Photo: Andrew McMurtrie. St. Pius girls soccer coach Sara Geiger is a 2003 Parkview graduate. In her four years at the private school, she has led the Lions to the state final four times and has won the last three state championships.
Sara Geiger is no stranger to success.
The Parkview grad scored the game-tying goal in the soccer state finals her senior year of high school that gave the Panthers a co-championship with Brookwood. She continued her success at the college level, playing in the NCAA tournament.
But Geiger's recent string of accomplishments is even a little surprising to her.
In her four years as the head girls soccer coach at St. Pius, her teams have played in four state championship games, winning the last three Class AAA state titles. At age 25, the 2003 Parkview grad has accomplished more than some coaches do in an entire career.
"I think anyone you talk to will tell you I hate losing, whether it's tennis, cards or soccer," Geiger said. "It's always been I want to be the best I can be."
In her four seasons, Geiger's teams have accumulated a 78-8-2 record, including 19-1 in the playoffs. Her 2009 team was NSCAA national champion.
"I guess I feel privileged," Geiger said. "I feel honored to get this job. I love competition. If I'm not winning, I'm not doing my job in my mind."
Geiger's first taste of success came as a senior at Parkview. She scored the equalizer in the final seconds of the state finals as fans were leaving the stadium against Brookwood.
"I tell my players that story all the time," Geiger said. "They always say how many times they've heard it."
Geiger was the Daily Post's Player of the Year and signed with Samford, earning all-conference honors while leading the Birmingham, Ala., school to four conference titles and to the NCAA Division I tournament.
Geiger majored in mathematics with aspirations to pursue education, but didn't have a job lined up until she went to a Christmas party. St. Pius principal Steve Spellman overheard a conversation about her desire to be a teacher and asked her if she wanted an interview. The next thing Geiger knew she had a teaching job and was the head soccer coach at St. Pius.
Geiger had to hire assistant coaches, build a schedule and still maintain the previous success of St. Pius, which won three state crowns prior to her arrival.
Her first team went to the state finals, losing on penalty kicks. The following year the Lions went 22-0 to claim their first state title since 2002.
"I didn't think I would be so successful so quickly," Geiger said. "When I won one, I was like 'Oh gosh, I could win another one.'"
The titles continued for St. Pius the next two seasons, despite losing six games during the regular season. Most of the losses were to teams in higher classifications.
"We're St. Pius X, so we have an X on our back," Geiger said. "Everyone wants to beat us. When they do it's like they won the state championship. It makes it tough, but I love competition."
Geiger has quickly built quite a collection of state championship rings, which she keeps in her office at school. The team wanted to put 'Three-peat' on this year's rings, but that trademark is protected. Of course, four-peat is available.
That's the next challenge for Geiger, who has made winning championships a habit.
"Every year I feel like there's more and more pressure," Geiger said. "Now that I've done it the last three years, I feel like there's pressure every year and be back at that level."
With her quick rise to success, Geiger gets asked if she will leave to coach at the college level or take on another challenge at a different school. Right now she's just happy winning championships.
"I don't know where I'm headed. I'm at a good place. I love the school, I love the kids," Geiger said. "We're a AAA school, but we compete with everyone. I don't see any job better than where I am."