Van Buren hires new football coach

KEOSAUQUA ? Van Buren school board hired hall of fame football coach Lloyd Sisco during its regular board meeting Feb. 21.

Sisco, 75, will replace Mike Hurley who resigned after the last season for health reasons.

From 1968 through 1981, Sisco served as head coach at WACO High School where he compiled an overall record of 121 wins and 15 losses during his 14-year tenure with the Warriors.

In 1982, he moved on to serve as the head coach at Ellsworth Community College where he won the 1987 NJCAA National Championship and compiled an overall record of 69-13-1 during his eight-year tenure.

From Ellsworth, Sisco served as the head football coach at Livingston State College (now the University of West Alabama). During his three seasons there, he compiled an overall record of 13 wins, 16 losses and one tie (13?16?1). He has also coached at Cardinal, Burlington and Washington. His high school football record is 184-63-2. This fall will mark his 28th season in the Iowa high school ranks.

Sisco, who has tutored a number of division one college and NFL football players over the years, is excited about the opportunity to coach again in southeast Iowa.

?I don?t hunt or fish,? Sisco said. ?Football is my hobby and my profession.?

Sisco and his wife live in Port Orange, Florida, and after his area got ?smacked? by two hurricanes the past two years and enduring the hot summers, he decided summer and autumn looked a lot better being spent in Iowa.

?We live four feet from the sea wall and I?m just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean,? Sisco said.

His home was damaged during Hurricane Irma.

?We were actually in Grinnell, my hometown, when it hit. We were on the way to a reunion of the 1987 Ellsworth national championship when I got a call from my son. We turned around and I missed the reunion.?

They lost a car port and some siding during the hurricane.

Sisco said he wanted to escape the oppressive heat in Florida and move back to Iowa during the summer and fall months.

?My son knew that I was interested in getting back into coaching high school somewhere in southeast Iowa and he saw the job opening and told me. I applied and came back here for an interview.?

?I am very excited about being here. There is a lot going on and this is an extremely vibrant community with a lot of development going on. I was very impressed meeting with the administrators at Van Buren.?

?Van Buren has had a decent football tradition,? Sisco said.

His Ellsworth teams set junior college records for rushing yardage (they still stand, Sisco notes), so you might naturally assume that is what the Van Buren Warrior teams will focus on.

?Actually, our Waco teams were wide open and we were known as a passing team,? Sisco said. ?What we will try to do here is develop a system that will build on the strengths of our kids.

?We developed the motto that you either must be better or be different. You put the kids in the best situations to win,? Sisco added.

Sisco was also hired to be the weight room supervisor during the summer months. He will be paid $4,640.49 for football and $500 for weight room supervisor.

?The strength program is a big part of our system,? Sisco said.

He added that he?s developed a program that is ?very functional.?

After his three-year stint at West Alabama, he came back to Iowa to coach at Washington.

?We put in a strength and conditioning program at Washington that was unified, to help both the male and female student athlete.?

He was at Washington for eight years.

?The strength and conditioning program really helped all sports. The track team became powerful. The girls basketball teams enjoyed good success.?

After a successful career at Ellsworth Community College, it was only a matter of time before the four-year colleges would come knocking and they did.

He landed at Livingston College (now University of West Alabama) in 1991 and he was there for three years.

?It was the first time for me to coach in the deep south,? he said. ?However, I learned that in NCAA Division two sports, there?s not a lot of security, including a lack of pension. After three years, we decided the best thing was to go back to Iowa and that?s when we went to Washington.?

He is a member of the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Ellsworth Community College Junior College Hall of Fame.

The best player he ever coached was Dale Lavelle Carter, Sisco said.

Carter played for Sisco at Ellsworth Community College in 1988 and 1989. Carter then was two-time all American defensive back/kick returner for the University of Tennessee in 1990 and 1991.

The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Carter in the first round and he was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Carter went on to play in four Pro Bowls and his career spanned 14 seasons as a Bronco, Saint, Raven, Chief and Viking. In 1999, he became the highest-paid defensive back when he signed with the Broncos at $22 million.

?What made Carter special was he was fast, had good hands and a tremendous football instinct. He was awesome and could flat out fly. He was a great jumper. He always told his teammates that if they would tape a $100 bill on the top of the glass in basketball he could grab it. Don?t know if I ever saw him do that, but he could jump. He was a good cornerback, but we used him in other areas to take advantage of his speed, like special teams.?

Van Buren Athletic Director Mike Plecker said the Sisco hiring has created a buzz within the student body.

?The first thing they noticed was that he had a section on Wikipedia,? Plecker said. Sisco plans to meet with student athletes sometime in May.

The board also hired Abby Manning as junior high girls track coach at a wage of $1,804.64, Tiffany Beggs, a special education associate at $11.34 per hour and Rhonda Edgington, a special education associate at $11.34 per hour. The board approved a contract revision for Keith Dimmitt and approved Greg Jones as science fair sponsor.

Resignations were accepted from Heather Coffman, TLC mentor, Linda Shields, TLC mentor, and Mindie Donald, science fair sponsor.