“Mo” Cassara ’97 – into the Upper Echelons of College Coaching
By Joe Keniston ’05
R. Morgan “Mo” Cassara ’97 knows as well as anyone how difficult it is to become a Division I head basketball coach. He’s dreamed of it since he was a child growing up in the North Country playing for Gerry Hourihan at Canton High School, and worked toward it after finishing a solid playing career with the Saints in 1997, under coaches Bob Sheldon and Paul Evans.
After several assistant coaching gigs, including jobs at Boston College, Dayton College, Washington & Lee and The Citadel, Cassera landed his first collegiate head coaching position with the Hofstra University Pride last May.
"I learned at a young age to never quit on something that you really care about,” said Cassara in an interview with the Watertown Daily Times last spring. “I'm really looking forward to this opportunity. I just kept pushing ahead. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time."
Cassara’s road to the head spot on Hofstra’s bench is a strange one. He was dismissed from Boston College when head coach Al Skinner was let go at the end of the 2009-10 season. He landed at Hofstra when newly-hired head coach Tim Welsh offered him an assistant position on April 1. When Welsh resigned following a drunken driving charge in early May, Cassara had already made an impression and was named the head coach a few days later.
Cassara starts his career in impressive fashion. He makes his head-coaching debut in November when the Pride square off with Roy Williams’ powerful North Carolina Tar Heels.