Posted: 4:37 pm Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
By Anthony Chiang
In need of a new head football coach, Glades Central turned to a familiar face.
The Raiders announced the hiring of Rick Casko on Tuesday, bringing him back for a second tour of duty as Raiders coach. The John I. Leonard High graduate replaces Roosevelt Blackmon, who was 25-12 in his three seasons as coach.
“Rick stood out with his head coaching experience, his organizational skills and his knowledge of the game,” Glades Central Assistant Principal Cindy McDade said.
Reached Tuesday night at his home in Georgia, Casko said he’s looking forward to returning to the Glades.
“I really enjoyed my time at Glades Central,” said Casko, who still has family who live in West Palm Beach. “I’ve always been in touch with my players and people that I know from Glades Central. I want to put Glades Central on the map. I’m very proud of what my kids did when I was there. I’m excited about the challenge.”
Casko was Glades Central’s head coach from 1991-1993, leading the Raiders to a 34-4 record and making the playoffs twice. He decided to leave Glades Central after the Raiders lost to Lake Wales in the Class 3A state semifinals in 1993, giving up a 35-14 halftime lead. Former NFL star running back Fred Taylor was on that Raiders team.
Casko knows all too well the pressure that comes with coaching the Raiders.
“It has become a reality that the expectations have to be realistic,” he said. “You don’t win a state championship every year. There’s no team that does that. But that’s our goal.”
Casko coached Blackmon at Glades Central, but said he hasn’t had the chance to talk to his former player since accepting the position.
Casko, who also was the head coach at Atlantic and John I. Leonard, has spent the past 11 years as head coach at Cass High School in Georgia. He resigned as the winningest football coach in school history in December, finishing with a 43-68 record.
Now, Casko will try to bring Glades Central back to prominence. The Raiders finished with a 5-6 record last season, falling to Miami-Washington in the first round of the playoffs. It marked the first time since 2002 that the Raiders did not advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Glades Central has now had six head coaches since 2000.
“He understands the culture out there,” said Lake Worth coach Jessie Hester, who played and coached at Glades Central and got to know Casko during his first stint as coach of the Raiders. “He knows what’s expected and I think he will do well there. He runs the type of offense that I think the kids will shine in. Now, it’s just a matter of the community embracing him.”
About the Author
Anthony Chiang began his writing career in Gainesville at the University of Florida’s student-run newspaper. At The Independent Florida Alligator, he covered the school’s golf, volleyball, baseball, and football teams. The Miami native has also written for the Sun Sentinel and MLB.com, following the Tampa Bay Rays.