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Casey resigns as Ramsey basketball coach

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By Seth Whitehead

Nick Casey is a man accustomed to wearing many hats.

Husband. Father. Principal. Athletic director.

And - as if that weren't enough - he's spent the past 12 winters coaching the boys basketball team at his alma mater, Ramsey High School.

But with a growing family, Casey has concluded that there are simply not enough hours in the day to continue multi-tasking at the same pace.

Therefore, the man who led the Rams to their first regional title since 1942 has decided to step down as head basketball coach.

"It'll be tough," said Casey. "But I've got two younger kids and another on the way, and being the head coach takes up a lot of time."

Especially during the winter months, when Casey put in countless 12-plus hour days.

"Pretty much any evening is busy with something," said Casey.

Casey will leave the program with a number of fond memories, none more so than the Rams' magical 1999-2000 season.

The momentum actually began a year before when a group of talented juniors put together a 21-6 campaign after going 11-14 the year before.

"That (success) was unexpected the year before we won the regional," Casey said. "That was a big surprise. And with everybody back, winning the regional was our goal."

The Rams managed to meet those big expectations, racing out to a 10-0 start and capturing the imagination of the community.

The Rams would go on to post a 24-9 record, including their first regional title-game victory in 58 years.

"It really was an unbelievable ride," said Casey. "The whole town was really behind us and following us everywhere. It kind of reminded me of "Hoosiers."

As much as Casey enjoyed coaching that highly successful group, he was just as proud of his teams during some of the leaner years that would follow.

"We were not competitive every year, which was frustrating" Casey said. "But I always tried to have the kids represent the school and community the best they could and play right with respect for the game."

That said, last year's team was one of Casey's favorite, despite its 6-20 record.

"Last year, we were not very good, but it was enjoyable, because they did everything I asked them to do," Casey said. "They represented themselves as well as they could have."

The experience of winning a regional at RHS was even more special considering Casey was a standout for the team in the late 1980s.

After college, Casey began his coaching career as an assistant for Rich Well at Vandalia for "three or four years" before taking the Ramsey head-coaching job.

The school is currently taking applications for the position, with Ramsey assistant coach Bill Eddy being one of the early applicants.