Webster University men’s soccer coach Mike Siener describes himself as a player’s coach. He holds the accomplishments of the players above those of the coaches, but that has not kept him from piling up awards.
Seiner won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Coach of the Year in men’s soccer, the third sport he has won the award with while at Webster. He was the SLIAC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year in 2013 and he has also won the award with the women’s tennis team. He is the second coach in SLIAC history to win the award in three different sports.
Webster Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Bunch, who had Siener as an assistant coach for 10 years, said the connection Siener has with his athletes is one reason Siener has won SLIAC Coach of the Year in three different sports.
Siener started as a Webster student and athlete, and earned a spot on the SLIAC all conference team three times in both soccer and tennis. He knew he wanted to coach as a career so he got a bachelor’s degree in history, political science and secondary education. When he graduated he was the assistant basketball coach, and even coached the guys he had once played alongside in basketball. Siener said the transition from player to coach was not too hard; he thought the players respected him enough to take his advice and criticism.
Siener served as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team from 2001 to 2011 and Bunch said he would sometimes send Siener to meet his recruits because Siener has a calmer demeanor. Bunch said his gregarious personality would sometimes overwhelm potential students.
Siener took the women’s tennis team from winning four out of eight games to winning 12 out of 15 games. He won (SLIAC) coach of the year in women’s tennis three times.
He helped turn around the men’s tennis team in the same way. The year before Siener became head coach the men’s record was 2-9-1. The team was the sixth out of six teams in the SLIAC. In 2013 the team was second out of six teams, with a record of 19 wins and three losses, earning him SLIAC coach of the year for men’s tennis.
Siener still considers himself new to coaching soccer, but the team completed a 14-4-3 season overall and 8-1 in the SLIAC.
Siener’s ability to listen to the student allowed him to better help them, said former Webster Athletics Director Tom Hart. Hart said Siener is “passionate but not demonstrative.”
Siener is like that as a coach too; very even tempered.
“I’m probably not as hard-nosed a coach as is out there,” Siener said, “I’m not a yeller and screamer.”
But for Siener to have so much success as a coach he has to recruit good players. Siener said he enjoys the recruiting aspect of being a coach. Bunch said he has seen Siener sit down at his desk and make 40 to 50 recruiting calls in a day. One of the ways he tries to be a player’s coach is by relating to the students on a personal level.
Webster sophomore Dino Music said he really feels like Siener cares about him as a person and not just a member of the team. Music said he finds it easy to relate to Siener on a personal level and that pushes him to be a better player.
“It’s like you don’t want to disappoint him,” Music said.
Music played soccer in high school and had options when it came to playing in college. He said he knew when he came to visit that Webster was where he was supposed to be. Part of that connection, was due to Siener.
Hart said Siener’s ability to listen and be level headed is one of the things that set him apart as a coach. And that in turn allowed Siener to establish relationships with his students.
Hart also mentioned Siener’s recruiting abilities. Hart said there was a jump in student athletes looking at Webster when Siener was hired on. Hart also saw more people attending basketball games than they did before Siener.
Hart said he liked Siener’s work ethic and ability to relate to the students so he hired him as a full-time men and women’s tennis coach. Siener was also still working as assistant basketball coach at the time.