Lee Swenson begins his 17th season with the Golden Gopher Baseball program and his fifth season as the Director of Operations. In his previous 12 seasons, he was the Gophers' volunteer coach until taking the operations position in 2010. While the volunteer coach, "Swede" primarily worked with the catchers during the season and with the developmental camp coordinator. In his current role, Swenson handles all daily operations and travel for the team.
Swenson helped with the development senior Kyle Knudson who led the Big Ten in runners caught stealing and in percentage of runners thrown out in 2009. Swenson also played a big role in the career of former Golden Gopher catchers Jake Elder and Jeff DeSmidt.
DeSmidt entered the 2008 season having played 87 games as mostly a backup and a designated hitter with a career batting average of .209. In his senior season, DeSmidt and Swenson's lessons paid off as he earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors, batted .371, had the most home runs by a Golden Gopher catcher since 1995 and started 35 games behind the plate.
Elder was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2005 Major League Draft. He was also named a Second-Team All-Big Ten catcher in 2004. He also saw his number of runners that he threw out jump from 27 percent in 2003 to 33 percent in 2004. Swenson has been responsible for the improvement of every Golden Gopher catcher in his 12 years with the program.
Swenson was a seventh-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1985, following a stellar career at Luther College. He was a two-time all-conference and all-region selection catcher. After a shoulder injury ended his professional playing career, he spent five years as an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota, his final season as the assistant head coach. Following his time with the Fighting Sioux, Swenson spent another five seasons as the pitching and catching coach at Luther College in Iowa.
He received his degree in physical education from Luther and his master's from North Dakota. He married former Victoria Villberg in 2011 and is the proud parent of fraternal twins - daughter Sydney and son Riley.