BELLE GLADE – Rick Casko recently ended his second stint as head coach of the Glades Central Raiders.
Casko took the Raiders to a 24-11 record over the past three seasons and two district championships. He also coached the Raiders between 1991 and 1994.
Casko has spent 31 years as a coach with 27 of those as a head coach. He said he carefully and prayerfully considered this decision, “It just wore me down. Every summer I’ve coached football.”
Casko noted he helped form a new weight lifting team at Glades Central this past winter. The team won the district title last year. That, along with 7 on 7 passing leagues and off season workouts, kept him away from home a lot. He also lives 37 miles away from campus.
Casko said he felt he was able to take the program in a positive direction in the last three years. He noted when he arrived, the program had some financial and equipment problems, plus many talented athletes had transferred to other schools.
“I was very surprised at where the program was. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. Some of the kids that transferred are coming back and financially we are in great shape,” he noted.
The first year he was there, only four college coaches came to campus. This year 50 colleges have visited the campus to talk to athletes.
Casko said the team was young and immature this year but worked really, really hard to defend the district title, which was captured by Clewiston this year.
“We fell short of the goal but we worked hard,” he noted.
The team won the Palm Beach shootout in flag football for the second time, took a trip to Georgia, and also a trip to Orlando this year for the Men of Valor Christian Team building. He said for a head coach it is a year round job.
“I’m there every day in the summer for workouts and I need a rest. I’m retiring as a head coach, I don’t want to be a head coach anymore.”
Casko, who has been married for 34 years, said he looks forward to spending more time at home and noted his wife deserves the time he can spend with her.
“I’ve been very blessed. My friends and family know how passionate I am for football. I think it’s important because it can change the lives of young men. My life was molded by my coaches.”
Casko said the team had the largest roster in several years. He was also able to purchase new uniforms and helmets for the team.
“I’m very proud of where we got to. I think the program is ready to go in the right direction. There is no shortage of funds, or equipment or student athletes,” he noted.
While Glades Central hasn’t had any big time Division I recruits, the team did have several kids earn college scholarships who play football at smaller colleges.
He said he is also proud of the way his players carry themselves off the field.
“The kids are doing the right thing. They are doing well academically, have character and discipline and some really good things are going on,” he explained.
Casko said he was very proud of the way the team played in a playoff loss to Booker T. Washington. He said the Raiders played one of their better games.
“We had them on the ropes. They were nervous and we had a chance. If we made a couple of more plays we could have beaten them. They are a very good team and they made the plays when they needed to.”
Casko said Glades Central can return to the state title picture in short order.
Principal Angela Moore said in a press release that Casko did an outstanding job and really took away a lot of her headaches because there were few problems with the football program.
“I admire his willingness to mentor young men and women and his commitment to the school brand,” she added.