MEDFORD – John Casey, one of the most respected and successful baseball coaches in the region during 37 years as head coach at Tufts University, will be inducted into the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Hall of Fame on Friday (May 31).
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 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.
A member of the American Baseball Coaches Association's (ABCA) leadership team for several years, Coach Casey served as President of the ABCA in 2016. 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 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 Coach Casey, advancing to the Regional final.
The Jumbos earned the 750th win of Coach 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. Coach Casey became the 16th active coach and 29th all-time in Divsion III to reach 750 wins. After 37 seasons leading the Jumbo program, he now has a 750-333-5 record (.691 winning percentage).
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. 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. 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 28 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 three 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.