Casey brothers looking to impact Davidson football

Herald correspondentNovember 18, 2013 

Paul Nichols’ Davidson Wildcats have gone winless through the first 10 games of the 2013 college football season. But senior linebacker Dan Casey and his younger brother Nate, a freshman, are convinced the Pioneer Football League will feel the impact of the program’s future.

“Nate and I are committed to make the Davidson football program something special,” he said during an interview last week.

The Casey brothers, who played football at Westminster Catawba Christian School, are part of a family comprised of seven boys and five girls ranging in age from 23 down to a one-year-old. That may explain the two linebackers’ ability to weed through a crowd of blockers and find the ball carrier.

With a family that large it would be safe to assume there was not much idle activity.

“There were a lot of late nights wrestling, a lot of holes in the walls,” said Nate. “There was never a dull moment. We all found creative ways to get outside.”

And while football plays a big part in the Casey brothers’ lives, it is not foremost.

“Athletic accomplishments are not a big deal. It’s our camaraderie as a family,” said Dan, a religion major. Echoing his son’s sentiment Ray Casey added, “Both of them are men of faith, character, and determination.”

Supporting that statement, Dan and Nate were both elected to the team’s Honor Committee as senior and freshman representatives before this season. Some duties of the committee include consulting on disciplinary issues, choosing the type of uniform for a game, and serving as communication conduits with the coaching staff.

That both of the Casey brothers ended up at Davidson was due in large part to former Davidson football player and Westminster Catawba coach and athletics director Steve Heckard.

“I thought we would go far away but the key to being here was back when Steve Heckard invited me to go to a Davidson football game,” said Dan, who has played in eight of the 10 games and is fourth on the team in tackles with 57. Three years later Nate joined his older brother. “Playing football together with my brother is awesome,” he said with a wide grin.

Perhaps never was playing together any more exciting than in a game earlier this season versus Marist College. “Dan and I were on the field at the same time as part of a nickel package defense and were both were in on three straight tackles,” said Nate. Dan swelled with joy remembering that game, while also looking back on his sophomore season when the Wildcats were playing Campbell University. “I broke my ribs in the third quarter of that game that went triple overtime,” he said. Despite the pain from the injury, “It was a great experience of adrenaline taking over.”

So with this season coming to a close Saturday when the Wildcats host Campbell, be assured that Ray and Esther Casey will be gathering up the family for the trek to Davidson’s Richardson Stadium. Dan will be recognized on senior day, although he still has another year of eligibility; Nate will be watching from the sideline after injuring his shoulder in the previous game against Stetson.

Wildcats fans in attendance will be anxious for an elusive first victory of 2013, but Ray Casey will be beaming pridefully, regardless.

“We are grateful of the opportunity for them to go to Davidson and appreciate the education they are getting as well as being part of the football program,” said Ray. “We didn’t anticipate that they would play football together at Davidson.”

One would have to believe the school reciprocates those feelings.

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