His decision expected to be confirmed at the Ignacio Board of Education Regular Meeting Thursday, Aug. 9, Ignacio High School girls’ varsity basketball head coach Trae Seibel has elected to resign his position, after leading the Lady Bobcats to the CHSAA Class 2A State Championships back in March.
“Well it was a heck of a ride, you know … to compile the best regular-season record and overall record that Ignacio Girls’ Basketball’s ever seen,” he said, having joined predecessors Dwayne Odoms, Justa Whitt and father Shane Seibel as the only skippers to navigate the program to the final weekend.
“The girls that came out to play, you know, it was them and their ability to play the game at such a high level … to be open to a motion offense, strict conditioning, and a defensive attack,” he added. “As a first-year head coach I learned a lot, experienced a lot. And for them to be coachable, be respectful … I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
“And my staff – A.J. Vigil, Chris Herrera, Pam Cotton and my dad Shane – without them, without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the season.”
“First and foremost, I want to thank my wife, my parents, and my children,” Seibel declared. “I want to thank the administration – Rocky [Cundiff, IHS Athletic Director], Melanie [Taylor, IHS Principal], Rocco [Fuschetto, Ignacio School District Superintendent] – and the school board for giving me an opportunity to coach in my hometown where I grew up, where I graduated high school from.”
“I also want to give special recognition to … the Gomezes, Neoma Quintana and her family, Larissa Gallegos’ family, Morgan Herrera’s family, the Brunsons, and the Valdezes – Chris and I, we’re cousins, both part of the Taylor family – as well, because they’ve provided such great support to the program.”
Seibel’s first-ever varsity team finished 21-4, but lost standouts Avionne Gomez and Allisianna Baker-Marquez to graduation and now-junior Morgan Herrera this summer to her family’s Pacific Northwest relocation. Still, with guards Ebonee Gomez and Kiana and Charlize Valdez, forwards Makayla Howell and Larissa Gallegos, and young center/forward Shelcie Gosney all eligible to return this winter, Seibel certainly wasn’t leaving for fear the cupboard would be empty.
“I did my best to steer the program in a way of personal responsibility, accountability, honesty, and wanting to push these girls to be the best in the state of Colorado and 2A. I did that by putting the best players that I could on the court to give us the best chance to win,” he said.
“And when it came down to it, I had a group of parents that supported that vision and then I had a group, you know, that may not have supported that vision. And it’s okay to agree to disagree on a professional level, but for me it was time for me to make a change so that I could be healthy, stress-free.”
“At the end of the season I endured a lot of stress … and the majority of it derived from people that did not support my vision of the program. Like I said, on a professional level it’s okay to agree to disagree, but for me it was time to make that change.”
Expected to take the helm is Justa Whitt, who led IHS to State in the 2012-13 season before stepping down, with Shane Seibel then taking charge for the next four years prior to his son’s accession in 2017.
“I think Coach Whitt … provides a safe environment for the girls to be their best. Just like I did, just like my dad did,” Trae Seibel said. “She’s got head-coaching experience coaching the girls, and I think that she’s going to do a great job! I think that the girls are ready to go, and that they were ready for another coach to step in, who can elevate the program.”
“Moving forward, I still support the ladies and support the program because I’m an Ignacio Bobcat at heart … and I wish them nothing but the best,” he added. “Because for them to be successful needs the community to be successful … And so I wish the community all the success, I wish the girls all the success, and I look forward to watching them hopefully get back to State and win a game!”
WILL THE TIE INDEED BIND
With younger brother Clay going into his senior year at Durango High School, Seibel had no hesitation addressing if a move to the 4A Demons’ staff was in the cards.
“To be honest, as soon as I resigned, I was contacted by Durango High School,” he admitted. “I traveled with them this summer, you know, to a couple camps – took Clay, hopped into the car, and we were able to … make sure he was there – and what Coach Batiste is preaching to his kids, the philosophy behind the program, is exactly what I was doing with the [Ignacio] girls’ program, so I feel like I’d fit in very well.”
“I’m potentially looking into the opportunity to be hired by Durango High School to be an assistant for the boys’ team. And … it would just be ‘assistant coach’ for the boys’ program – I’m not ‘coaching’ JV, I’m not ‘coaching’ C, not ‘coaching’ the varsity … I’m just there to assist … in any way that I can.”
“And in no way, shape, or form was the position a deciding factor in me resigning; I know that there had been some rumors about that, but it had absolutely no effect on this decision,” said Seibel.