Throughout the vast and fruitful history of Linfield football, Mark Siegner of the Class of 1986 stands out as having one of the most productive careers. In addition to being part of all three NAIA National Championship teams, two as a player and one as a student coach, Siegner also enjoyed an immense amount of individual success, ranging from a conference player of the year award to eight top-20 records.
In the words of his brother, Chris, Siegner arrived at Linfield in the fall of 1982, a “stick thin and very tall” freshman. At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, that may have been a fair assessment, but with a “toughness and natural feel for the game” Siegner earned plenty of playing time on special teams and as a reserve linebacker.
The rookie saw action in all 12 of Linfield’s games, including the NAIA National Championship, totaling 37 tackles and making a pair of interceptions for a Wildcat defense that held its opponents to an average of 12.5 points per contest. Linfield won its first national football championship that year, defeating William Jewell (Mo.) 33-15.
Siegner worked his way into the steady linebacker rotation as a sophomore in 1983, finishing among the team’s leaders in tackles (52) as the Wildcats finished second in the Northwest Conference.
Poised for a breakout year and a starting role entering the 1984 season, Siegner suffered a ruptured disc during team drills, an injury that required surgery and resulted in a year away from football, at least on the field. Signer remained on the sidelines as a student coach as Linfield won its second national championship in three years.
A healthy Siegner returned to the lineup in the fall of 1985, much to the pleasure of then-defensive coordinator Jay Locey. “He works out every day, rain or shine,” Locey said of Siegner. “He’s a very dedicated, hard-working player. He has good lateral quickness and he’s a great leader by example.”
Siegner helped the Wildcats capture the first of back-to-back championships in the South Division of the newly formed Columbia Football League. He totaled 44 tackles, including three sacks, en route to garnering second team all-CFL honors.
Not ready to hang up the jersey quite yet, Siegner returned for a fifth season, and boy, was it a good decision. With the CFL Defensive Player of the Year in charge, the Wildcats won their third national championship in five seasons, shutting out Baker (Kan.) 17-0 in the title game. For his efforts in the championship game, Siegner was honored the most outstanding defensive player.
The Wildcats held opponents to just 11 points per game that year, including two shutouts. Individually, Siegner was the team’s second leading tackler with 83 stops, including seven sacks. He also returned two interceptions for touchdowns, both of which came in a 45-14 Linfield victory over ninth-ranked Western Oregon.
At year’s end, Siegner was honored as a first team Little-All Northwest selection, second team NAIA All-American and first team Academic All-American.
Siegner’s name can still be found on many of Linfield’s top-20 lists, including career tackles (14th with 216), unassisted tackles (eighth with 154) and fumble recoveries (12th with four).
Upon wrapping up his mathematics degree from Linfield in the fall of 1986, Siegner moved to Albany, where he worked as a high school teacher and football coach for two years. At that point, he discovered a love for remodeling and building homes, and founded his own construction company, Valley Homes, Inc.
He and his wife, Tina, have three grown children Samantha, Ashton and Saylor.