Chris Geeze spent 24 years in the Air Force medical service. He spent 18 of them playing volleyball with them.
Now he’s on the sidelines as the new varsity volleyball coach at Summerville High School.
It’s a job he calls confirmation his family’s decision to move here four years ago was the right one.
“That tells me that God had a reason for me to come here,” said Geeze. “I’m thrilled.”
Geeze is from Texas, his wife Rachel is from California. They decided to move to the area to be closer to family.
Coaching isn’t new to Geeze, though.
In addition to decades as a player, he coached Junior Olympics in Texas. Spent years as an official.
And last year, he coached the newly created girls volleyball team at Gold Rush Charter.
That was a particular challenge, said Geeze.
Some of them had never played before which meant starting with the basics.
So he turned to Jennifer Osterhout for some help. Osterhout was the varsity girls volleyball coach until this year. She has since moved on to an administrative position at Summerville.
“She gave me a lot of advice on how to teach them,” said Geeze.
His conversations with Osterhout would turn out to be a serendipitous connection.
On a Friday Geeze was perusing the newspaper and saw an advertisement for a head coaching position at Summerville. The position would be closed to new applicants the following Monday.
Geeze scrambled to gather the needed documents to apply.
He figured he had just as good a chance at the job as anyone else.
Now, weeks into the new job, Geeze calls it all quite the blessing.
“The credit really goes to Jen and Amy Peterson,” he said. “They’ve been so well prepared.”
Geeze says his approach isn’t too different from previous Bears coaches.
“I’m not changing the system.” he said
He is making some tweaks. Like how he expects the offense to run plays.
“It’s difficult to run plays because they haven’t done it before,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
But when the plays are working and the passes are perfect, the Bears are able to keep their opponent off balance and confused.
When the team sees the success the new offense can bring, they buy into the mindset, said Geeze. And that’s when it starts to get exciting for players and coach.
“I can see it on their faces,” said Geeze.
You can also see it in their Mother Lode League record of 3-0.
Last week they beat an always tough Bret Harte team 3-1 and continued to impress Geeze with their commitment.
“They don’t give up and they don’t get mad,” he said. “This is a special group of kids, which is a reflection of the parents.”
They picked up their third league win against Amador in five, 20-25, 25-14, 25-16, 18-25 and 15-13.
Helping the Bears to the grinding win was Szi Szi Hites, said Geeze. She was able to control the middle both blocking and attacking.
“Maddie Mitchell also had an excellent offensive night, producing some timely kills at critical points in the sets,” said Geeze.
Getting it all started was Serafina Peterson with some powerful attacks.
She pounded the ball throughout the match, said Geeze
As the season progresses Geeze said the tam will rely on its leader senior captain Macey Mitchell.
“She has that ‘it’ factor. She is the heart and soul of the team,” said Geeze.
Next for the Bears is a road game against Calaveras. The game is tonight and starts 6 p.m.
For Bears fans, Geeze has a message about this year:
“If they come and watch us they will see an awesome, hardworking and dedicated team.”