Thursday, June 23, 2011

About Chris Casey, Linfield grad, former Linfield football player, former Linfield asst. football coach

Les Schwab Bowl: Coach Chris Casey, Aloha players savor final go-round
By Jerry Ulmer
Oregonian, June 21, 2011

The season is more than two months away, but the football carousel already is spinning at a dizzying pace for Aloha coach Chris Casey.

Six months after leading the Warriors to their first state championship – completing a storybook turnaround – he presided over spring practices that included nearly 200 players.

He's been busy tracking the eligibility of players, spearheading fundraising efforts and dealing with the logistics of taking about 130 players to Aloha's annual team camp in Gold Beach next week.

If that's not enough, he is coaching the North team in the Les Schwab Bowl high school all-star game this week. The game is 6 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium, and Aloha leaves for team camp at 6 a.m. Sunday.

“It never ends,” said Casey, a father of four. “When people ask me if I recharge, truthfully, the wheels are always turning. The timing of the game isn't perfect, but I think it's important to do.”

The round-the-clock dedication is a big reason why Casey's star has quickly risen in the last two seasons.

Before he arrived at Aloha in 2004, the Warriors had won 17 games in the previous 14 seasons. In 2009, they ended a 22-year playoff absence. Last season, they won their first Metro League title since 1984 and the Class 6A championship.

Casey was a no-brainer pick as Class 6A coach of the year. This year, everyone is waiting to see if Casey and the Warriors – who have adopted the blue-collar image of their community in unincorporated Washington County – can contend for another title.

Casey already is working on the motivation for the Warriors in 2011.

“Everything we do is with a chip on our shoulder,” said Casey, a college assistant for 19 seasons at Linfield (1985-93) and Whitworth (1994-2003) in Spokane before joining Aloha.

“We have to do that at Aloha because even though many things have changed with overall belief and pride, the community and confidence, we still don't have the money and the socio-economic factors that influence the people around us in our league. Everything we do has got to be blue-collar.”

The lunch-pail gospel of Casey has struck a chord at Aloha. Four members of Aloha's senior class are hearing it one more time this week as members of the North team – linebackers Jesse Bresser and John Shaffer, defensive back Caylen Clardy and defensive end Michael Plueard.

They are savoring every moment.

“I'm looking forward to playing, but then again, I don't want it to be my last game with Coach Casey,” said Clardy, who also played quarterback for Aloha. “It's definitely going to be emotional for us. To be able to play one more game, to have him as a coach one more time, I feel privileged.”

Bresser said he is interested to see how Casey's message gets through to his North teammates.

“Coach Casey's message works for me not only in sports, but in life,” Bresser said. “You could almost say he's a father figure to me, outside of my home.

“He's probably the most mild-mannered guy you'll ever see, but he's a fierce competitor. I feel like that's how I am, so that's why I kind of got hooked. He wants to get the best out of every minute he has, and he pushes you to do that.”

Casey has created a monster of sorts at Aloha, which has an enrollment of more than 1,800, 11thhighest in the state, according to figures from 2009-10.

In his first season, he had about 120 players in the program. This season, after everything washes out, he expects to have more than 150. Included in the nearly 200 that turned out for spring football were more than 70 incoming freshmen.

The turnout was so large that Aloha had to order extra equipment.

“We've never seen that many in the Beaverton School District,” said Sunset athletic director Pete Lukich, who helps oversee the athletics budget for the district. “That was huge.”

As they rise to become one of the state's elite programs, it's important to Casey that the Warriors stay true to their identity.

The team did its annual fundraiser, “1,000 yards to Gold Beach,” on June 11. The previous week, they passed out fliers around Aloha, offering to do yardwork for donations. Players and coaches amassed on a Saturday and tackled the jobs, raising $11,000.

“We want them to have to invest and appreciate it,” Casey said. “People love it because we're providing a service, and the kids are having to work, instead of going door to door asking for money.”

Aloha players are the embodiment of Casey's work ethic. This week, Casey is seeing it reflected back to him one more time in his seniors.

“There are so many things we have that have helped us develop an identity, and it's fun to be with those guys and do that stuff again,” Casey said. “I care about our players about as much as anybody in the world, outside of my own family. It really means a lot to me.”



Casey's Aloha Warriors prove they were 'team of destiny'

By Kerry Eggers
Portland Tribune
Dec 11, 2010

CORVALLIS – A few seconds after Chris Casey got drenched with an ice shower from his jubilant Aloha High players, his older brother happened by.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am for him,” Pat Casey said, wearing a wide grin. “He’s done at Aloha what has always done – made people around him better.”

There can be no argument about what Chris Casey has done at Aloha, the exclamation point dotted Saturday with the Warriors’ 34-13 victory over Tualatin for the school’s first Class 6A state championship at Reser Stadium.

A downtrodden program in a blue-collar community overshadowed by its Metro League brethren is on top of the world, a long haul that began seven years ago when Casey took over as head coach.

When Casey began in 2004, the Warriors had gone 1-26 the previous three seasons. They didn’t win immediately, but they have slowly built to this season, when they finished 12-1 and got revenge against Tualatin, the only team to have beaten them.

“It’s great for the community, great for the school, great for all of us in the program,” said tailback Thomas Tyner, a breathtaking 6-1, 200-pound sophomore who carried 26 times for 163 yards and a touchdown.

The Warriors are a close-knit group of players who deflect praise to teammates and adore their coach.

“I don’t know where to start when talking about Coach Casey,” said Tyner, the state 100-meter champion as a freshman who will be the focus of a national recruiting push the next two years. “To sum it up in a word, it would be, ‘Hard worker.’ I guess that’s two words.”

“The hardest worker I’ve met in my life,” said Jesse Bresser, a senior who had the game of his life on the state’s biggest stage. “The only time Coach Casey is away from working for our football team is when he goes home to go to church. Then he
rests up so he can get back here and do it again.”

Casey’s principles were born during his playing days at Linfield under the great Ad Rutschman. His position coach there was Mike Riley, and he later spent nine years working with Jay Locey running the Wildcat defense. Casey loves to win, especially at a place where it hadn’t happened for the longest time.

“We’ve had to overcome so much,” Casey said. “We don’t have a lot of things most of the other schools have. There were a lot of years of losing. I’m so happy that’s over.

“You don’t a chance to get to the state finals very often. We couldn’t let this opportunity slip by. We were a team of destiny.”

Aloha was opportunistic Saturday, taking advantage of four first-half turnovers by Tualatin to seize a 24-0 lead. The Timberwolves made it interesting with a pair of touchdowns to get to within 24-13 late in the third quarter, but the Warriors were not to be denied.

Tyner was Aloha’s meal ticket on Saturday, but there were other heroes for Aloha.

Bresser scored on a 42-yard reception and a 40-yard interception return, one of his two picks. Quarterback Caylen Clardy, a shifty senior listed at 5-11 but probably closer to 5-9, was brilliant running the option and threw just enough to keep the Timberwolves honest.

“Caylen can make things happen,” Casey said. “We talk about having balance on offense; that’s not just running the dive play. He made a lot of good decisions tonight.”

Bresser and linebacker Nicolas Brockhoff – who had a game-high 13 tackles and a sack – led a defense that kept Tualatin’s pistol attack holstered most of the way.
“Our defense carried us again,” Casey said.

As the final seconds ticked away, the large throng of Aloha supporters chanted, “We’re No. 1!” Afterward, the students rushed the field and celebrated with their classmates.

“We wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Bresser said. “They’re our 12th man.”
Throughout the game, and especially in the closing minutes, Warrior players often would point a finger to the sky.

“That’s not for, ‘We’re No. 1,’ " Casey said. “That’s for Alex Vaandering.”

The Warriors dedicated the season to the 11-year-old ballboy, who died in his sleep on Oct. 1.

“He’s been our No. 1 motivation,” Bresser said. “I know Alex is looking down at us right now. I hope he’s real proud.”

Pat Casey was real proud of his brother on Saturday. But Casey – who coached Oregon State to back-to-back national baseball championships – couldn’t resist a dig.

“He needs one more title to catch me, dad gum it,” the younger Casey said. “As soon as he gets a second one, we’ll start talking.”

“I have two – got one at Linfield,” Chris Casey said with a smile. “Pat conveniently forgets about that.”

The Aloha coach will attend his church service as usual Sunday morning. Then he’ll begin working on that second one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

John Schindelar of the famous "Water Crew" of Linfield College Football celebrated his 70th birthday on June 20, 2011, in downtown McMinnville, Ore.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Clarifying story about coaching success of Linfield's Ad Rutschman

Photo of Ad and Joan Rutschman by Wildcatville.

McMinnville N-R letter to editor, 4/23/2011

Enjoyed ‘Mac in time’

As I was not a resident of McMinnville during the 1970s, I have especially enjoyed Karl Klooster’s articles “Mac in time.” I find them enlightening and entertaining; the well-targeted commentary is amusing (e.g., the bridge and the bypass).

I would have added one sentence to Part I. Mr. Klooster reported that Ad Rutschman coached Linfield to a national collegiate baseball championship in 1971. I wish you had added that Rutschman would go on to coach the Wildcats to three national collegiate (NAIA) football championships and is still the only coach in collegiate history, at any level, to win national championships in both football and baseball.

There was even a suggestion in 1986 that McMinnville, named for an early 19th century governor of Tennessee, should be renamed Rutschman for the man who put this wonderful town on the national map.

Dennis Anderson

Notes and anecdotes by Karl Klooster, McMinnville N-R, 6/22/2011

(Edited by Wildcatville to only include Ad Rutschman mention.)

Coaches to monuments to rail buses and rutted roads

As often as not, there's more to a given story than what has been told by the end of the last sentence. Following are much appreciated additional details that have been brought to this writer's attention about several recent stories.

First class coach

"Mac in time - the 1970s, Part One" was the Connections feature of April 2, 2011.
This 10th installment of an 13-part series on the history of McMinnville, included an item from the year 1970 that mentioned iconic Linfield coach Ad Rutschman. It stated:

"After heating up Linfield athletics, baseball coach Roy Helser retires with 14 NWC championships in a 21-year run.

"Replacement Ad Rutschman not only holds the job for the next 13 years, but goes on to serve 24 as head football coach and 25 as athletic director."

McMinnville resident Dennis Anderson felt that, even in such a short overview, Rutschman's singular accomplishments deserved to be recounted in greater detail.

"I wish you had added that Rutschman would go on to coach the Wildcats to THREE NAIA national collegiate football championships and is still the only coach in collegiate history, at any level, to win national championships in both football and baseball," he said.

"There was even a suggestion in 1986 that McMinnville, named for an early 19th century governor of Tennessee, should be renamed 'Rutschman' for the man who put this wonderful town on the national map."

Right you are, Dennis. And to elaborate on the point, he reached the post-season playoffs 13 times, won 15 conference titles and retired from coaching football in 1991 with a career record of 183-48-3 or .788.

Rutschman was honored as the state of Oregon's Slats Gill man of the year five times, more than any other individual. He was named to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.

His admission into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 would have capped anyone's career. But he loves the sport so much he was persuaded to return to the football coaching staff part time in 2001 and has continued with it ever since.

After winning nat'l title, good vibes continue for Wildcat Softball

Wildcatville photo of Alex Hartmann, Linfield Softball player, 2nd base.

See below for a great article about Linfield Softball from the 6/11/2011, McMinnville News-Register. However, Wildcatville protests the article’s headline, “Wildcats settle into afterglow.” PLU Scene for Winter 2003 explains that “afterglow” follows all PLU football games. Afterglow is described as a “gathering in the hundreds including players, coaches, parents and friends where hugs, compliments, love, laughter and tears flow in equal.” Thus, “afterglow” is definitely a PLU word to be avoided in any story solely about Linfield athletics.

By Carl Dubois, McMinnville N-R

More than two weeks have passed since Linfield wrapped up its most successful softball season with its second Division III national championship. The 2011 Wildcats understand they've left behind a standard that might be impossible to match.

Nobody has to tell that to outfielder Jaydee Baxter, who will be a senior on the next Linfield team to take the field.

"It's going to be hard to want to achieve or be satisfied with achieving any less than we did this year," Baxter said.

The ripples from that championship season continue. Emilee Lepp, the junior catcher who broke the Division III record for home runs with 29, is one of 11 finalists nationally for the Honda Division III Athlete of the Year Award.

Baxter, an emotional team leader who may well have set the record for hugs, said the first two weeks of the offseason were marked by reminders of Linfield's accomplishment.

"Life's pretty much back to normal," Baxter said, "but when I see people I haven't seen yet this summer, they talk to me about it and congratulate me.

"It's still pretty awesome. I still feel pretty excited about everything."

Claire Velaski, the senior pitcher who set the Linfield record for victories (25), won't get another shot at a championship. For Velaski and her classmates, this was it. After the Wildcats were national runners-up in 2010, returning players dedicated themselves to getting those seniors back to the championship game for one final try.

"We were happy we were able to do what we set out to do a year ago," Velaski said.

"We know that without the other classes, we wouldn't have been able to do it," she said, speaking for the departing seniors.

During Linfield's remarkable postseason run, during which the Wildcats outscored their opponents 99-9, the seniors from the 2010 team weren't far from the 2011 team's thoughts.

"They were talking to us throughout," Velaski said, "and they were so happy for us and so excited for us. They won a national championship when they were freshmen, and they wanted us to have that experience."

They got it, fighting through the losers bracket to win a series of elimination games before nailing down the championship May 24 in Salem, Va.

"The excitement of winning sunk in pretty quickly," Linfield coach Jackson Vaughan said at a celebration party on campus after the team returned from the championship finals.

"The big picture, what the team accomplished as a whole, winning 51 games and all the rest, that part didn't sink in right away for me. When you have a chance to reflect and go through it and look over the stats, you say 'Wow' because of what they were able to accomplish."

At a May 27 gathering in the Ice Auditorium, city and school administrators rattled off a long list of records and statistical milestones from the 2011 season. The Wildcats kept a small research staff busy checking for necessary updates to the record books.

Lepp's power surge helped Linfield break its own Division III record with 103 home runs in a season. The list of other superlatives is a long one, so much so that each speaker at the on-campus tribute to the Wildcats had plenty of material.

Consistency is one of the feats. Linfield won its eighth consecutive Northwest Conference championship on the way to a second national title in five seasons. The Wildcats have become so dominant, the question arises: Why is Linfield so good in softball?

"Jackson is incredible," Velaski said, crediting the coach. "He puts so much time and effort into making the team the best that it can be. He puts countless hours into scouting and watching film and making us watch our own film and practice - and just everything."

Players said Vaughan recruits players with that kind of work ethic.

"Because there's an aura of hard work," Velaski said, "I'm not surprised that we have success."

Vaughan expanded the circle of credit.

"The support we get in athletics is really good," he said. "I think we've been fortunate to get some really good players. Part of it is picking the right people, and to some extent it's also being a little bit lucky."

For example, even those who expected Lepp to have a good season could not have projected her record-setting power display.

The coach knows this type of success changes things. Linfield's 2007 national championship produced joy, because it was a first for the Wildcats. This time? Yes, the emotions were similar, he said, but there was an extra dimension by virtue of Linfield's No. 1 preseason ranking.

"That put some pressure on us," Vaughan said, "so there was that aspect too, almost like there was some relief when we won it, that we were able to get it done with such expectations on us."

The flight home came with its own punctuation mark that drove home the achievement.

"There were fire trucks that sprayed water over our plane," Baxter said, "and once we got into town we got a police escort to the campus, and everyone was waiting outside of our bus. It was all pretty incredible."

She thought about it some more.

"It's been a ride," Baxter said.

She wasn't talking about the bus or the plane.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Linfielder Jeff Basinski was a Forest Grove High School ‘fixture’

Teacher, coach Jeff Basinski dies at 65

Mayor says former AD was ‘a fixture’ at the local high school

By the Forest Grove News-Times with slight editing by Wildcatville, Jun 1, 2011 and July 3, 2012

Longtime Forest Grove teacher, coach and administrator Jeff Basinski, a 1965 Wilson High School (Portland) and 1968 Linfield grad and former Wildcat football player, died in his sleep in his Vancouver, Wash., home on May 27, 2011, at the age of 65.

He coached basketball and wrestling at Forest Grove High School for many years. He was head coach of the Viking football team from 1980 to 1991, leading league champion teams in 1981 and 1985. Before that he assisted coach Jeff Durham, Linfield grad, and after he left the head coaching job he served on the staffs of coaches Bill Bloomer and Mike McCabe.

He retired as the school’s athletic director in 2005.

Basinski taught social studies and personal finance at FGHS. After retirement, he helped coach at Centennial High School.

He is survived by his wife Connie, also a 1968 Linfield grad, son B.J. and daughter Jamie. His father was Eddie Basinski, who played professional baseball in the Major League and for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League.

“He was a fixture at Forest Grove High School and will be missed,” said Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax.

FGHS activities director Howard Sullivan, who knew Basinski for 30 years, called him a “friend and mentor to us all.”

Services were pending at press time. An obituary will appear in the June 8 issue of the News-Times.

Photo from 2002 NIAAA (National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Assn.) national conference in Orlando, Fla., shows Linfield grad/Forest Grove High’s Jeff Basinski (left) and Ashland High’s Jim Nagel, now Linfield football offensive coordinator/QB coach.


Sports item below as well as obit from June 2, 2011, Oregonian

Memorial service to honor longtime high school football coach Jeff Basinski

A memorial service in honor of Jeff Basinski, a longtime Oregon high school football coach who died in his sleep Friday, is scheduled for June 12 at 1 p.m. at Forest Grove High School.

Basinski, 65, was head coach at Forest Grove from 1980 to 1991, leading the Vikings to records of 11-1 in 1981 and 10-1 in 1985. In his 41 seasons of coaching in the state, he also assisted at St. Helens, Sunset and Centennial, where he spent the last six years.

Basinski was a member of the 1965 Linfield team that played in the NAIA national championship game.
-- Jerry Ulmer


Note: A friend of Wildcatville attended the 1-3 p.m. Sunday June 12, 2011, Jeff Basinski “Celebration of Life” at Forest Grove High Schools’ Ellen Stevens Auditorium. Friend said the auditorium was packedIndeed, another Wildcatville friend, who also attended, said there were more than 400 in attendance and added, "The Big Cat touched a lot of lives."

Forest Grove News-Times, June 8, 2011Obituary: Jeffery BasinskiJeffery “Coach Bass” Basinski died Friday, May 27, 2011 in La Pine. A celebration of life gathering will be held Sunday, June 12, at 1 p.m. at Forest Grove High School.

He was born April 21, 1946 in Portland. He developed a love of sports at a very
young age when he spent time with his father Eddie in the Portland Beaver’s Dugout. He played football at Wilson High School where he graduated in 1964. He continued his football career as a member of the Linfield Wildcat Football Team. While at Linfield, he met his future wife, Connie. They were married in August of 1968 in Beaverton.

He earned his Masters in Education from Linfield in 1970 and began his career in coaching and teaching at St. Helens High School. In the fall of 1972, they moved to Beaverton where he began working at Sunset High School. While at Sunset High School, he was a part of the 1975 State Champion Football Team.

They moved to Forest Grove in the fall of 1976 where he began his 30-year career at Forest Grove High School.

He was honored to be a part of the 1976 State Finalist Football Team during his first year at Forest Grove High School. While at Forest Grove, he coached football, wrestling, basketball, track, and baseball. During his tenure there, he served as head coach in both football and wrestling. He led several teams to the league championship and coached three State Champion Wrestlers.

He was the Vice-Principal and Athletics & Activities Director at Forest Grove High School from 1995 until his retirement in 2005.

He enjoyed his retirement. He spent time traveling with family and friends to Mexico, Florida, Hawaii, and Arizona. He had recently returned from a Panama Canal Cruise. He continued coaching into his retirement with his son at Centennial High School. The family enjoyed fishing, hiking, and boating in central Oregon.

He had worked to establish the Hall of Fame to recognize the achievements of Athletes and Coaches at Forest Grove High School and had just been notified that he would be inducted.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Connie; son, BJ; daughter, Jaime; two grandchildren; his father, Eddie; brothers, Dave and Mike; and sisters, Megan and Mary.

Remembrances may be made to the American Diabetes Association in Portland, to the Forest Grove Hall of Fame at the Forest Grove High Athletic Department, or Centennial High School Football in Gresham.