Loyola hires Drew Casani '91 as its Varsity Head Football Coach

Loyola hires legendary former Cub star Drew Casani to lead its football program

Shortly after Loyola won the 1990 CIF Southern Section Division I championship, it was written:

"The moment, more than any other, that defined Loyola's fourth CIF Major Division Football Championship season, that capsulized and characterized the spirit and strength of the 1990 Cubs, came late in the first quarter of the Division I title game at Anaheim Stadium on December 7. CIF Southern Section Defensive Player-of-the-Year, team captain, team leader and as tough an inside linebacker as you will ever see, DREW CASANI, fractured his leg. And he continued to play. To play for three more grueling quarters . . . for the pride, for the tradition, for the championship, for the Loyola Cubs."

On Monday, Loyola announced that Casani has been hired to take over the reins of the Cub Football program as Varsity Head Coach.

There is no question that Casani is a leader of men, as was exemplified by his heroic performance in the CIF title game at Anaheim Stadium 28 years ago, and which accorded him legendary status in the hallowed pantheon of star players in Loyola's storied football history. 

The game of football has been a central focus of Casani's life ever since his playing days as a Cub came to an end on that December weekend in 1990. He continued his grid career as a walk-on linebacker at Arizona State University until a back injury ended his playing days. Casani concluded his collegiate studies at Loyola Marymount University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Business Management.

In his first foray into coaching, Casani served as the defensive coordinator for undefeated Loyola sophomore league championship teams in 1995 and 1996. The head coach of those squads was GEORGE PATON '87, the Cub MVP in 1986 and now the assistant General Manager of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

Following his inaugural coaching stint at his prep alma mater, Casani moved to the professional ranks where he served in various capacities for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, holding the titles of College Scouting Assistant, Player Personnel Assistant and Assistant to Director of Player Personnel/Draft Coordinator. Following his tenure with the 49ers, Casani worked with the St. Louis Rams as the organization's West Coast Area College Scout, a job that entailed the demanding task of evaluating over 500 college prospects every year in preparation for the NFL draft. Casani served as Loyola's varsity defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2008, in between his stints with the 49ers and Rams.

After a brief time in the business world, the lure of football called yet again. Casani was hired as UCLA's Director of Scouting in 2017, a job in which he oversaw the Bruins' Scouting Department, which was charged with the task of identifying and evaluating potential prep recruits. Following the departure of UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora after the 2017 season, Casani was called to duty once gain at Loyola in 2018. He served as the varsity's inside linebackers coach and College Recruiting Coordinator.

Casani's wealth of experience at the high school, collegiate and NFL levels, especially in the area of player evaluation, will be a significant asset in his role as the leader of Cub Football. The former Cub star describes his new job as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

While he immensely values the lessons he learned as a former player and coach under legendary Loyola head man STEVE GRADY (1976-2004, record :269-77-6), Casani acknowledges that the game has changed in many respects, as have the young men who compete, since his days as a player and young coach. It is noteworthy that Grady, one of Casani's most valued and esteemed mentors, earned CIF Southern Section AAAA Player-of-the-Year honors in 1962 as a tailback for the Cubs' undefeated CIF AAAA title team. Could that ironic coincidence be a predictor of successes to come under Casani's tutelage? Legions of Loyola supporters hope it will. Indeed Casani understands first hand what it takes to build - and sustain - a championship football program.

The charismatic Casani will be sure to focus on the heart of every player as he knows first hand that team building is as important as any aspect of coaching. Optimism abounds that Casani will lead the Cubs back to their status among California's all-time great football programs.

Casani has hit the ground running. His primary, immediate task is hiring a highly qualified offensive coordinator. He is very close to making a decision on some impressive candidates.

Casani loves Loyola. That is a perfect emotion with which to commence his exciting new undertaking.