Baseball – Central’s Mike Casale Steps Down as Head Coach
After three seasons at the helm, Mike Casale stepped down Thursday as the Central Regional baseball coach, making it official at Thursday's Board of Education meeting.
Central athletic director John Scran made the job opening public on Friday and Casale confirmed his resignation on Friday as well.
Casale said his resignation was a career decision as he pursues an administrative position
"This was a hundred 100 percent my decision," Casale said. "Everyone has been supportive - the administration, the parents, coach Scran. I enjoyed the head coaching experience. I just had a gut feeling that it was time."
From his first season as head coach in 2016 until this past season, Casale led Central to a three-year mark of 39-32, including an 18-9 campaign this past spring. With a senior-heavy roster, the Golden Eagles reached the championship game of the Shore Conference Tournament, ultimately falling one win short of a title in losing to Toms River North. Central finished ranked No. 8 in the final Shore Sports Network Top 10 for 2018.
Central went 9-12 in Casale's first season and won an NJSIAA Tournament game. In 2017, the Golden Eagles improved to 12-11 and reached the semifinals of the South Jersey Group III Playoffs.
"My first year, we were under .500, but we won a state game," Casale said. "Last year, we were about .500, made it to (sectional) semis. Coming in with seniors this year, we were able to make a little bit of noise, finished in top 10 of Shore and get to the Shore Conference final for the first time in 40 years. We would like to have finished it off with a championship, but it was a lot of fun to finish the year with that run, especially with so many seniors."
Casale, a 2005 graduate of Toms River North and former infielder at Monmouth University, took over the program for Scran after serving as an assistant under the current Central athletic director for five years. Scran chose his former assistant to take the reins and will now look for someone else to take over a team that graduated six seniors from its regular starting lineup.
"We have been lucky enough at Central to have competitive program over the years," Casale said. "There have been some ups and downs over the years, but throughout it, the program has remained competitive. In my 8 years there, I think Scran nice job and our staff did a good job as well. With the administration, the coaches we have, the parents and the young core that's coming back, I think everything is in place for whoever gets the job."