MEDFORD – John Casey, one of the most respected and successful baseball coaches in the region during 36 years as head coach at Tufts University, will be inducted into New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Hall of Fame this spring.
Coach Casey is part of the third class of NEIBA inductees. He will be honored along with colleagues Ed Flaherty from the University of Southern Maine and Bruce Wheeler from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The ceremony will take place at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford on May 31, prior to the NEIBA All Star game.
"I'm humbled by this recognition, particularly to go in with two guys I respect so much and have competed against and worked with in baseball for many years," Casey said. "The NEIBA is great group of guys who have done so much for baseball in this area, and we've had a lot of fun doing it."
Coach Casey has served the NEIBA for many years in a leadership capacity, including as a member of the Executive Board Committee and in his current role with the All-Star Game committee. In 2000, the NEIBA presented him with the Jack Butterfield Award, its most prestigious honor, given to an active coach who exhibits the integrity and dedication to the game of college baseball that Coach Butterfield demonstrated throughout his career. Coach Casey received the Andy Baylock Distinguished Service Award from the NEIBA in 2005, recognizing his significant contributions to the betterment of New England college baseball.
Coach Casey served as President of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) in 2016. A member of the ABCA's leadership team for several years, he ascended to the Presidency after serving as a Vice President for four years. He is a member of the ABCA Board of Directors.
On the field, Coach Casey's Jumbos have been one of the best teams in New England throughout his tenure. In 2017, he guided the team to its second straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship and fifth overall. The Jumbos finished 30-10-1 and made their seventh NCAA appearance under Coach Casey.
The Jumbos earned the 700th win of Coach Casey's career with an 8-4 victory over Castleton University in the 2018 season-opener last March. Casey became the 17th active Division III coach and 35th all-time to reach the 700 wins milestone. He is one of two active New England coaches to have that many and is the sixth all-time in New England Division III to reach the mark. Soon to begin his 36th season leading the Jumbo program, he now has a 719-322-5 record (.690).
NESCAC's Coach of the Year three times, Casey's teams have featured five players who signed professionally and several All-Americans. Randy Newsom, a 2004 Tufts graduate, signed with the Boston Red Sox. He was traded to Cleveland as part of a deal for Coco Crisp, and he advanced to the Indians' Triple A affiliate in Buffalo. Pitcher Jeff Taglienti and outfielder Dan Callahan are also Jumbos coached by Casey who were drafted by Major League organizations.
Tufts players have also been recognized for their academic achievement and commitment to community service during Casey's tenure. Speros Varinos, a 2017 graduate, as well as catcher Bryan Egan, a 2015 graduate, and shortstop Scott Staniewicz, a 2013 graduate, were all named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America® Division III Teams. The Jumbos hold an annual 100-inning charity game supporting Homes for Our Troops among its many community service activities. Last year, Cooper Martin, a courageous seven-year old boy who has a brain tumor was drafted by the Tufts baseball through Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization which works to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses by pairing them with collegiate athletic teams.
"The only reason I am receiving this Hall of Fame award is because of the great ballplayers and more importantly people that I have had the privilege to coach here at Tufts," Casey said.
A Jamaica Plain native, in November 1999, Coach Casey was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Boston Park League, the oldest amateur baseball league in the country. As an undergraduate, he helped pitch the Jumbos to consecutive ECAC Division II-III Tournament appearances. Also a tight end on 1979's undefeated football team, he returned to Tufts a year later as a baseball and football assistant. He replaced Lee Sargent as head baseball coach in 1984. The program has recorded 27 winning seasons during his tenure.
Several former players and assistant coaches under Casey are now successful coaches at the college or high school level. Paul Svagdis, a 1993 graduate, guided Azusa Pacific University to two straight NAIA College World Series berths recently. Jamie Pinzino, a 1997 Tufts graduate, is the pitching coach at Army. Former assistant coach Jason Tower is now the head coach at Roger Williams.
Coach Casey and his wife Diane live in Milford. They have four sons - Brian, Kevin, Brendan and Chris. All have followed in their father's footsteps as Brian is an assistant baseball coach at William & Mary, Kevin is the head coach at Johnson & Wales, Brendan works under his dad at Tufts and Chris works with the Northeast Longhorns AAU team.