New Colton High School boys varsity basketball coach Joe Casey acknowledges the Viking basketball team has had a few down years.
With that, he is asking the players to have a different mindset, to have both self-motivation and team-motivation. He says he wants the players to bring high expectations, good work ethic and team dedication to each practice and every game.
At just 24 years old, Casey is stepping into his first coaching position, bringing a passion and background in both the sport of basketball and coaching.
Casey is the son of former Oregon State baseball coach Pat Casey. He played football, basketball and baseball at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis and was selected as first team in both basketball and baseball. He went on to Oregon State University where he played baseball for his father and earned his degree in public health.
Casey was hired by Colton School District at the end of May and had time for a couple open gyms before the end of the school year, giving him a chance to meet the basketball players. He opened the gym a few more times during the summer months and said the open gym times were well attended.
"The players have a competitive mindset and are super open to new ideas and have shared what has worked in the past years and what hasn't," Casey said. "The guys were told what would be expected at practices and they took that to the floor during open gym playing with the motivation and dedication that will make them better on the court. I am looking forward to the first official practice on Nov. 14."
Along with the coaching position, Colton School District has hired Casey as the elementary school physical education teacher and as an educational assistance in the high school special education department.
CHS Athletic Director Shawn Murray said that Casey was chosen because the school's athletic department was looking for someone who was open-minded about the state of the basketball program and for someone who wanted to be around the community and have a job in the district.
"Joe brings experience having played and been very successful at the (Class) 5A high school level," Murray said. "He also brings experience in terms of playing Division I baseball. He's been around athletics a long time and been a part of very successful programs, so he knows the ins and outs and the little things that go into building and making a program consistent. He's energetic, he isn't afraid of a challenge and has a plan. He's extremely humble and he wants the attention to be on the players and how he can get the best from and for them."
Casey said he is passionate about coaching and is looking forward to sharing with his team what he knows and what he is learning from other coaches.
"I not only get advice from my father, but from my buddies who have gone on to coach in the basketball world. I get input from Greg Adams (retired Colton High School basketball coach). He has taught me a lot and Shawn (Murray) is helping me learn the aspects of high school coaching. Bob Osborn, who is a former women's assistant college coach at Portland State University, assistant men's coach at University of Portland and head high school coach at David Douglas is helping behind the scene with strategy and plays. I believe he has helped other schools over the years is going to help us younger coaches and be a mentor."
Murray said the returning players are really positive about their new coach, even showing up for early morning open gym time. He said it helps to have Casey in the building every day and that he is constantly checking up on the basketball players, making sure they are in class and getting good grades and being a positive influence in the school.
"I've heard and can feel a lot of excitement brewing about the program since Joe has started," Murray said.
Watching his father coach over the years left Casey with a solid coaching background. One of his main takeaways from his dad is to always listen to your guys-and stay even keeled.
Kyle Pollack has been hired as assistant coach and Ben Rodgers, who Casey said is very knowledgeable about the sport, will be a volunteer with the program.
"The team and I are really excited and hopeful for the new season," junior basketball player, Michael Irving said. "We are looking forward to the start of practice."
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