MEDFORD - On September 5, Gillette Stadium - home of the New England Patriots - was the site for the 3rd Annual Tufts Football Kickoff Event. During the festivities, the Jumbo football program and the Friends of Tufts Football presented the inaugural John Baronian Distinguished Jumbo Football Award to John Casey, Tufts' assistant athletics director and head baseball coach. He is also a former Jumbo football player and assistant coach.
John Baronian Distinguished Jumbo Football Award recipient John Casey
The event was sponsored by the Friends of Tufts Football and was held in the Optum Field Lounge at Gillette Stadium. Team alumni and their families joined with current players, coaches and Tufts Athletics staff. Andy Hart, a 2001 Tufts graduate and the assistant editor of Patriots Football Weekly (PFW)/Patriots.com, was the master of ceremonies as Tufts celebrated the start of a new season. Hart was a linebacker for the Jumbos in the late 1990s.
The John Baronian Distinguished Jumbo Football Award recognizes a person of high character, who has shown ardent interest in and passion for the game of football and Tufts University, and demonstrated invaluable leadership traits and qualities while contributing to the betterment of Tufts Football, Jumbo football student-athletes, and the greater Tufts University community.
Casey arrived at Tufts as a student in 1976 and was a leading member of the football and baseball teams before graduating in 1980. As a senior tight end on the Jumbos' 1979 undefeated football team, his 19 receptions, 298 yards and four touchdowns were tops among the team's receivers. He also led the 1978 Jumbos in receiving and finished his career with 55 receptions and eight touchdowns. A pitcher on the Jumbo baseball team from 1977-80, he served as an assistant football and baseball coach during the 1980-81 and 1982-83 school years.
Hired as head baseball coach at Tufts in 1983, Casey is in his 35th year working full-time for Tufts Athletics. He is one of the most respected leaders in collegiate baseball, serving a term as President of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) in 2016. He is also a member of the ABCA Board of Directors. On the field, Coach Casey's Jumbos have amassed 699 victories during his tenure. With one win next season, Casey will become just the 35th coach in NCAA Division III baseball history to earn 700 wins, and just the sixth in New England. The Jumbo baseball program has received seven NCAA berths and won five New England Small College Athletic Conference titles during Coach Casey's tenure.
In 2002, Casey was named assistant director of athletics at Tufts and in that role helps to manage the daily operations of the department.
Casey was also an assistant football coach for more than 15 years. He served as offensive coordinator under head coach Duane Ford in the 1980s and designed one of the nation's leading rushing attacks. Tufts' "T-Bone" offense averaged 308.8 rushing yards per game during a 7-1 season in 1986 when Tufts was the #1 team in New England. He was also at the helm of the offense in 1988 when the Jumbos set the team record of 2,982 rushing yards in a season (369 yards per game). He later worked on the defensive side of the ball under head coach Bill Samko, including during the Jumbos' 7-1 season in 1998.
"Coach Casey is synonymous with Tufts Athletics," said Tufts football coach Jay Civetti. "As a stand-out student-athlete, coach and administrator, his leadership here stretches out over 40 years. He embodies everything that being a Jumbo is all about - effort, attitude and toughness. Frankly, he helped establish it. No one is more deserving of this award."
A Jumbo Football Lifetime Achievement Award was previously presented at this event. Rocky Carzo, the former football coach and Athletic Director Emeritus, was the first recipient in 2015 and Mark Doughtie, an athletic trainer at Tufts for 36 years, received the honor last season.
The Jumbos open the 2017 season at home versus Hamilton College at Ellis Oval / Zimman Field on Saturday, September 16 at 1 p.m.