Dave Casper headed to Hall of FamePublished 11:06pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012
NOTRE DAME — Former University of Notre Dame football All-American David Casper Tuesday has been named to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame.
The 1973 consensus All-American is one of 14 former college players and three coaches named to the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame Class. The ‘12 class will be inducted at the 55th annual awards dinner on Dec. 4, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The players and coaches will be enshrined in the summer of 2013.
Casper becomes the 44th former Notre Dame player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The Irish have six former coaches in the hall and the 50 total enshrines are the most of any NCAA institution, the most recent being Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown in 2009.
Born in Bemidji, Minn., Casper played his first three years of high school football at St. Edward Central Catholic High School in Elgin, Ill., and his senior campaign at Chilton High School in Chilton, Wis. His Chilton team in 1969 outscored its opponents 363-0.
The 6-3, 243-pound Irish tight end served as co-captain of the 1973 Notre Dame team that finished 11-0 and won the national title on a consensus basis after a 24-23 victory over top-rated and unbeaten Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. He caught three passes for 75 yards in that contest.
Casper played his first two seasons at offensive left tackle in 1971 and ’72 (he started final four games as a sophomore, then won honorable mention All-America honors in 1972 from Associated Press), then switched to tight end as a senior. Former Irish coach Ara Parseghian called Casper the best athlete he ever coached.
Casper finished with 21 career catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns, with all but two of those receptions coming in his senior campaign in ’73. He was a participant in the 1974 College All-Star Game and the Hula Bowl. Selected Notre Dame’s offensive MVP in ’73, he also played earlier in his Notre Dame career as a linebacker, defensive tackle and split end.
In 1973, Casper earned first-team All-America recognition from United Press International, the American Football Coaches Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, Football Writers Association of America and the Walter Camp Football Foundation—plus second-team honors from AP. In 2003 the Walter Camp Football Foundation named him its Alumnus of the Year.
A standout in the classroom, Casper earned postgraduate scholarshipsfrom the NCAA and the National Football Foundation after the 1973 season. The NCAA presented him its prestigious Silver Anniversary Award in 1999 for career achievements. With a 3.6 grade-point average, he earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1973 (following second-team notice in ’72)—then in 1993 he was chosen to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Casper began a long run of outstanding Notre Dame tight ends that also has included Irish all-stars Ken MacAfee, Tony Hunter, Mark Bavaro, Derek Brown, Irv Smith, Anthony Fasano, John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph, as well ascurrent Irish tight end Tyler Eifert, a 2011 first-team All-America selection.
A second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1974 NFL Draft (45th overall pick), Casper played 11 seasons professionally with Oakland (1974-80), Houston (1980-83), Minnesota (1983) and the Los Angeles Raiders (1984). He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. A NFL Pro Bowl pick in five consecutive seasons (1976-80), Casper was named to the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Dream Team and to the NFL 1970s All-Decade team. He was a four-time all-pro pick (1976-79). He helped the Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl XI (32-14 over Minnesota on Jan. 9, 1977, in Pasadena).
Casper now joins former Irish standouts Wayne Millner, George Connor, Paul Hornung and Alan Page in an exclusive group as members of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Casper’s pro career featured 378 receptions for 5,216 yards and 52 TDs. His top seasons included 62 catches (fifth in the NFL) for 852 yards and nine TDs in 1978 and 57 for 771 and three TDs in 1978 (both years with the Raiders). He played in 147 NFL games.
He worked as a color commentator on NFL games for NBC Sports in 1987-88—and he joined the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Casper received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Notre Dame in 1974 as a cum laude graduate. He was a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon honor society in economics.
Now living in Alamo, Calif., the 60-year-old Casper serves as a financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance.
Casper is a member of the Sports Faith International (a Chicago-based initiative dedicated to inspiring and transforming culture through sports) Hall of Fame in Lake Forest, Ill.
He also is involved with fundraising projects through several Notre Dame alumni clubs — and he works with the Cristo Rey Network (24 Catholic college prep schools for urban young people with limited educational options).