Head Coach
Peg Swadener

Peg Swadener just completed her seventh season as the head coach of the Willamette University women's team in 2018-19. Swadener came to Willamette after coaching 15 years at the following Universities: Portland State, Princeton, Oregon, Idaho State and Boise State.

Under Swadener's leadership, the Bearcats have experienced some of the most successful seasons in program history. The Bearcats placed third in the NWC Conference in 17-18, and made it to the NWC Conference Championship Game for the first time since 1996. Swadener was honored as NWC Coach of the Year and West Region Coach of the Year that season for her efforts.

Swadener is credited with recruiting NWC First Team All Conference Player and Willamette Women's Basketball All-Time Scoring Record Holder Kylie Towry, and Willamette Women's Basketball Single Season Rebounding Record Holder Britanny Kochenderfer to Willamette.

Prior to arriving at Willamette, Swadener was an assistant coach at Portland State for five seasons. She was hired as an assistant coach at PSU in 2007 and quickly earned a promotion to associate head coach in 2008.

At PSU, she served as the team's recruiting coordinator, scouting coordinator and academic coordinator. In addition she has been the communication liaison between the team, support staff and administrative staff. She has mentored and trained the assistant coaches.

Her recruiting efforts led to Eryn Jones, Courtney VanBrocklin and Kate Lanz to choose Portland State. Jones was named Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player in 2010-11, VanBrocklin was chosen Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2010-11 and Lanz was named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year in 2011-12.

As the academic coordinator for the PSU women's basketball team, she monitored the academic efforts of the Vikings. Two of PSU's players earned Academic All-America recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during her time with the Vikings.

Swadener coached Portland State's guards from 2007-08 through 2009-10, including two-time First Team All-Big Sky Conference selection Claire Faucher. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Swadener was assigned to the post players on the roster, including Kelli Valentine, who earned First Team All-Big Sky honors.

While working at Portland State, Swadener was active in getting the women's basketball team involved with Special Olympics.

Prior to coaching at PSU, she was an assistant basketball coach at Boise State University from 1997-98 through 2001-02, was an assistant coach at Idaho State University in 2002-03, was an assistant coach at the University of Oregon from 2003-04 through 2005-06, and was an assistant coach at Princeton University in 2006-07.

As a collegiate athlete, Swadener competed on the University of Oregon women's basketball team from 1989-90 through 1992-93. She received Pac-10 Academic Honors three times. She was a representative on the Team Council, a group of athletes providing a liaison between Oregon's student-athletes and the administration. She received the Centurion Award from Oregon in 1992, as one of the top 100 all-around students attending the university.

Swadener received a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Movement Science from the University of Oregon in June of 1994. She earned a Master of Science degree from Boise State University in Exercise and Sport Science in December of 2010.

Assistant Women's Basketball Coach
Katie Gruys

Katie Gruys just completed her second season as an assistant women's basketball coach at Willamette University in 2018-19. She assists Head Coach Peg Swadener with all aspects of the program.

Gruys spent 2016-17 as a graduate assistant at Clemson University (S.C.), where she was in charge of many administrative duties for the women's basketball team. She helped with scheduling and team travel, as well as community service projects and recruiting weekends.

Prior to attending Clemson as a graduate student, Gruys earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration for the University of Oregon in 2016. She competed in women's basketball as well as track and field during all four years at U of O. She helped Oregon reach the semifinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) in 2015-16.

"Katie is a great fit for us with her drive and passion for making those around her better," Swadener said. "Her energy and enthusiasm make her one of the up-and-coming coaches in the business, and her experience with some of the top athletic departments will help us in all areas. I am very excited to have Katie join me and the rest of the staff as we work to take this program to the next level."

While at Oregon, Gruys also was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She helped organize various volunteer and community service opportunities. She worked with 20 other student-athletes to build a sport court in Nicaragua in just one week.

During her year at Clemson, she created a youth organization called Kid Grit Life to teach youngsters about developing grit through sports. Kid Grit Life features 1-on-1 private training in basketball, swimming, track, hiking and triathlon.

In addition, Gruys served as president of the University of Oregon crew in the Love Your Melon Foundation from 2014-16. Love Your Melon raised funds to support children and their families who are battling cancer. She also organized opportunities for student-athletes at U of O to visit Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

"My coaching dreams started in Oregon and now they're continuing in Oregon," Kruys said. "I couldn't be more excited and honored to become the newest member of the Bearcat family."