Former Cub CIF Division I Player of the Year named Director of Scouting at UCLA
DREW CASANI '91, the 1990 CIF Southern Section Division I Defensive Player of the Year and one of Loyola's most beloved former players, has accepted the position of Director of Scouting for the UCLA football program. Casani previously worked as a scout for the San Francisco 49ers when current UCLA head coach Jim Mora served as the 'Niners' defensive coordinator.
Casani joins former Cub All-Del Rey League offensive lineman PATRICK GIRARDI '99 on the Bruins' football staff. Girardi is UCLA's Director of Recruiting & Player Personnel. There are currently five former Loyola players on the Bruins' football roster (punter STEFAN FLINTOFT '14, defensive back JASON BAKER '15, linebacker WINSTON ANAWALT '17, tight end CONNOR BEADLES '17 and safety RYAN PARKS '17).
Casani is one of the greatest linebackers to ever play for the Cubs. Under head coach STEVE GRADY '63, he led the defense en route to Loyola's 1990 CIF Southern Section Division I title. Casani is a Cub legend. The bruising linebacker played three quarters of the section championship tilt at Anaheim Stadium with a broken leg. His championship game exploits were extolled in a Los Angeles Times column penned by the late sportswriter Alan Malamud.
Casani coached for several seasons at Loyola, including at the varsity level. He served as the sophomore defensive coordinator in the late '90s under then sophomore head coach GEORGE PATON '87, who is now the Assistant General Manager of the Minnesota Vikings, for whom former Cub standout and UCLA All-American ANTHONY BARR '10 is a starting All-Pro outside linebacker. Paton and Casani coached the 1996 soph squad to a perfect 10-0 record. Casani has also served as the Vice President of Events for the Loyola Gridiron Vanguard (loyolagridironvanguard.com), a Cub Football support group formed in late 2014.
Mora's youngest son is a running back on the Loyola freshman team and his son, Ryder '17, was a standout player on back-to-back US Lacrosse Southern Section Cub championship teams. Ryder will be competing as a freshman scholarship player at the University of Maryland.
There can be little doubt that there is a strong Loyola-UCLA football connection.