SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Millers football team will have a new head coach next season. Former Marist Catholic coach Frank Geske will take over the program after Miles Haley and the school had a “parting of ways.”
“I’m pumped, Frank’s a great coach and they’re gonna be dialed in, for sure,” Haley said. “A lot of good players are coming back. Being a guy who has been around Springfield for a long time, there haven’t been a lot of years where there’s optimism in that football program, especially year in, year out, and I think it’s gotten to that point now. I’m pumped to have been a part of that, so I’m pretty at peace with everything.”
Haley, a Springfield High alum, was head coach for four years and finished with an 11-24 record, but took the team to the playoffs last season, its first postseason since 2015. Haley’s plan was to continue coaching, but a busy offseason changed his outlook.
Haley had a newborn daughter during the winter, then this spring his best friend and assistant coach, AJ Robinson, took a job at Sprague in Salem. Haley also coached his stepson’s first-grade basketball team this winter and said it was some of the most fun he’s had coaching. The combination of factors made Haley reevaluate.
“The four years I was there, it was super positive. I’ll probably coach again because I’ll get the itch. But now my focus is just coaching my kids and being around my family,” he said. “I’m just ready to kind of move on to different stages in life.”
Geske was let go by Marist in late March after 15 years leading its program, compiling a 120-46 record and winning the 4A title in 2009.
“I was all-of-the-sudden unemployed, so I had a great urge to be employed again. I didn’t care who it would’ve been,” Geske said in an interview with OSAA.
Haley’s first two years of coaching were as an assistant for Geske at Marist, so the two had a previous relationship. When Geske started looking for an assistant coaching job, Haley reached out to him, and when Haley left the job he recommended that the school hire Geske.
“My conversations with the kids is that they’ve got a great new coach. Frank’s an awesome dude, I have nothing but good stuff to say about him,” Haley said. “It’s going into a big year, there’ll be more expectations for Springfield football then there’s been since 2015.”
Coaching at Marist, Geske was familiar with the Springfield program. Geske said he was impressed by what he saw from Springfield last year, when Marist Catholic defeated Springfield 41-20 in a non-league game.
“They gave us a good game. They do have some guys,” Geske said. “It’s a good situation. They needed a new guy, and I said yes.”
Geske is No. 15 on the state’s all-time wins list with a career record of 249-124 and has been a head coach for 35 seasons: Franklin (1985-95), Tigard (1996-2004) and Marist Catholic (2008-22), winning state titles at Tigard (2003) and Marist Catholic. He also assisted at Portland State for three seasons (2005-07). Geske said he plans to expand on what Haley has built at Springfield.
“I’m not hung up on talent or anything like that,” he said. “If you’re not switching up coordinators every other year, and everything’s the same for the guys, they get really good at it, and they start playing above their heads. That’s what I’m looking for.”
Geske left Franklin, Tigard and Marist as the winningest coach in each program’s history, and said he wouldn’t mind that happening at Springfield as well.
“I don’t know their coaching history, but I wouldn’t mind being that guy,” he said. “I plan on being there for a while.”
For Haley, he says he’ll still be at some games next season, and that he’ll always support the program.
“I’m a Miller for life, that’s where I went and I’ll always have lots of love for the school and program and I’m excited for their next phase,” he said. “I’m really at peace, and I’m really excited for Frank. Springfield football is gonna be in a good place for a long time now.”