John Swaney High School offered basketball for sure. This is evidenced by the four District titles won by the Pirate
boys' basketball teams. The Pirates also saw one of its boys bring home two medals from the Illinois State Track Meet
under the old one class system. Baseball was offered throughout the existence of SHS. Short runs in wrestling and football are
touched upon later.Tennis courts were built on the school grounds; however, tennis was never offered as a competitive
sport. The successes of the school in athletics are listed below.
The Swaney High School Pirates took home a total of four District titles. Two of the titles were won as Swaney
High School and two were won as Magnolia-Swaney High School.
As (McNabb) Swaney High School:
1927-28 N.R.A. District Champions
1929-30 N.R.A. District Champions Coach unknown
Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups
Tri-County Tourney Runner-Ups coach unknown
Coach A.I. Bolton
As Magnolia-Swaney High School:
1952-53 N.R.A. District Champions
Coaches Names Unavailable
1953-54 N.R.A. District Champions
One of the best players to grace the hardwood of McNabb-Magnolia-Swaney High School was Jim Kinney. He had a couple of
huge perforamances in the 1956-57 Basketball season. In a December 14, 1956 game against Neponset, he scored 56 points to
lead his team to victory. A few games later, he broke his own record by putting up 61 points in a January 15 game against
Hennepin. He was 23-for-45 from the field in that game.
Boys' Track & Field
One athlete excelled in track on a State Meet level at Swaney High School. Thomas Quinney brought
back two medals in two different years for the Pirates. The skipped year is not a misprint. We are not
sure as to why Thomas Quinney did not place in the 1932-33 meet.
1931-32 Thomas Quinney 1
Mile Run 4th Place
1933-34 Thomas Quinney 880
Yard Run 3rd Place
Wrestling was also offered at Swaney High School. In fact, the boys there excelled at the sport. It was before the
1933 school year started when a teacher named Paul Benbow was hired to teach Chemistry and Agriculture. Mr.
Benbow was also a former wrestler at the University of Illinois. He received permission to start a wrestling
program for the boys of Swaney HS. What a great Coach he would prove to be, leading the boys to incredible heights
from 1933 to 1936.
The Swaney boys teams had to travel far in some cases just to find another team to compete with as there were very
few wrestling programs in the area at the time. A State Wrestling Tournament (wrestling was not officially
recognized by the IHSA until the 1936-37 school year) was held by the schools who had programs. The
Swaney boys were winners of the tournament in 1934! Imagine, State Champions for such a small school who
competed against much bigger schools such as Champaign! One of the rewards for winning the tournament was
that Swaney High School was able to host the State-wide tournament the very next year.
Two of the boys from Swaney were recognized as Individual Champions for the school. Thomas Quinney and Gwynne
Peterson both earned multiple individual championships for their respective weight classes.
Mr. Benbow left the school after the spring of 1936 and the wrestling program came to end.
Though very brief, the football "program" at Swaney High was not without a great story. The school started
a team in 1922. The Henry News Republican reported that the football team played its first game on October 7th, 1922. They
were matched against a much larger school in Chillicothe. A much larger school meant much larger players and the result
was none too pretty. The Swaney boys worked to the bitter end but came up on the short end of a 101-0 score. Their
second game against Wenona resulted in a lopsided defeat, too. It also ended in many injuries for the boys
on the team and football was discontinued then and there. The football program ended with a record of 0-2 and was never
Need More Information
We have received a great amount of information from local historian Lonna Nauman
and will post
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. We always are looking for photos of the school building and great teams and coaches of note. You
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Illinois HS Glory Days
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