By Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC)
LORMAN, Miss. – One of the most iconic figures in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Marino Casem passed away in his home Saturday afternoon at the age of 85.
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference will forever be indebted to the contributions and historic achievements of former Southern and Alcorn State Head Football Coach and Athletics Director, Marino Casem,” said SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland.
“Coach Casem served our conference with class and integrity over the course of his legendary career as a coach and administrator. He is undoubtedly one of the best our conference has ever seen and a true legend whose impact is still felt to this day. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Known as “The Godfather”, Casem was the head football coach at Alcorn for 22 seasons and served as director of athletics for 20 years. He’s the winningest football coach in the history of Alcorn athletics, amassing a record of 132-65-8 from 1964-1985.
During his coaching tenure, Alcorn won seven SWAC football championships and Casem was named SWAC Coach of the Year seven times. He also coached the Braves to four Black National Titles in 1967, 1968, 1973 and 1984.
As an athletic director, Casem led the effort in building the Davey L. Whitney Complex, the home to the Alcorn basketball and volleyball programs. It opened in 1975.
Casem also served as athletic director at Southern from 1986-99 — a stretch that also included two stints as football coach, from 1987-88 and again in 1992.
Under his tenure Southern rose to nearly unprecedented heights. With Casem as his A.D., Pete Richardson built a resurgent, dominant program, winning four SWAC titles in 1993, ’97, ’98 and ’99 (the Jaguars won a fifth SWAC title under Richardson in 2003, after Casem retired).
Alcorn plays its home football games in a stadium named in his honor, Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium. Casem first arrived at Alcorn as an assistant coach in 1959, along with Spinks, and the two were close friends.
Casem was named to the SWAC Hall of Fame in 1992, Alcorn Hall of Fame in 1993, College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.