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Swanson Swan Song: Zach and Eric Swanson's careers come to an end

Mar. 1—SPOKANE — The Swansons knew this day would eventually come.

That didn't make it any easier.

Zach and Eric Swanson walked off the court for the final time together after a loss to Adna on Friday in Spokane, marking the final chapter of two incredible careers.

"He coached me my whole life," Zach Swanson, Toutle Lake's all-time leading scorer, said about his father and coach. "I'm just glad I was able to get him over here one more time. Going out in Spokane, it's the way to go out. Wouldn't want it any other way."

The pair couldn't hold back their tears after the game in the tunnel, as together, they began to process the ending that they had been dreading for years.

"He wasn't ready," coach Swanson said of Zach. "Neither was his father ... To be able to go out with him, that's pretty special."

A five-year varsity player, Zach Swanson scored more than 2,700 points in his career, and he helped the Ducks make it to Spokane for three of the last four state tournaments (there was no tournament in 2021 due to COVID-19).

Eric just completed his 33th season as Toutle Lake's head coach, a career that includes 20 state tournament appearances, 11 state tournament trophies, five top-3 finishes, and more than 570 career wins. In 2017, he was elected to the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

"Career wise," coach Swanson started, before pausing for more than 10 seconds. His eyes began to water.

"It's been pretty special."

He paused again, wiping the tears from his eyes before continuing.

"Thirty-three years (as) head coach. Good community. Good kids. Good parents. Good support from the school. But it's time. I'm ready," coach Swanson said.

While they knew the end of the road was near, their finale still came one day sooner than they had hoped.

The Ducks fell to No. 2 Colfax in the quarterfinals on Thursday, but a win against Adna on Friday would have put them in the 4th/6th game on Saturday.

Instead, the Pirates used another strong second half to end Toutle Lake's season.

"That's a tough one because we're friends," Adna coach Luke Salme said. "Those are some of our favorite people ... What a career right there for both of them. It's pretty amazing."

Zach Swanson is far from done athletically. The senior guard is committed to play baseball at Oregon State next spring, and he is currently listed at No. 97 on MLB.com's list of the top 100 prospects in the 2024 MLB Draft.

Coach Swanson is excited to follow Zach wherever the next stage of his baseball career ends up. While that may take Zach out of his hometown for the time being, the last five years will always stick with him.

"Toutle is a special place and it holds a close place in my heart," Zach Swanson said. "It's been the best time of my life ... Those friendships and bonds that I've created with those guys, it's bigger than basketball, and those are gonna last me a lifetime."