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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Sigler keeps it simple; team keeps winning

You would think that this being a new generation featuring fresh, new ideas that coaching today's teenagers to play high school basketball is a job for the young at heart.

You would think that Jerry Sigler has seen it all too many times before to still be able to make a difference.

You think that until you realize Northview High School's girls basketball team is appearing in the state tournament for the second year in a row and that Sigler isn't getting older, he's getting better.

No, the game hasn't passed Sigler by. Yes, he's 59 and wishes that kids today weren't so head-strong and independent.

Sigler Sigler
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But the coach who has won 537 games in 29 varsity seasons at Northview (plus one year with the junior varsity) has won 51 of the last 53 games he has coached. He was 26-1 a season ago and 25-1 this season heading into Friday's Division I state semifinal in Columbus against second-ranked Dayton Chaminade-Julienne.

Sigler realizes that his time in coaching is running short, but he's not conceding anything.

"When I started this, it was going to be a one-year deal. They paid me $200 and they said you're probably only going to last one year," Sigler said.

"The days of a coach lasting 30 years at a school, I don't think that's going to happen much longer. When I look back on my career here, it's unbelievable.

"We're going through it year-by-year. As long as the health stays good, it keeps me young. I still enjoy going into the gym."

You spend a few minutes listening to Sigler's coaching philosophy and you realize why he's so successful. He's too old to attempt to dazzle you with his own unique "system" of how the game should be played.

He wouldn't think twice of boring you with his basketball brilliance.

Sigler believes in a few basic principles that apply to life, as well as basketball. To him, it all starts with hard work.

"There's no magic formula. The coaching staff, we push the kids and we keep pushing them," Sigler said. "We've been blessed with a lot of good kids. They've worked hard and bought into the program and they've been extremely successful."

Sigler's Northview teams have won 20 sectional championships, seven district championships and three regional titles. The Wildcats haven't lost a Northern Lakes League game in three years (42-0).

"Success breeds success," Sigler said. "I'm sure we've been fortunate to win ballgames because of our tradition - just because we're Northview. They have a saying out here: 'Tradition doesn't graduate.' I firmly believe that."

Northview lost four starters and six seniors from a year ago. In response, Sigler moved current senior Niki McCoy, an All-Ohio selection who will attend the University of Akron, from center to wing - the first time Sigler has asked one of his star players to make such a sacrifice so late in her high school career. McCoy is averaging 15.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.8 steals and 1.08 blocks and provides valuable leadership for her less-experienced teammates.

"My coaching style is a lot different than last year," Sigler said. "Last year we were expected to get [to Columbus]. This year I don't even know if we were on the radar. I've never been prouder of one of my teams."



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