When Dan Geiszler came to coach the Cottage Grove baseball team in 2004, he was unsure how long he would be in that role.
“That was exactly my thinking, I’m here for now and we’ll see what happens,” said Geiszler reflecting on his time in Cottage Grove. Since then, 15 years have happened. The Lions have had wins, they’ve had losses and now Geiszler is on to the next chapter of his life and he will be moving from Cottage Grove to Texas with his family.
“Kind of been working on it for a couple years or talking about it at least. And my wife and I, we kind of gave ourselves two years to make it happen and we both got jobs down there and just decided, why not, to be honest with you,” said Geiszler. “So we’re heading down there a little bit blind. We’ve been down there once.”
The Geiszlers are moving to Tomball, Texas which – at just under a population of 11,000 people – is about the size of Cottage Grove and is located about 30 miles north of Houston. Geiszler has aspirations to be coaching baseball at the high school level in the future but is taking a break for now as his focus turns to coach his kids.
While head coach at Cottage Grove, Geiszler led the team to the playoffs on five occasions but that is not what he will most remember about his time with the Lions.
“When you look back you think of highs and lows and wins and losses. Looking back you think of all the kids I got to coach. All the boys I got to coach and think of them then and I could see some now. And just that whole progression and evolution of them growing up and becoming men and having families and getting jobs and all of that,” said Geiszler.
“I think that, to me, is what I will remember the most. More than the on-field stuff is all the off-field stuff and what they became afterwards and their accomplishments. That’s kind of what I see when I look back at it.”
Across both the league and state, Geiszler was lauded by other coaches for what he could do with his teams.
“They’ve got the best coach in the league and he’s been that way for years,” said Junction City head coach Tony Stavros, unprompted, about Geiszler during the season. “For what he does with what he’s had the last couple years is, I mean, I don’t know if people realize that. His kids play hard and they always do the right thing.”
While Geiszler is leaving, he noted that the assistant coaches Jared Hutchins, Rod Gardner and James Berry are going to stay involved in the program. But now they will be waiting for a head coach.
“The coaching staff is going to look similar, it is just getting someone in here who, hopefully can do a better job, to be honest,” said Geiszler. “I mean, that’s the goal. By all means, I would love somebody to come in here and be better than I was.”
Geiszler will coach the summer baseball season that ends in June before leaving for Texas.