As most Florida State fans now, Casey is now the head coach at local North Florida Christian High School. For Casey it was kind-of a natural fit for him to take over the program after their previous coach had left after a one year stint. When asked how it came about that he got the job Casey says, "I graduated from there. When their coach left, I was approached and asked if I wanted to take over the job a head coach. I jumped on the opportunity and took it. Now I am going into my second season. I am really enjoying this."
North Florida Christian has had a reputation of standout kids that have gone on to play at FSU, from Ernie and Marcus Sims, to Ochuko Jeniji and Casey himself. This year NFC has two players that Weldon is coaching that may further that tradition in Melvin Ray and Cody Ledford. When asked about the opportunity to coach these top players, Casey gushed, "Both are great players. Melvin came over from Chile and has done a great job for us. He is committed to Alabama right now, but I know FSU has offered and they are still trying to get him to switch. Ledford was the MVP of our defense last year as a sophomore, which says a lot about him as a player. Cody is just looking to continue getting better. Sky is the limit for that kid."
Even though Casey lived close to Tallahassee and went to a school that was predominantly FSU fans, he grew up a big fan of the Georgia Bulldogs. "I was offered by both Bobby Bowden and Vince Dooley. I was a big fan of the Bulldogs. Both Bobby Bowden and Brad Scott were recruiting me from FSU. When I got that offer from Coach Bowden, though, that pretty much ended it for me. The person Coach was and the playing style sold FSU to me," Casey said.
Throughout these ‘Where Are They Now" segments the sentiment about Bobby Bowden has been the same. He is considered a legend and a guy who was a fatherly figure to many of his players, and just a genuine good guy to play for. When asked about his time playing for Bowden, Casey mentions, "He is why I came to FSU. You never really knew the calls he was going to make. Starting in 1987 when I got there, I had a lot of fun playing for the guy. My father and I were real close, so he wasn't that fatherly figure he was to me like others. The best way to explain him to me was a role model. Coach was my role model."
Casey had a lot of success playing for the Noles. His best year was probably 1991, as he was a Heisman front-runner, 1st team All-American and won several awards. "We were the preseason #1 team going into that year. We had a great team, and we had a great chance to get it done that year. We had some injury issues going into that Miami game and weren't able to get it done. That was a very tough game with the kick and all. As far as the Heisman is concerned, it was a great honor. O.J. Simpson was in New York then, saying how when you win that, your name will always lead with ‘Heisman Trophy winner'. It was a pretty special time. I think if we would have kept winning and played better, that I would have had a better shot at winning the thing," states Casey.
The "kick" that Casey mentions is Wide Right I, the first in a long line of near-misses that haunted FSU against Miami in the 90's and 2000's. Florida State kicker Gerry Thomas missed a field goal to the right with less than a minute remaining, and the top-ranked Seminoles lost at home in Doak Campbell Stadium to the second-ranked Hurricanes, 17-16. Miami went on to split the national championship with the University of Washington, and Florida State finished the season 11-2, ending it by winning the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M University. Casey says, "It was tough man. That year is when they moved the goalposts in. If it had been the year before, it would have been good. It was devastating to the team. We beat teams like Michigan and Syracuse that year. But we didn't get it done against Miami."
What some fans of the Noles don't know is that Casey went through the same thing current Noles Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee are going through, that being a quarterback debate. Casey played with the Super Bowl winning Brad Johnson at FSU, and they had an intense battle like the one we see now. Like Drew and Xavier, both Brad and Casey we friends throughout. "It's tough to go through. Both need to keep fighting, play hard and see what happens Brad and I were the best of friends at the time, and it wasn't as big of a deal that people made it out to be. We both went on to have individual success," stated Casey.
After a fantastic career at FSU, Casey went on to play several years in the NFL. Even though his experience didn't mirror his success at FSU, he still enjoyed the time he had in the pros. He says, "It was quite the ride. I played 8 years and never really started. It was fun while it lasted. I was with the Bucs for 4 years and with Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington for 1 each. I enjoyed them all, but I really liked my time with the Bucs Chargers and Redskins. Tampa was a nice city and I had family in D.C. Also I got to play again with Brad in Washington as I was his back-up the year he went to the Pro Bowl. It was a pleasurable experience for me."
As a former quarterback and FSU legend, Casey often is asked his opinion of the play of the current signal callers for the Noles. "I really haven't had a chance to see what is going on. I go to the games and all, but I don't know the scheme they run and what it calls for. It would be unfair for me to talk about that because of that fact. I am a big Drew Weatherford fan. He is a great guy and a hard worker. He will do what it takes to win. He is a tough kid. Xavier I have really only spoken to in passing," says Casey.
Many former players and fans are excited with the new coaching staff the program has in place. After 6 years of struggling, the changes were expected and needed. Casey is one of those players who think it was a good thing for the program. "I think they're great. Trickett is great and Fisher knows how to get it done. I think he will when he gets his players in there. Dexter Carter was an awesome player and I threw a lot of touchdowns to Lawrence Dawsey. I also played with Odell Haggins. These guys love the sport and love the school. They are good for the program. I have to mention that this is going to be a rough year I think. With the way they are recruiting they should be able to turn it around. There is a lack of playmakers right now and no real threats, plus they are learning a new offense. I do feel they'll get their and I like their chances in the future."
Stay tuned to NoleDigest, the original home of "Where are They Now", for further updates with former Nole players.