Now he’s on the home team and he’s hoping to continue that trend.
Casper was introduced as the men’s soccer coach at East Tennessee State on Thursday during a press conference held at the stadium. The new coach comes to ETSU from Kentucky, where he served as an assistant for six years.
“It’s hard to play here,” Casper said. “ETSU is prideful of their home field, and that’s definitely what we’re going to do. We’re not going to lose here. Every time we came down, we knew it was a battle. That’s what we expect.”
The 35-year-old Casper takes over for Bo Oshoniyi, who left ETSU to coach at Dartmouth.
Casper coached the goalkeepers at Kentucky. He also spent three seasons as an assistant coach at St. Francis and a year at William Paterson. He was the starting goalie on the NCAA Division III national championship team at Messiah College in 2002.
While Casper coached at Kentucky, the Wildcats made three trips to face the Bucs. The teams each won one game and another ended in a tie. Spending that time in Johnson City gave Casper a pretty good feel for an ETSU program that has made two appearances in the NCAA tournament.
“ETSU has everything you want,” he said. “It has a great facility, great fans and a great community. The fans are passionate. And at the end of the day, they’ve had success. Knowing they’ve had success and having a chance to build on that, I couldn’t be more happy to be here.”
The Bucs are scheduled to play at Kentucky this fall. That’s the final game in the current contract between the two schools, but Casper said he hopes to continue the relationship into the future.
Casper will return to Lexington, Kentucky, before coming back in the middle of next week to take over a program that has won the last two Southern Conference regular-season championships.
“The goals are to win,” Casper said. “At the end of the day, sports is about winning and losing.
“It’s about developing the players. This program is going to be based off of that. It’s not about me. It’s not about the success I can have. It’s about the success we can have with these young guys.”
Brad Camp, a volunteer assistant coach for the team last season, led the program since Oshoniyi left and Casper said he hopes to keep him on the staff.
Casper is the second head coach hired by Scott Carter, who took over as ETSU’s athletic director last year.
“David Casper brings great integrity, competitive spirit and a focus on developing the complete young man to his new role as head coach of ETSU men’s soccer,” Carter said. “His success in Division I college soccer has prepared him well to lead our program to championships in the Southern Conference.”