Excitement building for Michael Casey wrestling invite
Excitement seems to be building on the internet wrestling Yappi.com for the upcoming Maumee Bay/Michael Casey Memorial Wrestling Invitational at Clay High School, Jan. 17-18.
Teams participating include Anthony Wayne, Bath, Bowling Green, Brush, Grove City Central Crossing, Clay, Delta, Findlay, Fremont Ross, Grove City, Liberty Center, Lima Shawnee, Lorain, Madison Comprehensive, Massillon Washington, Maumee, Mt. Vernon, Northwood, Parma Normandy, Perry, Perrysburg, Sandusky, Sylvania Southview, Springfield, Tiffin Columbian and Wauseon.
“Perrysburg and Delta will be tough. (They) may not have the depth that Clay has — but will get a number of guys at least to the semis and probably at least a couple each to the finals. (170 pound junior Rocco) Caywood moving over to Perrysburg has helped them a lot for tourneys,” one blogger wrote.
“Of course, Wauseon will be right there contending for the championship. They finished ahead of Clay at Brecksville and right now I would have to consider them to be the favorite,” the blogger continued.
After 34 years of teaching and coaching, the late Mike Casey had surely become a fixture and mentor for the Clay High School student body and administration. He was a social studies teacher and athletic director at the Oregon school.
He was a golf coach for 13 years, assistant wrestling coach for nine, assistant football coach for six years, and athletic director for nine. As golf coach, he brought the Eagles their first Great Lakes League championship in 1976. As football coach, he helped the Eagle gridiron squad gain their last GLL title in 1983.
“I think being A.D. is the best job I ever had. I really enjoyed the freedom. In a way it’s kind of like running a small business. You’re kind of the boss and you have a lot of people working for you. All of the coaches were really good to work for,” Casey told The Press when he retired in the 1990s.
On that GLL golf championship team he coached were Dave Sekinger, who went on to golf at Eastern Michigan, Jeff Keller, currently a lawyer and Oregon Municipal Court judge, and star golfer John Rimer.
Football players while he was athletic director included Jimmy Harrel, who went on to play at Ohio State and started there at wingback for two years, and Phil McDonald, who went on to star at Illinois at center. Casey told The Press that his thrill was to see these two play against each other in Ohio Stadium.
He couldn’t forget Ted Federici, whom he calls a “legendary” football coach. Clay’s home field at Memorial Stadium is named after Federici.
“Federucci had a great relationship with the kids and parents. They were great years and we had great ‘numbers’,” Casey said.
While he was at Clay, a million dollar renovation of the football stadium, originally built nearly 70 years ago, was completed. Another accomplishment he witnessed was the building of a new basketball arena.
He said the football stadium was “a million dollar project that cost the board of education about $300,000. The rest of it was done by the community coming in with equipment, know-how, and skills, donations in money, and donations in kind.”
He said one of the biggest changes he saw, in almost all sports, was prep athletes competing year-round. He wanted to see the OHSAA put stronger limitations on the beginning and end of athletic seasons for high school athletes.
“A coach has got to find time to spend with his family,” Casey said. “He’s got open gyms, summer camps, ten days for a basketball coach, for instance, to practice in the summer. It’s a year round thing. That’s too much to ask for someone making a small amount of money. They’ll work forever because they love it. But if they’re not coaching year round I think we’d have more people staying in coaching. And it would be better for the kids,” he says.
The decision to quit came after the board provided incentives. He had bought a house at the Eagle’s Landing Development about the time he retired, which was ironic because at the time the Clay golfers were holding their home matches there, right in his backyard.
Gibsonburg will host the postponed junior varsity and varsity girls’ basketball team from Ottawa Hills on Jan. 27 with JV tip off at 6 p.m. The JV/V boys’ basketball game with Old Fort at Gibsonburg will be played on Jan. 21 with JV starts at 6 p.m.
The Oak Harbor JV/V girls’ basketball games at home vs. Danbury have been moved to Jan. 28 at Oak Harbor with the JV game starting at 6 pm. The 9th/JV/V boys basketball games at home vs. Tiffin Columbian have been moved to Jan. 21 at Oak Harbor with the freshman game starting at 4:30 pm. Oak Harbor’s wrestling match at Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.