With the resignation of men’s soccer coach Steffen Siebert last week, Springfield College Athletic Director Craig Poisson has been tasked with overseeing the transition of a strong program into a new era. It won’t be easy to find the right coach, but Poisson has successfully overseen programs in transition before.
“I am committed to making this as smooth a transition as possible for our men’s soccer student-athletes,” said Poisson in his office on Monday. “I shared with them (men’s soccer student-athletes) that during my brief tenure we were able to transition a football coach mid-stream. Granted, that was a known retirement, but not announced until after the last contest. Also, a smooth transition in the sport of softball about a week before classes began at the beginning of last term. So, we have two experiences, I guess I could say, where we didn’t miss a beat. I shared with the men’s soccer student-athletes that I understand the value of placing a foot on the ball and my goal is to have them continue to do that without missing a step.”
In Kate Bowen’s first season as the head coach of Springfield’s softball program, the team had an overall record of 32-11 and earned a bid for the NCAA Championship tournament. In Mike Cerasuolo’s first season as head coach of the football program, he led the Pride to an undefeated 10-0 regular season, a NEWMAC championship, and a bid into the NCAA Championship tournament.
Siebert led the men’s soccer program to new heights in six seasons with the program. Under Siebert’s watch, the Pride set new Division III program records in fewest losses (1), most shutouts (13), and winning percentage (.881), and overall program records in wins (18) and goals in a single season (69). The team also broke into the national rankings for the first time in 2016, and has been ranked as high as 12th in all of Division III.
Although current and former players alike are appreciative of what Siebert has done over the years, Poisson feels like Siebert’s impact will be even more recognized and appreciated as time goes on.
“Like a lot of our teacher-coaches – all of our teacher coaches, the impact is tough to measure. It’s not necessarily measured until years from now. The same thing can be said about the value of a Springfield College degree. You don’t really take a look back until you have gone out and done great things. So, there are certainly men’s soccer student-athletes who, while maybe appreciative of what coach Siebert did for them through the last six years, it’ll likely be felt more as time goes on. He has helped sustain a program of excellence and has certainly made his mark on it recently bringing the program to new heights.”
As it pertains to the situation of Siebert’s departure, Poisson says he became informed on the situation about 24 hours before the men’s soccer student-athletes, some time last Tuesday. Poisson says he and his staff learned about the situation in a process involving Siebert. “It wasn’t through word of mouth or anything of that nature.”
Poisson iterated that the figurative arrow isn’t currently pointing towards someone from within the coaching staff or from the outside, saying it is “too early to tell.”
“It’s safe to say that all options are being explored. It obviously is a priority. The experience of our men’s soccer student-athletes has taken the front burner, if you would. The immediacy relies on stabilization for the program for the spring and then for the long term. Wheels have been in motion since the day the news hit me and progress is being made.”
Poisson expressed that he is happy for Siebert and that United States men’s soccer is getting a great addition.
“I was extremely excited for coach Siebert and his future and that he was able to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Poisson. “I shared with our men’s soccer student-athletes that USA soccer needs coach Siebert. We are not in a good place in the sport of USA soccer. Particularly as it relates to the men’s side, which has been his area of expertise. I am not discarding the fact that our women are the world leaders. At one point led by Springfield College graduate Tony DiCicco. I wish Steffen the best of luck in his career move.”