Heath Hotzler, Published February 29 2008
Siverson enjoyed tenureDuane Siverson couldn’t contain his emotions Tuesday as he walked to the bench after his Concordia men’s basketball team’s Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first-round playoff loss at Memorial Auditorium.
Siverson had been preparing for this moment since he announced in January that he would retire at the end of the season, but the finality of the situation was overwhelming.
“I just feel really fortunate to have been able to coach here,” Siverson said after the game, tears welling in his eyes. “I’ve kind of had a dream job. I’ve had a great ride, a great time.”
There was no great celebration for Siverson, and that’s probably the way he wanted it.
A fixture in the Concordia athletic department for 30 years, Siverson gathered his players around the bench for a final talk.
He thanked his coaches and hugged his sons, who were in the stands to watch the game.
He politely waved after Concordia assistant John Whartnaby asked the crowd of 308 to acknowledge Siverson’s lengthy run.
Then, as he has for the last two decades, Siverson took questions from the media.
“I’m going to miss being on the floor,” said Siverson, whose team improved from from its. “But last year was a tough one. After the season I had some health problems, and I really didn’t feel good at all.”
Siverson came to Concordia as a men’s assistant coach in 1978.
He became the Cobber women’s head coach in 1984, and promptly turned the team into a national power.
The women advanced to the national tournament seven times, and earned the NCAA Division III title in 1987-88.
Siverson was named the men’s head coach in 1991.
Although success was hit-and-miss during his tenure, Siverson was the architect of a handful of the best seasons in school history.
And Siverson’s, Whartnaby’s and assistant Troy Odegaard’s legacy will live on for three more years.
Freshmen Karl Olson, Darrin Olmscheid and Erik Lien all had productive first seasons as the Cobbers advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05.
“I think these are the best kids I’ve had,” Siverson said. “I know they are going to have success.”
Odds and ends
Jamestown College will host Minot State at 3 p.m. Sunday for the Dakota Athletic Conference tournament title. The winner earns a berth to the NAIA Division II national tournament. Jimmies senior guard Jake Holen, from LaMoure, N.D., led the league with 21.7 points per game. … Concordia senior post Melanie Hageman earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American honors. A Fargo South High School graduate, Hageman carries a 3.79 grade point average. … Former Mayville State volleyball and softball player Lindsey Kruse was recently named the Comets’ volleyball coach. Kruse has been the head coach at Buena Vista College for the last three years. … Former Concordia baseball standout Chris Coste was 0-for-2 at the plate in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 8-1 exhibition win against Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotzler’s small college blog can be found