Longtime Tufts Baseball Coach Honored

John Casey, who won his 750th game this spring, is selected as American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee

John Casey on the baseball field. He was recently selected as an American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee

John Casey, A80, one of the most respected and successful college baseball coaches in the nation during thirty-seven years as head coach at Tufts University, is one of six individuals who will be inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame.

The 2020 ABCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during the seventy-sixth annual ABCA convention on January 3, 2020 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. The ABCA Hall of Fame Class of 2020 also includes Tim Corbin (Vanderbilt University), Wayne King, Jr. (Joliet Junior College), Mike Kinnison (Delta State University), Mike Metheny (Southeastern Oklahoma State University) and Dennis Rogers (Riverside City College).

“To be selected to the ABCA Hall of Fame is an extraordinary honor,” Casey said. “I also want to thank Tufts for all the support throughout the years. It is a spectacular place to work with the absolute best student-athletes and coaches.”

A member of the ABCA leadership team for several years, Casey served as president of the group in 2016, after serving as a vice president for four years. He is a member of the ABCA board of directors.

On the field, Casey’s Jumbos have been one of the best teams in New England throughout his tenure. In 2019, he guided the team to its sixth New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. The Jumbos finished 31-11, and made their eighth NCAA appearance under Casey, advancing to the regional final.

The Jumbos earned the 750th win of Casey’s career with their final victory of the season this spring, 7-4 against Penn State Harrisburg on May 18, which advanced Tufts to the NCAA regional final. Casey became the sixteenth active coach and twenty-ninth all-time in Division III to reach 750 wins. After thirty-seven seasons leading the Jumbo program, he now has a 750-333-5 record (.691 winning percentage).

Casey, NESCAC’s Coach of the Year three times, saw five players of his players sign professionally; several became NCAA Division III All-Americans. Randy Newsom, A04, 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, A97, and outfielder Dan Callahan, A02, are also Jumbos coached by Casey who were drafted by Major League organizations. R.J. Hall, a senior pitcher on the 2019 team, was recently named a D3baseball.com All-American.

Tufts players have also been recognized for their academic achievement and commitment to community service during Casey’s tenure. Will Shackelford was one of twelve members of the Tufts Class of 2019 to earn a Tufts University Alumni Association Senior Award, recognizing academic achievement, leadership, and participation in campus and community activities. Speros Varinos, A17, catcher Bryan Egan, E15, and shortstop Scott Staniewicz, E13, were all named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America® Division III Teams.

In May, Casey was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA), for which he has served many years in a leadership capacity. 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 Butterfield demonstrated throughout his career. 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.

A Jamaica Plain native, in November 1999 Casey was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Boston Park League, the oldest amateur baseball league in the country. As an undergraduate at Tufts, 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 twenty-eight 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, A93, AG96, guided Azusa Pacific University to three NAIA College World Series berths recently. Jamie Pinzino, A97, AG04, is the pitching coach at Army. Former assistant coach Jason Tower is now the head coach at Roger Williams.

Casey and his wife Diane have four sons: Brian, Kevin, Brendan, and Chris. All have followed in their father’s footsteps—Brian is an assistant baseball coach at William & Mary, Kevin is the head coach at Johnson & Wales, Brendan is assistant coach at Tufts, and Chris works with the Northeast Longhorns AAU team.

Athletics Communications Director Paul Sweeney can be reached at paul.sweeney@tufts.edu.

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