Legendary Coaches: Brady Sigler

Coach Brady Sigler

Tell us about your origins as an athlete, how you fell in love with the Sport, where you competed at and honors you won and how you first got interested in the Sport.

I participated in football and baseball as a youth at the Coral Gables Rec. Dept. My introduction to track and Field came at Ponce DeLeon junior high school. I had the schools fastest time in the 600 yard run 0n the Presidents Physical Fitness test. I then went out for the Ponce track team. I ran several events and high jumped. I was taught the Western Roll and we landed in sawdust. I immediately fell in love with Track and Field. 

Did you compete in HS/College and how you did there (honors) or, did you continue your love for the Sport next as a coach?

Coral Gables High School had over 4,000 students in grades 10 thru 12. Our football team won 28 straight and was National Champion once. The group that were sophomores my senior year had 5 NFL first-round draft picks. Gerald Tinker was in that class. He won a gold medal in the 4X100 relay at the Munich Olympics. His cousin, Larry Black led off that relay. I ran mid-distance and was team captain my senior year.

What coaches were your greatest influences in Cross Country and/or Track and Field and how did they affect/inspire your career?

In high school, I regularly went to the Library to read about sports. I read Roger Bannister's autobiography and also Ken Daugherty's Track and Field Omnibook. My high school coach was Ed Injaychock who became a father figure to me as my father left us when I was 11 years old. I have been coaching high school track and field off and on since the spring of 1979, in 5 different decades. Therefore I have competed against many awesome track coaches. Napolean Cobb had the best teams I ever coached against. In the mid-1990s Elbert County and Southwest Dekalb would meet every year somewhere. 

We met in Elberton and once at DeKalb Memorial Stadium. We also faced off at Clarke Central for a tri and Carrollton for a Quad meet. Coach Cobb and I shared a lot of training ideas. We both tried hard to win these meets and ended up splitting them. These were intense meets and helped strengthen both teams. Jerry Arnold at Carrollton had the next best teams. We battled them at Columbia. Jerry was the first coach I went up against who would have top people in every event. One year at Georgia Olympics, Columbia scored 85 and still finished second to Carrollton. Other coaches, I respect and have learned a lot from are: Ted Smith, Tomy Sitton, Tommy Taylor, Cook Holiday, Ryan McClay and Paul Koshewa. 

I have been blessed to have several excellent assistants. My first was Bill Sheskey. He went on to have an excellent career as a head coach. Marty Tate at Elbert County has been a successful head coach at Madison County. Amos Tift at Jefferson is now the head coach there. He will have great success. 

There are some great coaches in Georgia right now. Craig Musselwhite at Carrollton and Matt Henson at Parkview are two that I respect. I remember Craig as a state champion on Jerry Arnold's teams. Mark Whitley at George Walton Academy, Neville Anderson at Athens Academy, and Kendra Houghton at Oconee County are also outstanding.

Morris Bryan was the driving force in bringing the state meet to Jefferson during the 1970s. He coined the phrase "Exposure to Excellence prompts Excellence". I hope that coaches in the future realize that this is powerful. Providing athletes with opportunities to have experiences that expand their horizons is important. That is one reason we usually would compete out of state at the Florida Relays and the Mobile Meet of Champions.

AAAA Columbia 80

Track coaching career: 
Head track coach for 16 years
6 state championships
6 state runners-up
As an assistant, 1 state title and 3 runners-up

Vinson Davis of Columbia, best performance award in both hurdles (1983)

Columbia High School:

We won the Dekalb County Championships 5 years in a row. Columbia had never won one before and I don't think they have since.

1980- Region and AAAA State Champs
1981- Region Champs and AAA state runnerup
1982-Region Champs and AAA state runnerup
1983- Region and AAAA State Champs

1983 Columbia, best performance award, 4x110 yard relay

The 1983 team scored 90 points at State which set a record for the State's highest classification. I think it still might be. In the next 6 years, I was not a head track coach. I was an assistant for one year but focused on football. I became the head track coach at Elbert County for the Spring of '1991. 

Elbert County, state champs, 4x400 relay

Elbert County:
 1992- Region Champs
 1993- region champs
 1994- Region champs, State runnerup AAA
 1995- Region Champs, AA State Champs
 1996- Region Champs, AA State Champs
 1997- Regin Champs, AAA State Champs
 1998- AAA State runnerup

1995 Darius Downer of Elbert County, 110 hurdles state champ

The 1996 team accomplished something amazing to me. The top 2 in each region qualified for state. That means that the region would send 32 entries to state. The '96 Elbert team sent 28 of the region's 32 entries to state. That team also scored 115 at state. 

2000- region champs
2001- region champs, state runnerup

 2019- Region and AAA state champs Jefferson XC:
 2018- Boys and Girls region champs
 2019- Boys and girls region champs, Girls state 4th 

I had quite a few years where I did not coach track and field. I went to several schools to coach football, usually as a defensive coordinator and strength coach. I was fortunate to coach in 5 state championship football games at 4 different schools. I was an assistant track coach for some of those years under Ben Scott, Josh Mize, and Tomy Sitton. 

Give us a list of all the State Team Championships/Individual State Champs you coached, or just Region Champs as a team/individuals and Coaching Honors you have achieved? 

1983 Hubert Brooks of Columbia, long jump state champ

Individual and relay state champions:
 Columbia HS:
1980- Ron Davis-120 yard hurdles
1980-4X110 relay
1981- Rory Graves-shot put (best performance trophy)
1981- Marvin Arnold- Discus
1981- 4X110 relay
1981- mile relay
1982- Vinson Davis- 120 hurdles
1982- Vinson Davis- 330 hurdles 1982- mile relay
1983-Hubert Brooks- long jump (state record)
1983- Vinson Davis 120 hurdles (best performance)
1983- Vinson Davis- 330 hurdles (best performance)
1983- 4X110 relay (best performance)
1983- mile relay (best performance and all classification state record) 

Hubert Brooks, long jump state record

Elbert County:
1992- 4X400 relay
1994- Jimmy Burton- 300 hurdles
1995- Jimmy Burton- 300 hurdles
1995- Greg Hughes- high jump- a state record
1995- 4X100 relay (state record)
1995- Darius Downer- 110 hurdles
1996- Jimmy Burton- 110 hurdles
1996- Greg Hughes- high jump
1996- 4X100 relay (state record)
1997- Ray Glaze- long jump (state record)
1997- 4X100 relay (state record and best performance)
1998- Tim Moon- triple jump (best performance)

2018- Thomas Martin- pole vault
2019- Ryder Pagel- pole vault
2019- Robbie Headshot put
2019- Eli Morris- 110 hurdles
2019- Eli Morris- 300 hurdles

There were several state champions that I coached as an assistant including my son Harper. I won't list them and some were girls.

State high point trophy winners:
1980- Ron Davis- Columbia
1983- Vinson Davis- Columbia
1996- Ken Hardeman- Elbert County
1997- Ken Hardeman- Elbert Columbia
2019- Eli Morris- Jefferson 

What are the 2-3 most striking moments in Track/XC you witnessed happen? and please relive it here for us.

Rachel Sigler of North Oconee, 5th place 800 meters

My favorite moments include coaching and watching my twins, Rachel and Harper compete. Rachel was the first to enjoy success. She was the Clarke-Oconee xc middle school champion in 5th,6th and 7th grade. She missed 8th grade due to injury and won again in 9th grade for high school varsity. She finished 16th in state xc and 5th in the 800 as a freshman. Her femur was inserted improperly in the hip socket which made running too painful each year as she grew.

Coach Sigler with son Brady Sigler

Harper set a middle school state record in the 3200 in 8th grade at 10:17. In high school he placed all 4 years at state in the 800, winning in 10th grade. He finished second in 11th and 12th grade behind Devin Dixon, the state's fastest 800 runner ever. His senior year his time would have easily won all other classes. He loved competing against Devin. 

My wife, Melanie, was always a great coaches wife. She would ride in the back of my truck and video the sprinters who were towing. She had t-shirts printed for those who towed and gave them to the athletes. Melanie was always pointing positive things about the athletes that I didn't notice. 

Another favorite moment was watching Vinson Davis win 4 best performance trophies in 1983. He won both relays and both hurdles. I think only Milton Campbell of Douglas has accomplished that feat. In the early 2000s, Vinson surprised me by showing up at the state meet to introduce me to his 2 daughters. It was a great moment. 

How challenging has it been for you to watch COVID-19 destroy the Outdoor Track season?

The COVID-19 situation has been devastating. Jefferson's boys would have been very difficult to defeat at State. More importantly, so many athletes were deprived of something that they had prepared so hard for. I am certain several of our athletes would have earned scholarships that they now don't have. So many young people missed out on special experiences. 

Melanie and Brady Sigler

What were some of the little things you did that made a difference in your programs?

I always told my teams that the more you put into something the more it will mean to you. This also applies to coaches. We would always practice on Fridays and often Saturdays. I would tell them that coaches who always give you Fridays off were giving themselves a day off. 

The more athletes know you care about them, the more they will give to the sport. At pretty much every stop athletes would need rides home. At Elbert I would drive a group to Bowman, return to the track and drive a group to the other side of the county. These trips are where great bonds were formed. We would talk about anything except sports. I would play "The Beatles or Beethoven" to expose them to different things. Marvin Arnold became a Beatles fan. He played football at Auburn. He has coached track and football at Columbia and Lithonia. We still talk every once in a while. 

How do you feel the Sport has advanced this Century and where it is going?

I worry about the future of track and Field in Georgia high schools. Many football coaches want their players to do football workouts all spring. They send them to 7 on 7's on the weekends. Many basketball coaches encourage their players to join travel teams in the spring. Many of these athletes never experience track and field because of this. Many would fall in love with track. Many would also be better at track than their other sports. The best football coaches I worked under wanted their players competing in track. Two are Hall of Famers in Billy Henderson and T. McFerrin. 

I want to acknowledge two outside of the coaching realm. Bruce Taylor of Milesplit Georgia and Hawthorne Wesley of the Atlanta Track Club have made considerable contributions to our sport. Melanie and I stayed with Hawthorne and Betty during the 1996 Olympics. 

Coach Ralph Moore and Coach Sigler at North Oconee

What are the most important things you attempted to pass on as a coach for all the athletes you coached? 

I tried to teach my athletes a few common values throughout the years. I wanted them to learn to enjoy the process each day by focusing on what they could do today and not tomorrow. I wanted them to respect the sport and their opponents. I also wanted them to appreciate what they had, their school, team, and family. I wanted them to learn responsibility by taking care of their equipment, locker room, track facility, buses etc. I wanted them to realize that not everybody had the support that they had. I told them to thank their parents for letting them be on the team and supporting them.