Lewiston (WKBW/Niagara Release) Chris Casey, who has 27 years of coaching experience at the Division I and II and III levels, has been named the 21st head coach of the Niagara University men’s basketball program.
“I am very aware of the history of Niagara University and the Niagara basketball program,” Casey said. “To have the honor to coach here is very exciting and I am looking forward to getting started.”
Casey has had successful stints as a Division I assistant coach at St. John’s, Central Connecticut State and Saint Peter’s, and as a Division II head coach at LIU Post and Rutgers-Newark.
“Chris Casey has a well-rounded experience in college basketball that will serve him well as our new men’s basketball coach,” Niagara University Director of Athletics Tom Crowley stated. “He has an energetic and enthusiastic approach and a long history of helping student-athletes reach their dreams both in the classroom and on the court. We welcome Chris and his family to Niagara.”
Casey comes to Niagara after three seasons at LIU Post in Brookville, N.Y. where he posted a 62-25 record and went 44-11 in the East Coast Conference. Casey led the Pioneers to back-to-back 20-win seasons, two East Coast Conference Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
LIU Post concluded the 2012-13 season with an 18-9 record and finished tied for second in the conference with a 13-5 ECC record. Casey coached three Pioneers to all-conference teams, led by senior guard Tobin Carberry who was name ECC Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year, All-Met Co-Player Player and earned a spot on the Daktronics All-American Third Team.
Casey led the 2011-12 team to a 23-6 record as the Pioneers won the ECC title for their fourth championship in five seasons and made their third NCAA appearance in four seasons. Casey was named ECC Coach of the Year and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Division II Coach of the Year. Under Casey’s tutelage, the Pioneers saw three players named to the ECC First Team and one to the Second Team, as well as ECC Player of the Year Stefan Bonneau who earned All-Region, All-Met and two All-America accolades, and ECC Rookie of the Year Tyuan Williams.
Casey’s first season at LIU Post was a successful one as he led the Pioneers to an East Coast Conference Championship and an appearance in the NCAA East Regional. Four of Casey’s players were selected to All-ECC teams, and Bonneau earned ECC Player of the Year and NABC All-Region First Team.
Casey’s LIU teams were extremely active in the local community during his tenure and volunteered at organizations such as St. John’s Bread and Life and the Miracle League of Long Island.
Prior to being named head coach at LIU, Casey was an instrumental member of the St. John’s coaching staff under former head coach Norm Roberts. He spent six seasons on the staff, serving as the Director of Operations for two seasons before being promoted to Assistant Coach.
During his tenure at St. John’s, Casey played a large role on Roberts’ staff as he was responsible for recruiting, opponent scouting, player development, on-court instruction and practice and game preparation.
Casey’s first season as an assistant coach proved to be one of significance for the Red Storm. St. John’s made a return to the BIG EAST Championship Tournament for the first time since 2003, posted its first winning record (16-15) since that seasonand compiled its best conference record (7-9) since 2003 as well.
In 2008-09, Casey’s guidance helped the Red Storm equal that win total, propelling the squad to its first BIG EAST Tournament victory in six years and a postseason appearance in the CBI. 2010 was also a high-water mark for the Casey with the Red Storm, as they made the NIT tournament that season.
Casey came to St. John’s from Central Connecticut State University, where he spent three seasons as the Blue Devils’ top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He was also responsible for game preparation, player development and on-the-floor coaching at CCSU.
During his tenure with the Blue Devils, the team won the 2002 Northeast Conference Championship and earned a berth in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. In 2003, Casey was named an AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year.
In his three years with Central Connecticut State, the team averaged nearly 19 wins per season. The team’s league record during those years was 40-16, and the Blue Devils advanced to two NEC Championship games.
At CCSU, Casey worked with forward Corsley Edwards, who was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2003 National Basketball Association Draft, the first-ever selection for a Blue Devil player. In addition, two student-athletes, Edwards and Ron Robinson, were named the league’s player of the year during his tenure.
Casey joined the staff at Central Connecticut State after serving as the head coach at Rutgers University-Newark for three seasons, from 1998-99 to 2000-01. In his third year with the Scarlet Raiders, he led the team to its second postseason appearance since 1985. The team matched the school record for victories in the regular season and the Raiders qualified for the ECAC Postseason Tournament. For his efforts, Casey was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Prior to his time at Rutgers, Casey was an assistant basketball coach at St. Peter’s University for eight years. He served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and helped land seven all-conference players with two players being named the conference’s Rookie of the Year. St. Peter’s qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice during his tenure, 1991 and 1995.
Casey has also made coaching stops at his alma mater, Western Connecticut State, and St. Francis (N.Y.). In 1988-89, Western Connecticut finished the season 25-3 and made a trip to the Division III Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.
Casey is a 1986 graduate of Western Connecticut State University with a B.S. in business administration. He earned his master’s in education administration from Central Connecticut State in 1993. He played basketball for four seasons at Western and was a two-time team captain. His team made an appearance in the ECAC Tournament in his senior season.
Casey and his wife, Hope, have two daughters, Lauren and Jordan.