Renewing old acquaintances won’t be at the top of Chris Siegfried’s to-do list when the former Spokane Shock coach returns to the city he so magically introduced to arena football three years ago.
“It’s just too quick a trip,” said Siegfried, who is starting his second season as coach of the arenafootball2 league’s Arkansas Twisters and brings his young team into the Arena tonight for an exhibition game against the Shock that kicks off at 7. “My day’s going to be jampacked (on Wednesday), and about the only free time I’ll have is after the game.
“Hopefully, I won’t be in too bad a mood to enjoy it.”
Siegfried is making only his second trip back to Spokane since guiding a first-year expansion Shock team to a 14-2 regular-season record and the af2’s ArenaCup championship in 2006. He left following that unlikely title run to become the offensive coordinator of the Arena Football League’s Kansas City Brigade, a move designed to increase his marketability as an AFL head coach.
Siegfried spent only one season in Kansas City before dropping back down to the af2 and leading the Twisters to an 11-5 regular-season record in 2008. These days – for the time being, at least – he seems content to put his AFL aspirations on hold.
“When I left Spokane, it was for strictly business reasons,” he said.
“It’s just the nature of the beast at the af2 level – players and coaches are both trying to move up, and, hopefully, no one in the Shock organization was bitter about my leaving.”
But after experiencing success as a coordinator in the AFL, Siegfried is only lukewarm about the possibility of returning to arena football’s highest level as a head coach – especially after the league decided to suspend its 2009 season to deal with its financial problems.
“I think I would entertain the opportunity, but it would have to be just a perfect, perfect situation for me to go back up there,” said Siegfried, who has been involved with af2 football in some capacity for eight of the past nine years.
Seigfried will bring a Twisters team into tonight’s preseason game that will have 21 rookies on its roster.
He’s hoping to make the matchup against second-year Spokane coach Adam Shackleford and his veteran Shock team a learning experience.
“When Coach Shackleford called and suggested the game, I just felt like too good an opportunity to pass up,” Siegfried said. “With so many rookies on our team, I just felt like it was a tremendous chance to put our young guys in a situation of playing a live game against a great team in front of a big crowd.
“I’m looking forward to getting back there.”
Shackleford said he expects to suit up between 26-29 players for tonight’s preseason game and will use everyone in uniform. … Shackleford said his main objectives will be to evaluate talent and keep players healthy, with his main focus being on the offensive line, where he has a large group of talented players trying to make the roster. … The Shock open their regular season at home against the Stockton Lightning on April 3 at 7 p.m.