Mr. Casey: What Hasn’t He Done?


courtesy of Jonathan Casey

Casey catching a frisbee in mid-air during his years as a professional.

Jardin Jacoby and Kate Shanahan

Many people think they know Jonathan Casey–a TCNJ graduate, a fifth and sixth grade health and physical education teacher at Auten Road, the wrestling coach at the middle school, and the JV girls volleyball coach at the high school. What they do not know is that he has a whole secret life, one filled with crazy adventures.

During college Casey made two big decisions that would forever change his life; he changed his major from business to teaching and started playing ultimate frisbee. When it came to taking on an education profession, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to focus on math or physical education. After college, Casey was approached by the MLU (Major League Ultimate), one of the biggest professional ultimate frisbee organizations in the country. A coach from the Philadelphia Spinners had seen him play and asked him to try out for the team. 

He did not only play, he dominated. Casey was ranked No. 5 on ESPN’s Sportscenter top 10 plays, after making a leaping catch for a goal over a defender.

While I made the team, I felt I was often being underutilized and overlooked, Casey said. “I was an outsider that had to work for every bit of time on the field. Even after making Sportscenter top 10, I was not a regular starter on the team. Fortunately, my teammates went to bat for me and helped convince the coach I was deserving of a starting role.  By the National Championship game, I was a starting defender and a large contributor to the team.” Casey’s team won the National Championship of the MLU at Franklin Field against the Portland Stags. 

Sadly, injuries were the thing that ended Casey’s career. Due to past head injuries, Casey’s neurologist urged him to stop playing. Although it was a hard decision, Casey recognized that constant head trauma could lead to severe problems down the road, so he put his professional sports career to the side and focused on his teaching career, a start to a new adventure. 

He works hard to incorporate fun activities for his students into his teaching routine. For example, Casey enjoys playing “two truths and a lie” with his fifth and sixth graders.

“I’ve piloted a helicopter,” Casey said, “I’ve gone cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of Peru, and I’ve jumped out of a plane solo on multiple occasions.” The lie here is that Casey actually went cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa. 

As a new teacher in the Hillsborough Public School System, Casey was looking for new ways to immerse himself into the community. When a coaching position became available for the freshman girls volleyball team, Casey eagerly seized the opportunity. 

Casey, also being the middle school wrestling coach, immediately noticed that coaching volleyball was very different from other sports. However, a challenge has never frightened Casey as he enjoys learning the intricacies of differing sports. He approached this challenge head on and quickly earned the respect and admiration of the girls. Casey is not only an excellent example of a dedicated teacher and coach, he is also a role model for the students he inspires.