Eric Sieger, 16th season
Eric Sieger moves into his 16th season leading the Knights' program in 2016-17, having established Carleton as a perennial top-10 program in the country. He is a two-time WGCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year, as well as a three-time MIAC Coach of the Year. In the past three seasons combined, the Knights have posted an 88.4 winning percentage, amassing 12 victories in major invitationals in that time span.
The Knights posted four team victories in 2015-16 and ended the season ranked ninth in the country, according to Golfstat. They finished no lower than third place in any event and were either first or second in eight of their nine events. Grace Gilmore '16 repeated as MIAC individual champion, giving the Knights the last three winners of the conference individual title. Both Gilmore and Ziyi Wang '19 earned spots as individuals at the NCAA Championships; Wang was an All-America honorable mention selection while both players were all-region honorees. The Knights had four All-MIAC selections: Gilmore, Wang, Ayumi Sakamoto '19 and Geraldine Tellbuescher '17.
The past season came on the heels of a magical 2014-15 season that witnessed the Knights winning their first MIAC title in record-breaking fashion; they tied for sixth at the 2015 NCAA Championships, capping a year that saw them ranked inside the top 10 for the majority of the season. They racked up six victories in major invitationals, including an undefeated fall campaign that ended with the Knights shooting a school and then-conference record 299 in the MIAC Championships' final round. The victory earned the Knights an automatic bid to the national tournament. All five Knights' starters earned All-MIAC honors; Shannon Holden '17 earned MIAC player of the year honors and Grace Gilmore '16 won the MIAC Championships individual crown while leading the league in stroke average. They capped the season with the program's first NCAA Championships appearance, finishing tied for sixth. It marked only the second time since 1990 a Carleton athletics team has finished that high at a NCAA Championships.
The Knights recorded eight top-three finishes in 10 events in 2013-14, including victories in the final three events of the spring season. They finished second by a single shot at the 2013 MIAC Championships and ended up as the top-ranked Division III team in the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois) by both Golfstat and the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA)/Golf World. All five starters earned All-MIAC honors and four players also earned all-region accolades. Holden earned the program's first All-America citation and captured the individual conference title, the first to do so in Carleton women's golf history.
The 2012-13 campaign saw the Knights record their best finish ever at the conference championship, compete in the Golfweek/NCAA Preview, and earn a national ranking most of the season, rising to a program-high of 11th in the national rankings. Three players earned All-MIAC honors and two were tabbed for WGCA all-region spots.
Under Sieger’s guidance, the Knights have been nationally ranked each of the last 10 seasons. In addition to Gilmore and Wang competing in the 2016 NCAA Championships and the team qualifying for the 2015 NCAA Championships, Katrina Wood '09 (37th in 2008) and Kassie Martin-Wells '07 (34th in 2007) competed at nationals. Sieger has coached 17 players to all-region honors and 24 to All-MIAC honors. He was also the MIAC and MWCGA Coach of the Year in 2007-08, and three times his teams have earned the coaches' association's team academic award, including posting the third-best team grade point average in all of women's college golf in 2006-07. Martin-Wells also earned a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, and spent two years as an assistant coach with the program while serving as visiting professor in Carleton's physics program from 2012-14.
For two consecutive seasons Golf Digest ranked Carleton's program as one of the best in the country, regardless of Division, in the magazine's "Academics First" category, which recognized collegiate programs where student-athletes can receive a top-notch education and be a part of a very competitive golf environment. The magazine also ranked Carleton in the top 20 percent of all programs in terms of player improvement. Carleton is one of only three programs nationally to earn the WGCA's team academic award in each of the first three seasons of the awards existence.
An active member of the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA), Sieger is the chairperson of the Division III awards committee. He is also serving a stint on the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Committee for the next four years.
Sieger, also the College’s director of media and public relations, comes from a strong high school and college golf background. He was a two-year letterwinner for Luther College (Iowa), as the Norse captured the 1997 Iowa Conference championship, their first league title since 1973. At the high school level, Sieger competed for three years at the varsity level for Durango (Colo.) High School, as the Demons produced 12 collegiate golfers and four touring professionals in the 1990s. Still an avid golfer, he maintains a handicap of less than five.
Sieger came to Carleton as the school's first-ever full-time sports information director in September 2000. He previously served in the same capacity at Carleton when the position was at the internship level during the 1997-98 school year. He was Alma College (Mich.) sports information director from July 1998 to August 2000, and also served as Alma's assistant director of athletics for one year. He has previous coaching experience as Northfield High School’s ninth-grade boys’ basketball coach from 1997-98, and held a similar position at North Winnishiek High School (Iowa) from 1995-97. He also served as an assistant coach with Carleton's men's basketball program in 2015-16.
Sieger and his wife, Amanda, reside in Northfield with their son, Evan, and daughter, Marea (pronounced MAR-ee-uh).