Blaine football coach Ben Geisler was sporting a wide, if somewhat bemused, grin following the Bengals’ 56-20 dismantling of Cretin-Derham Hall Friday.

He knows he’s been pretty fortunate so far.

It wasn’t until the end of June that Geisler was named head coach, replacing Tom Develice, who resigned to become Athletic and Activities Director at Coon Rapids. That didn’t give Geisler, a 1995 Blaine graduate, much time to get situated in his new job.

“It was weird. I got hired so late,” he said. “I didn’t come in until July and then it’s one month and we’re starting football.”

Just getting to know the coaching staff took an entire week.

“I was really thankful for the dead week,” he said, referring to the week in July when the MSHSL mandates no contact between coaches and players. “We have 24 assistant coaches. It took a week just to meet with the coaches.”

It’s those coaches to whom Giesler gives the credit for the Bengals 4-0 start.

“The staff here is fantastic,” he said. “Truth be told, I don’t have to do a thing. I just get out of the way.”

That affords Geisler the chance to do what he does best: Get to know the players.

“Coaching is all about relationships,” he said. “It was hard to come in July and not have those. My gosh, that’s why I coach. For me, it’s less about X’s and O’s and wins and losses. I just love building relationships with kids.”

After nine years at Irondale, Geisler spent three seasons as an assistant at Spring Lake Park before being hired at Blaine. From the outset, he knew coming back to coach at his alma mater was the right decision.

“I walked into a really good situation, with really good kids and a community that loves football,” he said. “I felt that growing up. It was like ‘Gosh, football is a big deal.’ I’ve got the sense that it’s still a big deal and it’s fun to step back into that.”

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