Photo: HBCU Report/Twitter

Marino Casem, known as the “The Godfather,” spent four decades in college football constructing programs, amassing victories, and winning championships.

Casem, who applied his trade at Southern University, Alabama State and Alcorn State as administrator and coach, died Saturday. He was 85.


In 26 years as a head coach, Casem compiled a 159-93-8 record, winning four national championships and National Black Coach of the Year seven times.  A 2003 College Football Hall of Fame member, Casem left and indelible mark on the game itself.

In late 2019, ESPN named Casem one of college football 150 greatest coaches and highlighted his famous quote about the unique regional connection of football in southern America.

“In the East, where the Ivy Leaguers are, it’s a cultural experience. In the West, with Stanford and all those people out there, it’s a tourist attraction. In the Midwest, with Nebraska and those folks, it’s a form of cannibalism. But in the South, where we reside, football is a religion and Saturday is a holy day of obligation.”

The reaction to Casem’s death was widespread and reverential across the college football landscape.

Here are some of the comments:

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