Grew up in Apple Valley, MN playing for EVAA and Eastview Thunder in the summer. Played up through junior year on JV at EVHS before being informed he would not play much as a senior on varsity. At that point, he decided to not go out for the team in the spring and instead play another summer under one of the most impactful coaches he had come across on the Thunder Senior Babe team and hang his cleats up at the end of the summer of 2008. After a strong summer, some coaches advised that he could pursue baseball in college despite never being recruited or talking to a single college coach. The thought of continuing to play was enough to withdraw from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology and enroll at Saint Mary’s University where he was given the fall to earn a spot on the team as a walk-on.
He was fortunate enough to be around some people that cared about their teammates and wanted to see everyone progress which created a strong environment for development. His first year he was not on the travel roster until the birth of a brother kept a teammate of his off for a trip to Carleton College and he was asked to take his place. Before the trip, he had logged only 2ip on the season and his role on the team did not look favorably for logging many more. After a short start, he took the ball in relief in Northfield and threw 3.1 shutout innings to keep the team in the game. With that performance he was able to earn some opportunities throughout the remainder of the season to ultimately throw 12.1 innings with a 2.84 ERA. The ability to be prepared for his opportunity and succeed through it opened the door and lit the fire to continue to push forward to find peak of his performance capabilities. It was at this time that the quest for knowledge began and it was common to spend more time researching how to improve physical performance specific to baseball than was spent on schoolwork. The knowledge acquired provided an opportunity to log 38.1 innings and lead the team in ERA as a sophomore acting primarily as the team’s multiple inning closer. He led the team in appearances and appeared in 7 of the team’s 20 MIAC games, due in large part to the knowledge he gained in how to properly recover between outings.
After two years at Saint Mary’s, he decided it was in his best interest academically and athletically to transfer to Augustana University (formerly Augustana College), In Sioux Falls, SD, again as a walk-on that would begin, again, with a limited role. Upon transferring, he was informed he would be a bullpen arm and depending on how much improvement he made he had the opportunity to earn more innings and a more significant role. Unlike SMU, the start to his Augustana career was quite humbling and made him second guess whether he could compete at that level. The fall of his junior year he struggled to get outs in the scrimmages and the first outings of the spring were no different, surrendering 7 runs in 3.2 innings. It was at that point that a pitcher can either allow himself to be delegated to mop up innings that save the successful arms for bigger games, or refuse to fail so consistently and transform into one of those pitchers who is trusted in big situations. Over the next 26.1 innings of the season he allowed only 7 earned runs, including his first collegiate start going 6 shutout innings against the University of Minnesota Duluth garnering NSIC pitcher of the week honors. On the season he tallied 30ip and issued only 3 walks, but allowed hitters to bat .296. Moving into his senior year there was one goal in mind, to be in the rotation. With some transfers coming into the program it was certainly not going to be an easily attainable goal, and ultimately in the spring he was relegated to a bullpen role initially. After some struggles by others a starting role became available, and after an unfortunate injury, another spot in the rotation opened up. He decided to fill both. Being this seemingly his last year of meaningful and competitive baseball, he utilized his recovery knowledge to log a program record 82.2 innings over the spring while starting more games than any of his teammates and compiling a 2.07 ERA.
After his time pitching at Augustana he stayed on for 1 season to serve as the team’s pitching coach in 2012-2013. That summer, he was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pitch professionally for the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League of Independent Baseball. The Pecos League is notoriously known to harbor players that are obsessed with baseball as that is the only reason that they would play in the conditions they were asked to play in. Returning home from Roswell, NM sparked the move back to the Twin Cities of MN and opened the opportunity to become the pitching coach at Macalester College where he began in the fall of 2013 and remains to this day.
Ultimately the numbers and accomplishments will fade into memory, but what lasts is the work ethic and quest for knowledge to maximize physical performance. Often times the resume of a coach is the only thing that is looked at to determine whether or not he knows what he is teaching, but the journey is much more important.
- Freshman year fall of 2008 – 141lbs throwing 75-76mph
- Freshman year spring 2009 – 150lbs throwing 80-81mph
- Sophomore year – 155lbs throwing 82-83mph
- Junior year – 170lbs throwing 84-85mph
- Senior year – 185lbs throwing 88mph
Learning from someone who has gone through the same struggles and has found the solutions to the problems in front of them rather than someone who may have been physically more talented than others and not had to endure the process of getting themselves better. Casey brings a very unique perspective as a player who was cast off as being no good to building himself a very successful career and learning how to do it along the way. He prides himself in seeing what players do well as much as what they don’t do well so that while we attack the weaknesses of a player, we can also enhance their strengths and find better ways to use them.