All in With Allison – Big shoes to fill

Written By Allison Schubert, Sports Columnist

After just over a decade, Dan Swalga is no longer the athletic director of Point Park University.

On May 18th of this year, Swalga announced he was retiring after his 12-year tenure as a Pioneer.

In his time with Point Park, Swalga added eight varsity sports to the program, the Pioneers were accepted into their current conference and he had maintained a reputation as leading one of the best athletic departments in the conference.

With Swalga’s help, sports like competitive cheer, competitive dance, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field are now recognized as varsity sports, giving Point Park 17 total.

For the first half of Swalga’s tenure, Point Park was a member of the American Mideast Conference (AMC). The AMC disbanded in 2012, leaving the Pioneers without a home. That same year, Swalga lead Point Park to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC), which is now the River States Conference (RSC).

Since joining its new conference, Point Park has won the RSC Commissioner’s All-Sports Cup three times, as well as Swalga being named the KIAC Athletic Director of the Year in 2014-15.

With such a successful and storied past, it is no doubt that the new athletic director will have some big shoes to fill.

After a long application and interviewing process, Point Park hired Toronto native John Ashaolu to fill those shoes left by Swalga.

Like Swalga, though, Ashaolu has his own storied past in athletics.

Ashaolu began at the University of New Orleans, where he played NCAA Division I basketball before finishing his career at Xavier (La.) University.

He worked extensively in basketball operations following graduation, and was eventually hired as the Director of Athletics and Student Programs at the Community College of Beaver County in 2014, where he doubled the amount of varsity sports from three to six in his four years at the university.

In Jan. 2018, he was brought on by the Community College of Allegheny County as its Athletic Director, overseeing all branch campuses and 16 sports that the university had.

His past has led him here, to the corner of real and world, to begin the next chapter of Point Park University athletics.

Time to put on those shoes.