Casey to be named to Wiregrass Hall of Fame on Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2004

When nine Wiregrass sports figures are inducted into the Wiregrass Hall of Fame Saturday night in Dothan, Troy's Bud Casey will be among them.

Casey is a native son of Dothan but Troy also claims him as one of its own.

Casey said he is excited and honored to be named to the Wiregrass Hall of Fame.

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"Any time you are recognized in such a way, you have to feel a little proud and humbled," he said. "I'm both."

Casey grew up in Dothan and played on the city's first-ever Little League team in 1951.

"We won the state championship in Auburn against Birmingham," he said. "And, something that is unique about being named to the Wiregrass Hall of Fame is that the umpire in that championship game, Sonny Drugoin, is also being inducted."

There will be two other inductees with close ties to Casey, Phillip Creel and Jim Thompson.

Casey and Creel played high school ball together in Dothan and Casey signed Thompson to a scholarship at Auburn University.

Casey said he has fond memories of his hometown and those who played a role in his development.

"I remember when I was about

six years old, I had the opportunity to play football while I was in elementary school because of a man named Rip Hewes," he said. "He was also responsible for the community center where I went every time I had a chance. As young boys, if we weren't in church, we were at the community center playing basketball, ping-pong or swimming. Sports have always been an important part of my life."

Casey was a high school football All-American. He played two years at Alabama for Coach Bear Bryant and played in the Liberty Bowl against Penn State in 1959.

He completed his college career at Northeastern Oklahoma State University in 1966. He was honored by Northeastern Oklahoma in 1999 when he was named to the university's Hall of Fame.

Casey was drafted by the Miami Dolphins as a tight end in 1966 and played for the Lakeland Florida Brahmas.

In 1967, he returned to his alma mater as defensive coordinator. He has a storied college coaching career that took him to Tampa University, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Auburn University where he coached Heismann Trophy winner Bo Jackson and All-American Brent Fullwood. He also coached at Texas Christian University (1994-97) and was the running backs coach on the team that won the SWC Conference title.

In 1998, Casey came to Troy State as director of corporate sales and color analyst for TSU football. In 2000, he was a professional scout for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League.

He is now a consultant for TSU Corporate Sales and co-host on the popular UPN television Bud & Amos Show.

The Wiregrass Hall of Fame is in its 11th year. This year's class will bring the number of inductees to 100. Membership is based on athletic accomplishment, character and citizenship.

"This is a real honor for me and I appreciate even being considered," Casey said. "When you are honored in your hometown, well,

it just makes you feel good."

Casey and his wife, Mary Ann, live in Troy. They have three children, Scott, Starr and Bart.