I will never forget my first impression of Brookfield East football coach Tom Swittel.
At the time I was the sports editor for several Community Newspapers and not a sports writer, so I didn't officially cover Swittel. But I saw a preseason photo of him as we got ready for the football season.
Swittel was coaching at Wauwatosa East, where he spent most of his career before turning the Brookfield East program around.
The photo showed him in a sleeveless T-shirt, yelling instructions with a buzzed haircut and a big tattoo on his right arm. He looked like a crazed professional wrestler.
The guy in the photo scared me.
When I told him that on Monday morning, he laughed. I had called him to ask him about the football banquet the night before, when it was proclaimed "Tom Swittel Day" in Brookfield.
"I was extremely surprised," he said. "I didn't even know I won 100 games. Really, I had no clue. If I had known it, I would have spent the day breaking the speed limit and telling the police officer, 'Hey, this is my day.'"
Then Swittel got serious.
"It's a honor the city of Brookfield recognized me with my own day," he said. "I appreciate the time and effort they put into it. I didn't know how to react.
"First of all, who figured it out (100th win). I had no idea. I probably would have retired if I had known."
Swittel's 100th win actually came on Sept. 7, 2012, a 21-7 win over Menomonee Falls, the third game last season. Some of his close friends started figuring it out and talked to his wife Ingrid about it and realized they had missed the milestone.
He had an 80-91 record at Tosa East, so after four playoff seasons in Brookfield (33-12), his current record is 113-103.
Swittel compiled a 9-2 overall record and finished second in the Greater Metro Conference (6-1) in 2010, his first season at the helm.
In 2011, he was 7-4 overall and 4-3, fourth place in the GMC.
His finest hour was 2012, when the Spartans won their first conference crown in several years with a 7-0 record and a 10-1 overall record.
This past year East was 5-5 overall and 4-3, fifth in conference play.
That gives him a .758 winning percentage in the GMC (22-7) and a .733 overall winning percentage (33-12) since taking over a program that was struggling, to be polite.
I still think it is amazing what Swittel has done with this program. But he has a way of making his kids believers. They relate to him.
When he was at Tosa East, his team gift one year was a tattoo from the players. When I asked him what it was he replied, "It was a skull and crossbones."
Sometimes he still scares me.
Mayor Steven V. Ponto Declaration
WHEREAS, Coach Swittel has been a high school football coach in the State of Wisconsin for 35 years and,
WHEREAS, Coach Swittel and his family have been residents of Brookfield for 18 years and,
WHEREAS, Coach Swittel has been a head coach at Dominican, Wauwatosa East and currently Brookfield East High Schools and,
WHEREAS, Coach Swittel has achieved 100 head coaching victories and,
WHEREAS, Coach Swittel achieved the 100th victory on September 7, 2012 vs Menomonee Falls High School with a 21-7 victory and,
THEREFORE, The City of Brookfield would like to acknowledge his professional accomplishments by declaring today, Sunday November 10, 2013 as COACH TOM SWITTEL DAY throughout Brookfield, WI.
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