Brian Casey, ’03, continues to play professional football in Europe
Professional athletes are born out of Fresno and Clovis area high schools every year. However, in the long history of FC, only two alumni have gone on to the professional level.
“Fresno Christian doesn’t have a huge sports program like a lot of these schools in the vicinity,” Casey said. “The school does well, but compared to these other Division I schools like Clovis North, you don’t get a whole lot of notoriety. I never expected that I would be able to go as far as I have.”
Considering he graduated 12 years ago, many probably did not get the honor of watching Casey play in his high school years. However, Bible teacher and former football coach, Robert Foshee, recalls coaching for Casey on those cold Friday nights.
“Casey was a real athletic kid,” Foshee said. “He played wide reciever and corner for JV, but was brought up to varsity his sophomore year to play corner. He was a strong leader on the team and always made big plays on defense. I’m pretty sure he received All-League three years in a row.”
After graduating high school, Casey, who played at the linebacker position, went on to play his collegiate career with Azusa Pacific University. While attending college there, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and graduated in 2009. He went on and later graduated with his Masters, in Science in Physical Education and Sport Science, in 2012.
“I had wanted to play ball in college, but did not think that I would have the opportunity because I went to such a small high school,” Casey said. “I decided to send out my highlight videos just to see what would happen and Azusa Pacific responded. I did pretty good throughout college, but it was my performance at the Senior All-Star Classic, my senior year, that got my agent’s attention. He contacted me and showed me my options and that is how I got started in Arena Football. After having recieved my Masters degree in college, though, it really made me wish I had put more effort into acedemics in high school.”
His first season at the professional level was with the arena football team based in Odessa, Texas, the West Texas Roughnecks. He played with this team for two seasons until he made the switch over to European football in the 2011-2012 season.
“After I got done with arena, I could have still played with them if I wanted,” Casey said. “I also had some tryouts with Canada and the NFL, but Europe really stuck out to me. I went there and played for the Allgaeu Comets and I have loved it ever since.”
God has played a major role in my life. I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for him. He has been my driver and directed me on the right path. As I said, I never would have thought that I would have taken football to the professional level and, if it weren’t for him guiding me, I never would have made it. I realized at an early age that I just needed to trust in him and let him take control, and he has taken pretty good care of me up until this point. — Brian Casey, ’03
Having gone to a Christian high school and Christian university, Casey has a real love for God, who, he believes, has blessed him with the talents that he possesses. Casey expounded upon how God has influenced his career and life choices.
“God has played a major role in my life,” Casey said. “I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for him. He has been my driver and directed me on the right path. As I said, I never would have thought that I would have taken football to the professional level and, if it weren’t for him guiding me, I never would have made it. I realized at an early age that I just needed to trust in him and let him take control, and he has taken pretty good care of me up until this point.”
After having played football since middle school, Casey has had a great number of highlight moments. He shared what he thinks is his all-time greatest moment on the field.
“In college, we played West Texas which is a huge school,” Casey said. “In that game I had an interception that I returned to the house. It was amazing going from playing high school football for Fresno Christian over at Clark Intermediate School, to getting booed by 50,000 Texas fans for returning a pick-six.”
While football is Casey’s true passion, he does not necessarily plan on playing the game for the rest of his life. In the off seasons he returns to California to coach the game that he loves.
In the past, Casey has coached football at both California Lutheran University in southern California and Clovis North High School. Casey explains how he would like to make coaching into a full time career when he is done playing.
“I actually figured out that I wanted to be a football coach when I was here at Fresno Christian,” Casey said. “I coached the girls’ powderpuff team. I got such a joy out of watching people, especially women, pickup a football and learn how to play through us teaching them. That’s when I really realized that enjoyed coaching and seeing how people learned to do things from me and my skills. I majored in physical education so that when I am done playing, I can become a coach somewhere.”
Throughout his career, Casey has racked up quite a few honors. Just a few of these honors include; two-time Euro Football League Champion in Serbia and Germany, EAC All-Star LB for Team Europe, German Football League South Defensive Player of the Year and many more.
Casey will return to Europe again next season to continue his professional career. His is currently a free agent but this alumnus takes talents to professional level overseas.
Gary “Papa” Schultz, former campus principal, felt it was important to interview Casey and tell his story. Schultz believes that students who read about Casey’s accomplishments can take home valuable lessons about achieving their goals.
“He (Casey) is one these alumni who really has a success story in that he struggled some in high school with academics,” Schultz said. “He had to work very hard and it was really fairly difficult for him. He was so determined, though, that he went on to college and got his B.A. and then his Masters Degree. He has really done some remarkable things with his life considering how hard it was for him. He was a pretty good ball player in high school, but in college he was really good and he is now exceeding in the pros, making all-star teams and whatnot. I thought that was the story we would want to tell for those people who think they can’t, but really can if they are determined and work hard for it.”
Those who wish to contact Casey regarding his football career and/or just to catch up, you can reach him via Twitter and Instagram: @Irishman_22 and @Irishman22. He can also be reached by his email: Flash22@apu.edu.
This writer can be reached via Twitter: @namoodnhoj.
For more features, read the Jan. 29 article, Student Leadership: Begins hosting special days.