HAINES CITY, Fla. – If there’s a coaching record at Concordia College, odds are Duane Siverson is somehow associated with it.
Siverson is only in his third year at the helm of the men’s golf team, but his Concordia ties reach back some 30 years.
Around Moorhead, Minn., Siverson is probably known best for his work with the women’s basketball team; he has the highest winning percentage in Division III women’s basketball history. Siverson coached the Lady Cobbers from 1984-1991 and won 169 of his 201 games, giving him a winning percentage of .841. He led Concordia to a D-III national title in 1987-88, when his top player, Jessica Beachy, was named the D-III women’s athlete of the year. Beachy, now Jessica Rahman, is currently coaching the team.
“We were definitely the premier women’s basketball team in the country,” Siverson said. “We were ranked in the top 5 in the country the last six years I coached the team and we probably should have won the national title five years in a row.”
After his successful run coaching women’s hoops, Siverson was given the men’s basketball job. He coached the Concordia men’s team for 17 years, finishing with a final record of 184-238.
Basketball wasn’t Siverson’s only focus. He also coached the Concordia women’s golf team from 1980-2003, notching four second-place finishes at the D-III NCAA finals. He returned to coaching the women’s team in 2008 for his second stint.
“All that has made me really familiar with playing at the national level,” Siverson said. “That’s where we are trying to get the men’s program to now.”
The Cobbers almost pulled that off last year, getting looks from the NCAA selection committee for an at-large bid into the D-III finals.
“It would have been great to be invited and see where we stood, but it was an honor to be invited this week,” Siverson said of Concordia’s invitation into Golfweek’s Div. III Fall Invitational, which features 12 teams that finished in Golfstat’s top 20 last year. “This is probably the first time in the history of the program that we’ve had a chance to play against a field like this.”
Siverson’s Cobbers were up to the challenge, finishing Round 1 tied for second place at 2-over 290. Zach Kappes led the way for Concordia, shooting 2-under 70.
Pat Deitz, the Cobbers’ No. 1 player, follows his coaches’ multi-talent lead and doubles as a forward on the Concordia hockey team. He opened with 75 at Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club.
“We got some people’s attention last year and now we need to just keep going the way we are,” Siverson said. “We just need to come down and get recognized by playing against all these teams, so people know that we can play golf in the North. It’s not just all snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.”