“The Godfather” to receive award

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: May 18, 2009

CLEVELAND — Marino Casem, former director of athletics at Alcorn State University and Southern University, has been chosen as the recipient of the 28th NACDA/NIT Athletics Directors Award.

The NACDA/NIT Award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sport of basketball and the National Invitational Tournament. The award was initiated in 1981-82 with James “Bud” Jack of the University of Utah as the inaugural recipient.

Casem will receive the award during the 2009 Convention scheduled for June 17-18 in Orlando, Florida. “To be chosen by a body of my peers to be honored with the immortals who have received this prestigious award is truly wonderful,” stated Casem.

“That you have seen fit to recognize me with this most hallowed award is, in essence, not just a tribute to me, but a tribute to all of the historically black colleges and universities, the many talented student-athletes, the outstanding coaches, motivated staff members, distinguished administrators and supportive fans who stood in our corner.”

For close to 20 years, Casem served in the dual role of athletics director and head football coach at Alcorn State University (1966-86); and from 1986 until his retirement in 1999, Casem served as athletics director at Southern University.

While at Alcorn State, Casem was responsible for the construction of the athletics complex and was instrumental in the design and planning of the football stadium. He was at the helm of the department in 1979 when the Braves’ men’s basketball team became the first HBCU to capture a win in the NIT.

As head football coach from 1964 to 1985, he captured seven Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships, seven National Black College championships, and was named both the National Black College and SWAC Coach-of-the-Year a total of seven times.

While at Southern, Casem guided the Jaguars into the top overall sports program in the SWAC. Between 1986 and his retirement in 1999, Southern captured seven SWAC Commissioner Cups, six SWAC men’s all-sports trophies and nine SWAC women’s all-sports trophies.

Throughout his career he served on many national committees, including various NCAA committees and the USOC Minority Task Force. In addition, Casem has received numerous awards over the course of his career, including being named to the NACDA Hall of Fame in 2006 and being inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2003.