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Bernie Casey Print E-mail
A key component to the 1959 National Championship team, Bernie Casey is still considered one of the top athletes in Bowling Green history. During the championship season, the 6'4" halfback from Columbus East led the Falcons in receiving for the second straight year with 18 catches for 264 yards. He ran for 90 yards and three scores in the win over rival Miami(OH), in what University President Ralph McDonald called "the best game of football I have ever seen one man play." He also scored touchdowns in key games against Delaware and Ohio University to clinch the MAC and national championships for the Falcons. He was named to the Little All-American team for his efforts.

Casey excelled on the track, as well. The 1959 MAC champion in the high hurdles, he was also an NCAA finalist that year. In 1960, the spring after helping lead the football team to that magical season, he finished fourth at the NCAA meet in the high hurdles, and qualified for the 1960 Olympic trials, the first Falcon ever to do so. Though he turned in one of the best races of his career, Casey finished sixth at the trials.

After receiving his bachelors degree in 1961, Casey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers as the ninth pick overall in the NFL Draft, the highest any Falcon has ever been drafted by an NFL team. He spent six seasons with San Francisco, and two more with the Los Angeles Rams. He finished his pro career with 359 catches for 5,444 yards and 40 touchdowns, highlighted by his 1967 season with the Rams, where he caught 53 passes for a career high 871 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught eight touchdown passes for the 49ers in 1965. During the off-season, Casey returned to Bowling Green to continue his education, eventually receiving his Master's of Fine Arts from the University.

Bernie Casey - Photo Courtesy: Thelma Harris Art Gallery Following his playing career, Casey has continued to make a name for himself in film and the fine arts. He has appeared in 57 movies or television series since debuting in Guns of the Magnificent Seven in 1969, in addition to numerous guest appearances. In 1997, he wrote, produced, directed and starred in The Dinner. He also has served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the internationally-reknown Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia until 2001. He is also a published author and poet, as well has having numerous paintings displayed in museums across the country, and in the private collections of many distinguished Americans, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones, Burt Reynolds, and former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown.

In 1982, he participated and exchanged ideas with artists throughout the world, including representatives from behind the Iron Curtain. In 1976, Casey was selected to represent the North American Zone in the Second World Black and African Arts and Culture Festival held in Lagos, Nigeria.

He was inducted to the BG Athletic Hall of Fame in 1966.

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