THE CASULLO FILE
Bob Casullo, who served as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech the last four years, begins his first season at Michigan State as special teams and tight ends coach.
The 48-year-old Casullo spent four seasons under George O’Leary at Georgia Tech (1995-98), where he coordinated all the special teams and coached the running backs his first three years and the defensive ends last season.
His special teams played an integral part in helping Georgia Tech, which finished No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, to a 10-2 record overall, including a 35-28 victory over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. The Yellow Jackets led the Atlantic Coast Conference in punt returns (13.2 avg.), kickoff returns (23.5) and net punting (40.0) in 1998. Georgia Tech’s special teams also scored four touchdowns in ’98 - a blocked punt returned by Jason Bostic (2 yards vs. N.C. State), two punt returns by Charlie Rogers (54 yards vs. Virginia and 63 yards vs. Wake Forest) and a kickoff return by Dez White (100 yards vs. Maryland).
“We are extremely fortunate to hire a coach the caliber of Bob Casullo,” Saban said. “He has produced positive results everywhere he’s been an assistant coach. Bob has a wealth of experience, but he’s perhaps best known for his work as a special teams coach. He put together some of the nation’s best special teams units at both Georgia Tech and Syracuse.”
Georgia Tech ranked among the ’98 NCAA leaders in punt returns (No. 14), kickoff returns (No. 14) and net punting (No. 6). According to the individual rankings, Rogers led the ACC and finished sixth nationally in punt returns (14.2 avg.) while White stood second in the league and No. 15 in the NCAA in kickoff returns (26.2). All-America punter Rodney Williams averaged 42.5 yards. Georgia Tech’s kickoff coverage team allowed opponents to average only 19.0 yards per return, with the 22 as the average starting field position.
Last year under his supervision, starting defensive ends Jesse Tarplin, a second-team All-ACC selection, and Nate Stimson combined for 25 tackles for losses (159 yards) and 15 1/2 sacks (151).
During his tenure at Georgia Tech, the special teams consistently were rated among the ACC’s and NCAA’s best while delivering a number of big plays. The Yellow Jackets ranked sixth nationally in net punting (41.0 avg.) in ’97 while blocking two punts and returning a kickoff for a score. In ’96, Georgia Tech again ranked among the NCAA leaders in punt (No. 17 at 12.8 avg.) and kickoff returns (No. 19 at 22.7).
In his first year at Georgia Tech, Casullo helped develop a ground attack that ranked No. 17 nationally, averaging 211.0 yards per game. He coached All-ACC tailback C.J. Williams, who in ’95 became only the fourth 1,000-yard rusher in school history.
Casullo arrived at Georgia Tech following 10 seasons at Syracuse (1985-94), where he coached the tight ends and special teams the last four seasons (1991-94). He previously served as running backs coach for two years (1989-90), recruiting coordinator for two seasons (1987-88), administrative assistant and personnel coordinator for one year (1986) and volunteer assistant coach for one season (1985). Over his final seven seasons, Casullo helped the Orangemen to a combined record of 63-18-3 (.768), including six postseason bowl appearances.
During his stint as special teams coordinator, Syracuse ranked first or second in the Big East Conference in nearly every special teams stat category from 1991-93. Casullo coached the ’93 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year, in placekicker Pat O’Neill. In ’92, he tutored consensus All-America tight end Chris Gedney, who had 34 receptions for 587 yards (17.3 avg.) and five TDs. While serving as running backs coach, he instructed Michael Owens, who became only the fourth rusher in Syracuse history to reach the 1,000-yard milestone in ’89.
The Little Falls, N.Y., native was an honorable mention All-America fullback at Brockport (N.Y.) State College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and political science in 1973. Casullo earned a master’s degree in education from Syracuse in ’78.
Casullo and his wife, Pat, have two sons, Rocco and Jamie.
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