Journal Archive > 2002 > April

John Casey

John Casey, right, in the dugout during a Jumbos baseball game.

Baseball coach named assistant athletics director

John Casey, A80, G83, head coach of the Jumbo baseball team since 1984, has been appointed an assistant director of athletics.

"I waited a couple of years to see what kind of help I needed," said Bill Gehling, director of athletics since 1999. "But I also wanted to see who in the department emerged. I felt that John clearly emerged as someone with character."

Casey, who has been the department's travel coordinator for several years, will continue as baseball coach while becoming more involved in the daily operations of the intercollegiate sports program, including budgeting and scheduling. Branwen Smith-King, the former head coach of women's cross-country and track and field at Tufts, is an assistant athletics director in charge of physical education, intramurals and health and fitness.

"I think sometimes things just evolve," Casey told the Tufts Daily. "For a while I have been doing some administrative duties, but we are still figuring out the role. Whatever Bill [Gehling] wants me to do, I'm going to do."

As a Tufts undergraduate, Casey compiled a career record of 8-3 with four saves and a 3.23 earned run average as a pitcher. The team played in two consecutive ECAC Division II-III tournaments during his undergraduate career. He was also a tight end on the 1979 undefeated football team and scored eight touchdowns in his career.

The Tufts baseball team under Casey is one of the most competitive teams in New England. He is the program's all-time leader in coaching victories through 18 seasons. He posted his 300th win on March 30 with a 7-2 victory over Bates. Last year, Tufts won the inaugural New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) East Division pennant, then lost to Williams in the conference championship game.

In the 1990s Casey helped groom All-American pitcher Jeff Taglienti, who was drafted in the seventh round by the Red Sox in 1997 and is looking for his first shot in the majors this year as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. "My absolute first responsibility is to the kids on the team," Casey said. "In the spring, that is my primary responsibility."

Casey was inducted into the Boston Park League Hall of Fame in 1999. He was one of the top players in the 1980s and one of the top umpires in 1990s for the oldest amateur baseball league in the country. He succeeded Lee Sargent as head coach of baseball at Tufts in 1984, when he was 25 years old.

"I was looking for someone who is a self-starter, intelligent, respected in the department, can make a difficult decision and understands the philosophy of what we are about at Tufts," Gehling told the Daily. "Having been here as a student and as a staff member, he understands what we are about."

To Casey, it's about giving Tufts' student-athletes a positive experience. "I'd like every kid here to feel good about Tufts," he said. "I want every athlete to feel that they are cared about, because they are. Winning is secondary."