Svoboda was the running backs coach at NWU during the 1986 season before taking over as head coach in 1987 at the age of 27. He was the head coach of the Plainsmen for seven seasons amassing a 51-20 record. His .718 winning percentage is the highest of any football coach in NWU history. He led Nebraska Wesleyan to three Nebraska Iowa Athletic Conference (NAIC) championships and his teams qualified for the NAIA Playoffs three times. His teams were 29-8 in conference play.
During his tenure at NWU, Svoboda coached 11 All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans and two players who went on to play in the National Football League.
The Spirit of the Plainsman Award is given to a coach, staff member, alum, contributor or friend of the athletic department that has given valuable time and contributions to the success of Nebraska Wesleyan athletics.