Fall 2021 SS Magazine

'Absolutely blessed' Oregon State coach Pat Casey wins College World Series

If it weren’t for some last-inning heroics in Game 2 of the 2018 College World Series, Pat Casey and the Oregon State Beavers would have had to wait at least another year for a third Division I baseball championship.

But after that game’s two-out, ninth-inning rally, headlined by a game-winning Trevor Larnach home run, Casey’s Pac-12 machine never slowed. And thanks in part to the coach’s trust in 19-year-old freshman pitcher Kevin Abel, who went on to mow down 20 straight batters and surrender a CWS-best two hits, the Beavers not only proved resilient with a 5-0 win in Thursday’s Game 3, but sealed their third title in the program’s history.

For Casey, the 2018 championship is just icing on the cake of a career made famous for his longtime success at Oregon State. A two-time conference champ with George Fox, a Christian university in Oregon, from 1988-1994, he was responsible for overseeing the first College World Series win in Beavers history (2006), then helped OSU become the first unranked team in D-I baseball history to repeat the following year. All told, he’s racked up more than 1,000 victories from the Beavers dugout with a career winning percentage of more than .650.

And yet for Casey, who opened this year’s Series by saying he was “absolutely blessed” and couldn’t “thank the Lord enough” for the family along his side, achievements on the diamond haven’t always been the pinnacle of his career, at least in his eyes.

Characterized in 2011 by The Oregonian as a “man who works tirelessly to balance an intensely competitive spirit with a deep faith in God,” Casey has called church “the calm in the storm for me” and suggested his faith and family deserve top priority over anything he does on the diamond.

“Hopefully my life isn’t defined by what I do on the baseball field,” said Casey, mentioning his four children. “If that’s the case, then I’m a pretty shallow individual. I hope my life’s defined by a lot of things that are more important than that.”

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