After a lifetime as a Belleville East Lancer, Brian Geluck last year made the cross-town switch to be an assistant softball coach at Belleville West High School.
Apparently, Geluck likes wearing maroon more than he thought he would.
A longtime assistant baseball coach and current department chairperson of drivers education, health and physical education at Belleville East, Geluck has been named as the new head varsity softball coach at Belleville West.
“It’s different and actually, I’ve been taking a little trouble about it,” Geluck said with a grin. “I’ll have to change the wardrobe up a little bit and wear the maroon a little more often. It’s all right though. I guess it’s good for everyone to expand their horizons a little bit.
“I’m deeply appreciative of this opportunity and really looking forward to this new challenge.”
A 1992 graduate of Belleville East and former pitching coach with the Lancers baseball program under coach Todd Blomberg, Geluck, 43, takes over the Maroons program from Casey Garrett.
Garrett resigned after nine seasons following the 2017 season to become an assistant principal at East. She led the Maroons to a record of 145-144 in her nine years on the job.
Geluck, who has, in the past, coached softball at the junior high level, was an assistant coach with the Belleville West junior-varsity softball team a year ago where he worked with both Garrett longtime West coach Bob Yagge.
“People are always asking me if I miss coaching the boys and the answer is yes,” Geluck said. “I’ve been around baseball forever and it is my first love. But coaching the girls is refreshing. They’re always excited. They’re always willing to listen and to learn. I always knew I would get back into coaching high school. I just didn’t know when.
“When the opportunity came up for (Casey) Garrett to become an assistant principal at East, I was in the right place at the right time.”
After his playing career at East, Geluck went on to Kaskaskia College in Centralia and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He joined the Belleville East coaching staff in 2001 as the head sophomore coach, a position he held for four years. He became the varsity assistant until joining Garrett’s staff at West in 2015.
Under Garrett, West finished 17-14 a year ago and staged two memorable comebacks against O’Fallon and Edwardsville to win a Class 4A regional championship.
“We’re still going to be young, but we have some experienced players coming back who I think know how to win,” Geluck said.
Geluck said his team will play “small ball” when it has to. But he wants his Maroons teams to be able to hit.
“I don’t know if its from me playing and coaching a lot of baseball, but I like to hit,” he said. “We will bunt when we have to bunt. There will always be games when you have to scratch a couple of runs out.
“I’m big on fundamentals. I’m not saying you have to do everything perfect but you have to be able to execute the fundamentals so when something goes wrong, you know how to react.”