Building a champion

By Oscar Acevedo:

After the hiring of coach Brent Brennan, a breath of fresh air can be felt at practices and players have bought into Brennan as their leader.

But there is only so much a coach can do with the players given to him.

Finding talent for Brennan to mold falls on the shoulders of Kory Geist, the new coordinator of player personnel.

“I grew up playing football,” Geist said. “That was always something that was a huge part of my life.”

The San Francisco State alum doesn’t just see football as fun and games, but as something personal and important in his life.

“My mom was single for a little bit throughout my childhood,” Geist said, “So I always had coaches and sports to lean back on and be a support system for me.”

Geist played safety throughout high school and started coaching while in college at City College of San Francisco.

He moved around, learning and experiencing different positions in coaching football.

While coaching, Geist earned an internship at San Jose State under wide receiver’s coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Malley

“I tried to wear a lot of different hats, that’s kinda what I found.”  Geist said. “The more I could be good at, the more they could rely on me.”

After his internship with SJSU, Geist moved to the Sunshine State at the University of South Florida as a player personnel assistant.

Following a year at USF, he was able to come back home to the Bay Area as coordinator of player personnel at SJSU.

One of the youngest at his position in the country, the 2015 graduate has a chip on his shoulder to prove he deserves to be where he is.

With the Spartans looking to climb back to Mountain West Championship contention, Geist wants to keep every player at their best.

“I think we’re always looking to recruit or replace,” Geist said “You’re always trying to upgrade at every position and that might be with the same guys you have and creating a more competitive environment.”

Only those who can show the dedication and availability the Spartans need will be able to keep their job.

“Maybe missing a week of practice might make you lose your job because some steps up,” Geist said.

If you were to look near Geist’s office, you’d see “play great defense” written on the walls as one of the staff’s keys to success.

The Spartans are known for having some of the best defensive backs in the Mountain West and that won’t change with a former safety at the helm.

“I wouldn’t say I’m more biased of recruiting for the defense,” Geist said. “But if we’re out there in practice and we’re in teams, I’ll usually root for the defense a bit more. That’s just in my nature. When it comes to watching film on guys I always love watching DBs.”

But good defense isn’t the only thing that matters, as a positive mindset also helps build a winning culture— one that the Spartans haven’t felt in years.

Geist wants players who aren’t afraid to stand up to Goliath.

“They need to be able to embrace an underdog role, have a chip on their shoulder,” Geist said  “Never back down.”

He sees no reason why any game on the schedule can’t be a win.

“Have a mentality that to be the best, you need to beat the best,” Geist said. “We’ve got Texas on our schedule, we’ve got Utah on our schedule. Those aren’t games we plan on losing.”

With one of the most exciting recruiting classes for the Spartans in years, hopes are high.

But Geist wants to leave a legacy of developing young men, not just good players.

“What’s most important is what kind of men they become. Community leaders, husbands, father, professionals,” Geist said. “That’s how you measure the success of a signing class. Down the road, not who played as a freshman or who was All-Mountain West.

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