Seipel officially steps down as soccer coach

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Mike Seipel’s resignation as boys’ head soccer coach at Rising Sun High School was accepted by the Rising Sun Ohio County School Board on Thursday, Oct. 20th.

Seipel became head coach in 1998, a year after the sport had been a reserve sport for a season Rising Sun won the sectional in that first varsity season as a co-ed team. The following year the girls had their own team.

Seipel recommended that assistant coach Aaron Hopkins take over but Hopkins (whose resignation was accepted also) has decided to coach ‘Select’. “I can respect that decision. He is a very knowledgeable coach and is an excellent role model for young men. He’ll be very successful. The last two to three years he’s ran a lot of the summer workouts. He enjoys the game and is good at it too.”

He has considered stepping down the past couple years. Last year he recorded his 200th win but came back to finish with this senior class. They were unbeaten in conference play 11-0-1 and were 13-2-2 overall.

Seipel closes with 216 wins, 96 loses and 16 ties. There may have been a few less losses and a few more ties but the Ohio River Valley Conference had a penalty shootout rule a couple of seasons to avoid ties (something that no longer is in effect). ” We didn’t do too well in the shootouts.”

Of course the most memorable moments were the two sectional wins in 1998 and 2000 when soccer was a single class sport.

Although soccer is now a two class sport, Seipel said it hasn’t helped Rising Sun with perennial nemesis Lawrenceburg (who defeated Rising Sun 4-0 in the 2016 soccer sectional) always to deal with.

“I thought it should have started with three classes like (they did when they classified) softball,” contends.

Officially, Seipel has five Ohio River Valley Conference championships. However, before a majority of the conference schools made it a conference sport, Rising Sun was dominant in boys soccer along with Shawe Memorial. There would be a few more titles.

There were only a couple seasons that Rising Sun was at the .500 mark. Seipel contested that those seasons came at a time when the seventh and eighth grade soccer program was eliminated. While this year’s squad will lose five starting seniors and nine overall, the junior high feeder system is back and running. They had just one loss this season.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to work with them outside of the classroom. Not many teachers get to do that. I always didn’t have a world class athlete but had gamers. They always played hard.

“Coaches don’t win games, players do. I had some good coaches too.”

“I’ll miss being with them outside of Spanish class. You get to see them outside and can figure out who needs a guiding hand, who will be a leader, I won’t miss driving the bus on the long road games, putting the blocks on the pedals so I could reach them on the bus,” the master of comedy quipped.

” The biggest thing I’m proudest of is we did it with guys right here from Ohio County,” Seipel admits. Other schools have won sectional titles with foreign exchange students. The high school Spanish teacher has annually shared the soccer experience with Mexican workers who work on area farms.

Over the years, Seipel has given out dozens of game balls on special occasions to fans who have supported the team. The first went Martha Turner following the first sectional win. She and her late husband Roy Turner had donated the land to help start the S.A.Y soccer program

He calls his coaching old school and that it’s become a faster game. “I’m still using fullbacks and halfbacks. But it worked 216 times.” Injuries are a part of the game although the school has a weight room and conditioning. Three 80 minute games a week is too much during a nine week period, noted Seipel, who would like to see two games a week.

Numbers have been up and down. Usually Rising Sun would play one half of a reserve game but other conference schools didn’t have the numbers this year.

In his resignation letter, written during last Thursday’s two hour delay, he thanked the school board and administration for their support .

“As I’ve said many times, coaches don’t win games, players do. The kids knew how much I wanted to win every game we took the field….I also believe That I taught them to be gracious in defeat, something that I think has been put on th back burner with sports today.

No one likes to lose but winning and losing is a pat of life….I wish all the best for the soccer program at RSHS. We have started something very good here for these young men (and women) and I hope it continues for a long time.”

When coaches are asked what they will do with their time, most will say play golf.

For Seipel that’s true, at least this spring. He has given up his position as assistant baseball coach mainly because he thought they needed somebody younger. “I can’t throw BP like I use to.”

He will serve as head golf coach.

Don’t worry about missing Seipel’s jokes and storytelling. In June you’ll get to hear him at the beginning of the awards banquet and at the end.