Seville brings a District 5 title to McConnellsburg
Four years ago a new girls basketball coach walked into the gym at McConnellsburg, determined to make a change, not only for the program, but for the athletes donning blue and white.
He stood in front of his new crop of girls and pointed to the south side of the gym at the coveted banner for 1,000-point scorers.
"If you get your name up on that banner, good," he said. "But that doesn't mean much to me."
He shifted his attention to the District 5 championship banners hanging on the opposite end of the gym. Banners that had remained untouched since 1999.
"Those are the ones I care about."
And, after four years at the helm, Brent Seville finally brought a girls basketball district championship back to McConnellsburg with a 62-46 victory over Northern Bedford in the Class 2A title game.
He is the Public Opinion Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
"Besides my wedding day and birth of my daughter, it's one of the best feelings in the world to have that gold medal around my neck," Seville said. "All the extra hours we put in the gym, the Saturdays, the early mornings - it makes it worthwhile being able to achieve what we did, not only as a coach but as a team."
For Seville, the 2017 district championship was a culmination of his work with a specific group of athletes from the time they were in elementary school. And although there were many changes to the roster throughout the years, Seville guided that squad to a district title.
"I wasn't able to achieve that as an athlete myself, but being able to coach and see the progress of these kids, it feels just as good," Seville said. "Some of these kids I had, Bronwyne (Mellott), Justice (Seville) and a few others, started with me in fourth grade, and I knew they had potential; and I said it years ago - I knew they were special and they were going somewhere."
Through four years, Seville and the Spartans have achieved a 59-38 record (.644) and have appeared in the District 5 tournament each year - and continued to improve every season.
"My first year we made it to districts as the fifth seed, then the next year we were fourth and hosted a home playoff game for the first time since 1999," Seville said. "My third year we made it to the championship game, but lost to Southern Fulton, and now we have a district championship.
"Now the next part is to get past the first round of states. We always seem to be pushing the bar up a little higher."
Some of his success comes from his focus on fundamentals - ensuring that all of his players know the basics of the game and can do it well, which they do. But Seville also makes certain that his team is not just a group of girls on a basketball court, but a family.
"Being their basketball coach is a great thing, but these kids ultimately want to know that you care about them off the court," Seville said. "We are so much like a family, it's going to be hard for me to walk into the gym next year and not see a lot of their faces."