The Alcorn State University (ASU) family paid tribute to Marino “The Godfather” Casem, former ASU Football Head Coach, on Thursday, November 11th in the Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Hall Gold Room at 7:00 pm.
The program started with a portion of the Alcorn State University Gospel Choir singing “Grateful” by Hezekiah Walker. Next, Lonza Hardy Jr., former Casem Staff Member at ASU/ Southern University (SU), gave his opening remarks as the Master of Ceremony. Following that, Dr. Felecia M. Nave, 20th President of ASU, gave greetings. Then, Rev. Willie Peake, former ASU football player, gave words of inspiration and the prayer.
The program then shifted into family and friend’s reflections about Casem. Billy Joe McCain Jr., Casem’s nephew, Patricia Casem Hayslett, Casem’s niece, Henry Flowers, close friend of Casem, and Willie Moses Jr., another close friend of Casem, all paid tribute to him.
“The world saw Alcorn Football players as poor losers but Marino saw those boys as winning potential. Marino raised the bar for us all. He will be missed, but we can’t forget “The Godfather,” said Flowers.
Following the family and friend’s reflections, ASU student Xavian Lewis sang a rendition of “Amazing Grace”. After the musical selection, former players, colleagues and friends gave reflections. Former ASU football players, Willie Alexander, James Williams, Leslie Frazier, and Roynell Young, and former Assistant Coaches, Louis “Butch” Jones Jr. and Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, all spoke about Casem as a Head Coach.
“Coach Casem meant a lot to so many of us. For me, he was more than just a coach. As hard as we worked, the one thing about him was that he genuinely cared about us as people and not just players,” said Frazier.
Following these reflections, there was a special video presentation about Casem featuring his wife, Betty Casem. Next, Master of Ceremony Hardy gave words of thanks and recognitions.
The program concluded with a musical selection, “For All We Know”, by ASU student Angel Adkins which was followed by the benediction which was given by Rev. Elijah Brown, a former ASU Football player and Assistant Coach.