Former Football Coach Casey Longo Resigns From His Head Coaching Role

On January 25, 2022, Casey Longo addressed his team for the final time. In an emotional moment, Longo announced that he would be stepping down from his position as head football coach, and would not be returning for the 2022 season. “It was a challenging decision, but at the end of the day it was best for my family and me.” Longo said. 

Longo had many successes during his tenure as head coach, accumulating a 44-22 record, along with two district championships. And yet, Longo will be remembered by his players for his off the field contributions just as much as his on-field accomplishments.

“Coach Longo was always someone we knew cared about us and our well being, not just on the field, but with our families and personal lives”, Conor Callahan ‘22 said. 

Longo entered the program as a coach over 15 years ago, as a JV assistant.

“At the time, I was in the education program at Aquinas and recently graduated from East,” Longo said, “I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with kids and stay involved in football while in college.”

The East Grand Rapids football program has very little turnover, with the program only having two head coaches over the past 20+ years. 

“Coach Longo being gone next year is definitely going to be different”, Liam O’Malley ‘23 said, “He was somebody who was always positive, which was important during this season as we were struggling”. 

Longo will now be taking his extra time during “retirement”, to spend more time with his kids, and reminisce about his last 23 years in the EGR football program, both as a player and as a coach. Despite all of his on-field success, when asked about his favorite memory as a coach, Longo remembered his players off-field successes. 

“I always loved watching when the players interacted with younger kids in the community, at events like the Pioneer Picnic, when we would host birthday parties and the summer youth camps,” Longo said, “the players always did such a great job.”

Now, the search will begin for the next head coach. Longo believes whoever fills the job should be aware of just how special our community is.

“I would let them know that they are part of something special. East Grand Rapids Schools, the community, and the football program are very special.” Longo said. “They are lucky to coach incredible kids on and off the field, and they will be supported by the school, players, and parents. So have fun and enjoy it.”

Whoever the new coach is, he will have big shoes to fill from the successes of both Coach Longo and his predecessor, Peter Stuursma.

Coach Longo will not be disappearing from East Grand Rapids, however, as he will remain on staff in his teaching position, and will be cheering for his former players from afar. 

“I’m excited to watch East games with my family this fall,” Longo said.

Regardless of whether or not the team was always successful, the players will miss Longo’s positive attitude and caring nature.

“He wanted the best for every player, and that is what I’m going to miss the most,” O’Malley said.

This article appeared in the February edition of The East Vision.