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Andy Siegal, who was hired as the Park High School football coach prior to the 2016 season, has resigned.

Siegal did not respond to calls from The Journal Times. But in en email he sent late Monday afternoon, he wrote, “I have resigned from coaching football at Park High School for personal reasons. At this time, I’d like to pursue further educational opportunities to enhance my professional career. I will continue to teach at Park High School. I appreciate everyone that has supported Panther Football.”

Stacy Tapp, chief of communication and community engagement for the Racine Unified School District, confirmed that Siegal had resigned as football coach.

“I know he did resign the coaching position for personal reasons and he will continue as a phy ed instructor,” Tapp said.

Siegal, a native of Deerfield, Ill., was hired from among 25 finalists in June 2016 to replace Dennis Thompson as Park’s coach. He came to Racine with an extensive coaching resume at both the college and high school levels, with his most recent position being offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga.

The job he took on at Park was a major challenge. The Panthers were once one of the most respected football programs in the state, winning WIAA Division 1 state championships under Phil Dobbs in 1988 and under Thompson in 2005.

But after Park’s most recent winning season — 5-4 in 2009 — the program went into a serious decline. Starting in 2010, Park had successive records of 4-5, 4-5, 1-7, 0-9, 1-8 and 0-9.

Siegal, who earned the reputation of turning around programs during his coaching career, embraced the challenge and increased the numbers in the program his first year. But the struggles continued that season when Park finished 0-10.

Even though there were more issues last season, such as having no returning starters on the offensive line, Park made a slight improvement with a 2-8 record. The improvement was especially evident on defense, where Park allowed an average of 28.5 points per game — a drop from an average of 39.6 per game during the 2016 season.

Leading that defense was his son, Austin, a first-team All-Racine County linebacker as a senior last season. Defensive lineman Raishein Thomas also earned first-team All-County honors, while defensive lineman Tre Williams, defensive back Meshawn Byles and punter Adan Matsen were second team.

Where Siegal perhaps made his greatest impact was in how he tirelessly worked to help his players move on to college football programs.

Despite Park’s lack of success on the field, Siegal had significant success in that area, with Austin Siegal, Adan Matsen, Isaiah Rea-Lopez, Ramiro Valente Lopez, Ghage Klein and Angel Sanchez-Espinoza among his players who are expected to play in college this fall.

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