Northeast Tarrant

Siegel takes another step up in her career in move to Keller

Jamie Siegel, center, coaches Colleyville Heritage in the 2013 playoffs.
Jamie Siegel, center, coaches Colleyville Heritage in the 2013 playoffs. Star-Telegram Archive

The job Jamie Siegel is about to start is the one she never considered. But isn’t that how it’s supposed to work out for those who have bright futures in front of them?

Colleyville Heritage’s volleyball coach will become Keller’s new volleyball coach on March 23. The Keller ISD board approved her hiring last month. Siegel replaces Sylvia Ortiz, who retired in December after the first semester.

For the 32-year-old Siegel, this is a promotion, as she will also serve as the girls athletic coordinator. She also reunites with former colleague and current Keller head football coach Carl Stralow. He was the defensive coordinator for the Panthers. Siegel will not have to teach a class.

“I was talking to (Hurst L.D. Bell coach Vickie Griffin) and she said I might want to take a look at that position,” Siegel said. “I had some questions. I talked to the Keller folks and prayed about it. And I decided I wanted to see what could happen.”

Interviews with the Keller ISD interviewing committee of Keller principal Michael Narsa, KISD athletic director Bob DeJonge, assistant athletic director Becky Spurlock and Stralow never had moments of trepidation. In fact, it felt like more of a conversation than a formal interview.

“I was able to show my passionate side about my teaching and coaching philosophy,” she said. “I was very at peace with everything. It made me want to be there even more.”

Siegel isn’t inheriting a rebuild. Ortiz maintained a solid program. It routinely went to the playoffs. What it didn’t do was make deep runs. That’s what Siegel hopes to change.

In six seasons, she is 210-57 and directed the 2012 and 2013 teams to the then-Class 5A Region I championship games. Keller finished 18-19 but made the playoffs and was eliminated by Hebron. Hebron also eliminated Colleyville Heritage.

“Sylvia did a great job because the talent is there,” Siegel said. “There certainly is the capability because the kids know how to get to the playoffs. But I want to have a culture where we want to win a state championship. We need to make sure that we keep taking a step forward with every workout.”

Some of the players Siegel can build around are Cassidy Stewart, Cameryn Zahradnik (both starters) and Alexa Bartles. When the workouts start with her, every Keller player in the program should anticipate a stark contrast with someone who mixes energy with intensity.

Of course, Siegel has been getting grief, because she coached one of the best volleyball players to ever come through our coverage area in Anna Walsh. So the joke was since Walsh is graduating, Siegel is getting out the right time.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, because her unknown successor (the district is taking applicants) will take on a roster filled with experience and players who understand how the program is supposed to conduct itself on a day-to-day basis.

Siegle credits her faith leading her to Keller. It’s the right time for someone who has dreams of wanting to be an administrator. The phone lines between Siegel, DeJonge and Spurlock will surely burn up. That’s fine when someone is doing something new. In fact, it’s probably a given that they would prefer she ask questions.

Siegel has accomplished much at a young age. Her faith has guided her decision-making process.

There’s always risk involved in moves like these. Time will tell. But this was Siegel’s time to go for it. If you don’t try something, you’ll never know if you can be very good at it.

Chances are Keller made the right choice. Chances are Siegel did, too.