Todd Casebier is well-versed in his coaching history. And it’s not the kind of history that if he’s not careful, he’ll be doomed to repeat it.
Quite the contrary.
He seems eager to repeat the successful turnarounds that he has become known for.
Casebier almost has a healing touch when it comes to turning around high school football programs. After winning a Class 3A championship at Palisade, he moved on to Montrose, a program that was struggling to compete.
By the time Casebier was done working his magic, the Indians were playing for the 4A football title in 2013.
He then moved on to Fruita Monument, where the Wildcats were coming off a 1-9 season. In 2017, Casebier’s third year with the program, they went 10-1.
Now he heads to the Denver area to see if he can replicate that success for Castle View.
“It’s not like this is the first time I’ve done this, so I’m just using the same plan I’ve used (at Montrose and Fruita Monument) and I’m trying to do that again at Castle View,” Casebier said. “There are two things you’re trying do. No. 1 is get a quality staff, which I’ve done at Castle View, and then No. 2 is to get the kids to buy in and believe, and we’re in the process of doing that at Castle View.”
It shouldn’t be hard for the Sabercats players to believe. Casebier has done more than enough to prove his worth as a coach and a leader of a program.
He has won nearly three times as many games as he has lost at his three stops. His career record is 175-60, and his teams have made the playoffs in 18 of 20 seasons.
Castle View is 6-24 over the past three seasons, and hasn’t had a winning season since 2011, when the team reached the 4A semifinals. Casebier is determined to reverse the fortunes of a struggling team, and understands the grit that comes with getting results.
He’s gotten them before and he has done so admittedly not because of anything that he has specifically done. He has a long-term vision that requires the effort of his assistant coaches and more importantly, his players.
If he gets the effort from everyone involved in the program, Casebier has little doubt that the results will follow.
“I want to be clear; this isn’t about me and it’s not like I did this by myself,” Casebier said. “I’ve been a head coach for 20 years and this is my fourth program and I’ve had good people everywhere I’ve been. It was no different at Fruita. Montrose had a great group of guys, and Palisade before that, so you get the right people together, you sell the plan and then you go make the plan work. I’m trying to do the same thing at Castle View.”
He’ll have to make due without a lot of returning production at least on the offensive side of the ball.
Senior Josh Mullenix is the only returning player with passing touchdowns to his name. Junior Antonio Ursetta is the only returning player to have caught a touchdown pass last year. He hauled in one.
But Casebier isn’t discouraged and knows the challenge that he’ll be confronted with when practices officially begin next month. The Sabercats gave up 251 points last season during a 1-9 campaign and scored just 111, giving him the indication that they’ll have to do better on offense.
“If you look at the scores, they played really good defense,” Casebier said. “They couldn’t generate enough offense to keep them in games. Based on what I’ve seen, we have enough kids that can produce that we can get some things going on offense which of course will only help the defense.”
He added that this is no different than the blueprint that he laid out in his previous stops. And the results spoke for themselves.
The Sabercats return three all-conference players in Cole Oster, Connor Kelly and Andrew Grout. When it comes to leadership on the field, Casebier points to those three as essential pieces of the team this season.
“They’re some of the leaders that we have on the team and I’ve been impressed with them,” he said.
The Sabercats started working in the spring and even attended the football camp at CSU-Pueblo this summer. He’s happy with what he has seen from his players since he came on to the job, but knows that they are just one factor when it comes to getting this program to turning a corner.
“It’s never one thing when a program struggles. It’s many,” he said. “You have to try and address the things that you can and we’re in the process of doing that.”
Based on his past experiences, addressing the issues within his control has had positive results. He has made three programs winners in his 20 years as a coach.
If history is taken into account, Castle View will be the fourth.