Marino Casem, known as the “The Godfather,” spent four decades in college football constructing programs, amassing victories, and winning championships.
Casem, who applied his trade at Southern University, Alabama State and Alcorn State as administrator and coach, died Saturday. He was 85.
In 26 years as a head coach, Casem compiled a 159-93-8 record, winning four national championships and National Black Coach of the Year seven times. A 2003 College Football Hall of Fame member, Casem left and indelible mark on the game itself.
In late 2019, ESPN named Casem one of college football 150 greatest coaches and highlighted his famous quote about the unique regional connection of football in southern America.
“In the East, where the Ivy Leaguers are, it’s a cultural experience. In the West, with Stanford and all those people out there, it’s a tourist attraction. In the Midwest, with Nebraska and those folks, it’s a form of cannibalism. But in the South, where we reside, football is a religion and Saturday is a holy day of obligation.”
The reaction to Casem’s death was widespread and reverential across the college football landscape.
Here are some of the comments:
We lost a good man today and a legend “The Godfather” coach Marino Casem. Can’t thank him enough for everything he did for Southern University and the SWAC. RIP Coach! pic.twitter.com/dsKH5HNvXx
— Roman Banks (@CoachBanks_SU) April 26, 2020
— Southwestern Athletic Conference (@theswac) April 26, 2020
Rock you got outta here on me huh! The sky is little darker shade of blue and The Sun is just a little less golden today. You were a visionary. I’ll miss our conversations. You taught us about life. I’m praying for Mrs. Betty and your family! RIP COACH MARINO CASEM! pic.twitter.com/VHF3Th4xqv
— Reggie Flood (@rflood28) April 26, 2020
We are saddened to announce the passing of a great man today “The Godfather” Coach Marino Casem, Football Coach and long time Athletic Director at Southern University & Alcorn State University. Thank you for all you did for SU and the SWAC #RIP to a Legend. pic.twitter.com/E726TJokPw
— Southern U. Sports (@SouthernUsports) April 26, 2020
We send our condolences to coach Marino Casem’s Family. God Bless!
— Harold Carmichael (@lookitin) April 26, 2020
RIP to “The Godfather” Marino Casem. pic.twitter.com/haVLPOvGOF
— Coach Donald Hill-Eley (@CoachEleyASU) April 26, 2020
The NFF mourns the passing of 2003 @cfbhall inductee and 1998 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award recipient Marino Casem
— Football Foundation (@NFFNetwork) April 27, 2020
— Perryn Keys (@PerrynKeys) April 26, 2020
— Jackson State Athletics (@GoJSUTigers) April 26, 2020
#RIP to The Godfather: @xula1925 grad Marino Casem died Saturday at age 85. Casem was a longtime football coach and AD in @theswac, most notably at Alcorn State. He was a 2003 @cfbhall inductee.
bio: https://t.co/hF4rp0OQzX #TeamGold #HailAllHailXU @WeAreAFCA pic.twitter.com/kl36MmSY4e
— XULA Athletics (@xulagold) April 26, 2020