Good coach got great lessons
OMAHA, Neb. -
When they say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, they might have Pat and Fred Casey in mind.
Pat is the Oregon State coach who has taken the Beavers from the middle echelons of Division I baseball to the College World Series the past two years. Fred is his father, a semiretired Newberg real-estate agent who joined with wife Beverly to raise seven children in a strong Catholic household.
Pat's leadership qualities don't surprise his father.
'I had a German mom - a wonderful person, very intelligent - and my father was a hardworking guy,' says Fred Casey, who watched Oregon State's CWS games from a press box suite. 'They always told me, 'Be a leader, not a follower. You understand right from wrong. Do the things that are right.' I tried to pass that along to my kids, and I think they picked that up.
'Pat was a little bit laid-back, kind of quiet as a kid, but he's always had a great makeup to be a coach. And the important thing to me is, he's a really good person. There are a lot of athletes and coaches who are not very good people. I'd rather each of my kids just be a regular person.'
The senior Casey considers remarkable what his son has done with the OSU program.
'I don't want to see Pat move out of the area, but if he had a program like Arizona or Arizona State, he would probably be more successful,' Fred Casey says. 'He has great knowledge of the game and a knack for getting players to work hard. All he wants from his players is to work as hard as he does.'
• Jonathan Casey's reputation grows: The eldest son of Pat Casey, profiled in the June 9 Portland Tribune, was featured on ESPN during Monday's OSU-Georgia game. The network put a microphone on 20-year-old Jonathan - developmentally challenged since birth - during a practice session Sunday and interviewed his parents and OSU pitcher Kevin Gunderson.
'It was great,' Pat Casey says. 'Jon was all proud of it.'
nBefore he signs with Arizona, Dallas Buck will get a physical to determine whether surgery will help his sore right elbow. An April MRI showed no structural damage, and Buck has no pain when he throws, but his velocity is down.
'Surgery is not out of the question,' says the right-hander, a third-round pick of the Diamondbacks. 'Nothing is torn; it's just stretched out. Surgery may provide for a quicker recovery than just letting it heal. That would be the only reason (for surgery).'
• One player not on Oregon State's 25-man CWS roster, freshman outfielder Greg Laybourn, intends to expand his options by turning out for football next season. As a quarterback and safety at Beaverton High, Laybourn was the Metro League offensive and defensive player of the year as a senior in 2004. He was a reserve safety at Northern Arizona in 2005 before transferring to OSU to play baseball.
'I'm not giving up on baseball, but if things go right, I'd like to try both,' says Laybourn, who hit .176 in 17 at-bats for the Beavers this season and is playing for the Portland International League's Portland Titans this summer. 'My main concern is working on baseball, but I'm training like I'm getting ready for football.'
OSU football coaches aren't sure where they'll use the 5-11, 200-pound Laybourn.
'I really liked him as a high school player,' coach Mike Riley says. 'We looked at him long and hard. I'll have to sit down with him and see where his dreams are. He could help either as a receiver, probably in the slot, or as a safety.'
'It's a great idea,' Pat Casey says. 'He'll do a good job, and I know Mike will find a way for it to work for both sports.'
nOSU football coaches also are excited about the verbal commitment from Jake Gelakoska, a 6-4, 215-pound quarterback from Snohomish, Wash., an all-conference pick who passed for nearly 2,000 yards and threw 17 TDs as a junior. Gelakoska was the first player the Beavers offered a scholarship to and was No. 1 on their prep QB list.