ELBA — Marc Sieving was beaming. He was composed and he was prepared. Most of all, he was ready.
After 15 years as an assistant football coach at Enterprise High and six more years as head coach at Dauphin Junior High, Sieving was hired to be Elba’s next head coach and athletics director on Tuesday night.
Nobody needed to bring him up to speed.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the history of this town, this school and this football program,” Sieving said. “I understand what the expectation is. I know you want to win and I know you want to win championships and that’s why I wanted the job.”
Sieving’s eye then caught several of his future players in the back of a crowded lobby at the Elba City School Board meeting.
“I assume some of those guys are players,” the new head coach said before addressing them directly. “I can’t wait. We’re going to get after it. I look forward to meeting all of y’all and I am so ready to get to work.”
After the meeting, Sieving admitted it was an emotional day. He choked up only once — and briefly — as he thanked and introduced his family, his wife Angie, twins Madison and McCain, both seniors, and his youngest son, Ty, will be a freshman at Elba next fall.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and I’ve always kind of had my eye on this place,” he said. “It’s going to be an awesome opportunity. It’s going to be a great challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”
He said despite so many years as a varsity assistant and then the past six at Dauphin, he always felt like he would get an opportunity to be a varsity head coach.
“I’m so fortunate that it’s happening at a place like this,” Sieving said. “They’ve got a great administration, great football players, a great football team and a great history. I’m looking to add to that.”
He said his first official day at Elba is March.
“I’m definitely looking forward to get in here and meet the players, the coaches, the whole staff, teachers, everyone,” he said. “Then we can start doing our thing.”
Sieving was a defensive line coach and defensive coordinator at Enterprise High School.
“I’ve been very fortunate to learn under some really good coaches and I plan on taking a little bit of everything that they’ve taught me to run our program here,” he said.
He also talked about feeling much more prepared after having been a head coach at Dauphin.
“It was great. I was running a program with 97 football players on my team every year,” Sieving said. “I appreciate all the people at Enterprise and at Dauphin that helped me over the years and helped get me ready for this moment.”
Elba City Schools Superintendent Chris Moseley said there were 49 applicants for the job, including eight very impressive finalists.
“We had several great candidates, y’all already know that,” Moseley said in his remarks to the board. “Everybody in the room knows it’s a very sought-after job. It came down to some nooks and crannies of things, but we’re super excited to have coach and his family here.
“Some of the things he brought to the table when I got to meet him at the interview process were incredible. We’re looking forward to some of those things in our program. I know we want to win football games. I understand that. We totally get that. But there’s a lot more that goes along with it. … Myself and (Elba High School principal Wynn) Mr. Grimes, we really felt like this was the decision that needed to be made for Elba High School at this time.”
Moseley said he interviewed far out of the county, in the county and even in-house. He also had nothing but praise for interim head football coach Glenn Johnson, who stepped in after Pate Harrison resigned on Oct. 1 several weeks after being placed on administrative leave following an incident during a junior varsity game.
“Coach Johnson did everything we asked during the interim period and he’s a great coach and a fine young man. I support him 100 percent,” Moseley said. “But this is where we’re at and this is the direction we wanted to go at this time.”
Sieving had a lot of friends in his corner, too, the superintendent said.
“I stopped counting around 25 phone calls (supporting Sieving),” Moseley said. “That’s not only on top of references I was going to call anyway. But in the coaching world, you talk to people all over and they were calling me well before we even started the interview process.
“He’s been a varsity coach for so many years. He did go down and coach his kids in junior high. But these were guys who had worked with him — former coaches, former superintendents, and they were all saying you’re getting a great product and a great man who is going to do it the right way.”
One of those close friends made the drive from Enterprise to attend the meeting. Enterprise High principal Brent Harrison was there in support of Sieving. Harrison said before he got into administration that they had coached together for six years on the Wildcats’ varsity.
“He’s a phenomenal coach. He’s going to do a heck of a job. They got a good one,” the Enterprise principal said.