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Bethel welcomes Swartzendruber as new athletic director

September 26th, 2023

Tim Swartzendruber

Tim Swartzendruber brings a distinguished career in sports and education that spans more than three decades, a wealth of experience and expertise, and a track record of success.

He has been appointed Bethel athletic director, starting Oct. 16.

Swartzendruber graduated from Bethel College in 1981 with a degree in industrial arts education, physical education and coaching. He has education administration licensure from Emporia (Kan.) State University, and a master’s degree in sports administration from Wichita State University.

“I am extremely honored and excited to become the athletic director at Bethel College,” said Swartzendruber. 

“As a proud Bethel alum, I am thrilled to return to an institution that greatly impacted my life,” he continued.

“I want to thank President [Jon] Gering and the search committee for the opportunity. [Previous AD] Tony Hoops did a great job improving the culture of the Bethel athletic program. I plan to continue this positive improvement.”

Swartzendruber comes to Bethel from Pratt (Kan.) Community College, where he has been director of athletics since 2019.

Swartzendruber’s many accomplishments during his tenure at Pratt showcase his leadership and dedication to the athletic community. 

He effectively managed the athletic department’s overall athletic budget, ensuring the program’s financial stability and success.

He established strong partnerships with local businesses, engaging more than 100 to develop mutually beneficial relationships and lead to significant improvements in Pratt’s athletic facilities.

Under Swartzendruber’s leadership, Pratt saw an improvement in the academic performance of all athletic teams, with seven out of 13 teams achieving Academic All-American status in 2022-23.

He revitalized and expanded athletic programs, including women’s and men’s tennis and women’s flag football, contributing to a more diverse and inclusive athletic department.

Swartzendruber initiated Service School Day, that allowed students from area schools to attend basketball games; created a monthly newsletter, Beaver Tale; and introduced mental health programs within the Program for Academic Success of Student-Athletes (PASS).

He actively served on various committees, including the President’s Cabinet, and made significant contributions to improving the college’s website and social media presence.

Before taking the position at Pratt, Swartzendruber was head men’s basketball coach and assistant professor of physical education and health at McPherson (Kan.) College, 2008-19.

He served Hesston (Kan.) College as head men’s basketball coach and head men’s and women’s tennis coach and a member of the physical education and education faculty from 2004-08.

Swartzendruber’s teaching and coaching experience also includes the middle school and high school levels, in Newton, Wellington, Kan., and Kingman, Kan.

“Tim’s professional philosophy, prior experiences and deep Kansas connections distinguished him from other applicants,” said Bethel President Jon C. Gering.

“He loves Bethel and wants to lead the athletic department to its next level of success. I look forward to having him rejoin the Thresher community as athletic director.”

Gering expressed Bethel’s confidence that Swartzendruber’s extensive experience, dedication and leadership skills will strengthen its athletic programs and enrich its commitment to providing a well-rounded educational experience for student-athletes.

“Please join us in welcoming Tim Swartzendruber as the new athletic director at Bethel College,” Gering said. “Under his leadership, we look forward to a future filled with outstanding athletic achievements and continued academic excellence.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #24 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “Best Regional Colleges Midwest,” both for 2022-23. Bethel was the first Kansas college or university named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. For more information, see

In sports, Bethel competes in the 13-member KCAC and the NAIA. Learn more at

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Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.