Wed May 24th, 2017
Special to the Drum
One can’t call this coaching change a ‘shake-up.’ Recent confirmation of speculations that IHS Girls’ Basketball assistant coach Trae Seibel would succeed his father, head coach Shane Seibel, under excellent circumstances seemed more a fulfillment of a likelihood.
“He trained me since I was a kid,” Trae said on Monday afternoon. “Him being a State Champion in basketball for Ignacio and just really knowing how to do it.” Training me to be a point guard, and when it came to coaching he’s the one who said, ‘Trae, I want to … give you all my expertise, everything that I have learned. Now you run with it.’
“Being the point guard of a State Runner-up team,” he continued, alluding to his 2009-10 senior season and being part of a talented backcourt including Pedro Vigil and Oakley Hayes, “and really just being ingrained on how to lead … Physically, emotionally, mentally,” Siebel said. “I’ve always wanted to be a coach, and what better place to do it than with Ignacio Basketball?”
“I feel real confident in leaving,” the Shane Siebel said Monday in a separate phone conversation. “Trae has also asked me if I could still be a part of it, be committed to … helping him and these girls. I think it’s been four years now, and the girls have just gotten better and better as a program. So I’m really looking forward to next year, to see what these girls can accomplish.”
Trae Seibel was quick to confirm that his inherited DNA isn’t an abbreviation for ‘Do Not Assist.’
“I’m planning on bringing him back – a ‘dollar contract’ – so he’s going to be the main varsity assistant,” he stated. “I still need his perspectives, and the philosophy he instilled within this program.”
“It was a good conversation between he and I; he’s professional, talented, and above all a champion. To have him there, as my dad – next to me, helping me with this read-and-react offense, it’s going to be awesome.”
In Shane Seibel’s four years at the helm, the Lady Bobcat varsity compiled a strong 58-32 overall record. And after three regional-tournament semifinal setbacks (against Paonia in 2014, Meeker in ’15, Westcliffe Custer County in ’16), IHS at last qualified – even with a much younger roster – for the 2017 Class 2A State Championships, when the ride into the ‘Great Eight’ stopped against Simla in the consolation-round semis.
“You know, I told them at the end, ‘The only team that can really beat you ladies is yourselves,’” Trae Seibel recalled. “Stay together, trust each other and put the time in, put the work in…. We’re going to be competing for a top spot. As long as we stay humble and really worry about ourselves, we’re going to make a good run.”
“He’s young, kind of been-there-done-that, and…it’s exciting,” said Shane Seibel. “The girls are really excited too – speaking of that, they’re already getting summer ball going, and so I think he’s going to do well.”
In addition to having a loaded roster – led by senior guard Avionne Gomez and sophomore center/forward Morgan Herrera – this winter, minimal differences in the skippers’ methods should help things proceed smoothly.
“The girls got to play the game, you know? They’re the ones that have to put the ball in the hoop. And for a coach to get in the way, and to ultimately call every single play…to us it’s not good, fluid basketball,” Trae Seibel said. “To take a step back in practices and allow…mistakes…. To do that – let the girls play the game, give them tools, resources to be intelligent – that came from him.”
“That was his philosophy really. And he’s done such a great job; I honor everything he’s done,” Trae said.
We believe in the motion-offense side of things, and defense … wins championships. Learned that from Coach Chris Valdez and transferred it over to the girls, had some success with it,” said Shane Seibel. “And he’s really looking at … carrying on that foundation and to just continue to build, add expertise, it’s awesome.”
Having cut his prep-level coaching teeth under Valdez with the younger Bobcat boys not long after his own graduation, then most recently having helped primarily with the Lady Bobcat C-team in addition to aiding Shane Seibel and JV leader Daniel Sanchez on the eager varsity staff – which also included former standouts A.J. Vigil and Maria Rivera – pride in being a local product could motivate Trae Seibel this winter more than anything else.
“Basketball IS Ignacio,” he declared. “And for us to come back, give our time, it’s awesome. I think Timmy [Velasquez, former Bobcat and current boys’ JV boss] does a great job. I’ve hit up [former Bobcat and current overseas professional] Alex Herrera; he’s … been at the skills camps with us this early in the summer, really been helping us with our post play, dedicating some time and it’s been awesome.”
“It’s been a blessing, you know? Being in the program … and just gaining so much experience from the top two coaches at Ignacio. And to now finally be a leader of the program … it’s a blessing.”