Bill Swiacki
Date of birth: (1922-10-02)October 2, 1922
Place of birth: Southbridge, Massachusetts
Date of death: July 7, 1976(1976-07-07) (aged 53)
Place of death: Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Career information
Position(s): End
NFL Draft: 1946 / Round: 16
Playing stats at
College Football Hall of Fame

William Adam Swiacki (October 2, 1922 – July 7, 1976) was an American football player and coach. He played college football as an end for Columbia University in 1946 and 1947 and was a consensus first-team All-American in 1947. He played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants from 1948 to 1950 and for the Detroit Lions in 1951 and 1952. He was a member of the Lions' 1952 team that won the NFL championship.

Early yearsEdit

Swiacki was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, in 1922.[1] He was of Polish descent[2]

College football and military serviceEdit

Swiacki began his college education at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.[3] He played at the end position for the Holy Cross Crusaders football team in 1942.[4] He then served as a second lieutenant and navigator on a B-17 Flying Fortress in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.[3] After the war, he attended Columbia University and played college football at the end position for the Columbia Lions in 1946 and 1947. On October 26, 1947, Swiacki gained national fame when his nine pass receptions led Columbia to a 21-20 victory over Army, breaking the Cadets' 32-game winning streak.[5][6][7] At the end of the 1947 season, Swiacki was a consensus All-American,[8] receiving first-team honors from, among others, the American Football Coaches Association,[9] the Associated Press,[10] the United Press,[11] Collier's Weekly,[12] the International News Service,[13] and the Newspaper Enterprise Association.[14]

Professional footballEdit

He later played professional football in the National Football League (NFL) as an end for the New York Giants from 1948 to 1950 and for the Detroit Lions from 1951 to 1952.[1] He was a member of the 1952 Detroit Lions team that won the NFL championship. In September 1953, Swiacki announced that he was retiring from football to devote his time to business in his hometown of Southbridge, Massachusetts.[15] In five years in the NFL, Swiacki appeared in 59 games and caught 139 passes for 1,883 yards for 18 touchdowns.[1]

Coaching careerEdit

In May 1954, Swiacki was hired as the end coach for the New York Giants.[16] In May 1955, he was hired as the head coach for the Toronto Argonauts.[17] After two seasons with the Argonauts, Swiacki quit the job in November 1956.[18]

Family and later yearsEdit

After retiring from football, Swiacki returned to Massachusetts and went into the real estate business.[19][3] He and his wife, Charlotte Lester Swiacki (1926-1999), had a son, Bill, Jr., and a daughter, Leslie.[19] Bill, Jr., was a standout three-sport athlete at Amherst College who was drafted by both the NFL's New York Giants and Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers.[3]

Swiacki was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in April 1976.[20] Less than three months later, 9n July 1976, Swiacki died at his home in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, at age 53.[19] He was killed when his accidentally discharged while Swiacki was cleaning it in the basement of his home.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Bill Swiacki". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  2. "William Swiacki (Born)". Polish American News: p. 3. October 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Bill Swiacki". Columbia University Athletics. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  4. "Holy Cross, Colgate Tie". The Pittsburgh Press: p. 24. November 1, 1942. open access
  5. "Columbia Star Named Week's Best Lineman". Pottstown (PA) Mercury: p. 22. October 30, 1947. open access
  6. Red Smith (July 11, 1976). "How Swiacki ended Army's unbeaten streak". The Times Herald Record: p. 119. open access
  7. "Bill Swiacki profile". College Football Hall of Fame. National Football Foundation. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  8. "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections". National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 6. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  9. Al Warren (December 17, 1947). "Patrolling the Sport Highway with Al Warren". The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah).
  10. "Midwest Places Three Backs On AP All-American Squad: Lujack, Evans and Chappuis On First Team". Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. December 3, 1947.
  11. "Offensive Brilliance Pays Off On UP All-American: Midwestern Zone Leads With Four Players on Team". Journal (Western Nevada). November 27, 1947.
  12. "Collier's Grid Team Announced". The Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH). December 5, 1947.
  13. Lawton Carver (December 4, 1947). "Johnny Lujack Unanimous INS All-American Grid Selection". The Daily Courier (Connellsville, PA).
  14. Harry Grayson (November 1947). "Lujack Is Only Unanimous Choice For NEA's 1947 All-America". Middlesboro, Ky., Daily News.
  15. "Lions' Swiacki Retires To Enter Business". The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois): p. 7. September 3, 1953. open access
  16. "Swiacki Signs as Coach With N.Y. Grid Giants". Lebanon (PA) Daily News: p. 16. May 1, 1954. open access
  17. "Swiacki to Coach Toronto Argonauts". Abilene (TX) Reporter-News: p. 7B. May 12, 1955. open access
  18. "Swiacki Quits". The Lincoln (NE) Star: p. 14. November 6, 1956. open access
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Jim Benagh (July 8, 1976). "Ex-Lion Swiacki Dies at 53". Detroit Free Press: p. 13. open access
  20. "Parker, Swiacki in Hall of Fame". The Ottawa Journal: p. 35. April 22, 1976. open access

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