Viroqua's Legion team. He's managed the high school team for the past 21 seasons.

"I don't know where the years went, but they went!"

Moreover, Swanson shows no signs of slowing down, even after battling prostate cancer.

After Viroqua lost last year in sectionals, he underwent surgery the next day.

"Wasn't bad, you get through the first week and then it was pretty easy after that. It was a good diet program. Lost a little weight so that was kind of nice."

What was tough, however, was Swanson having to spend time away from the diamond. He missed a month of the Legion season.

"We just kind of rallied around that and got wristbands and just made that a focal point in us having a good Legion season last year. And we did," said senior Dustin Stalsberg.

That hunger carried over to the spring, and one year removed from surgery, Swanson's players are sending him to his first WIAA State Tournament appearance.

"[To] be able to get him there, it's awesome," said senior Mitch Stalsberg. "He's kind of a role model instead of a coach."

"You know though, you don't dwell on it a lot," said Swanson. "You're worried about getting guys out and getting guys on base, so you're thinking more about that I guess."

Just as the Bobby Cox of Viroqua's been doing for 40 years.

Viroqua faces Ripon in the Division Two WIAA State Semifinals on Wednesday around 8:30 p.m.

The Tigers are managed by a longtime coach of their own; Dan Jonas has led Ripon for 20 years.

Top Sports Videos

Latest Sports Headlines

This Week's Circulars