Aug. 5, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former University of Notre Dame football All-America tight end David Casper will be enshrined in the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame at an Aug. 28 ceremony in Atlanta.
The 1973 consensus All-American is one of 24 former college players and coaches who will be enshrined–including the 2012 Football Bowl Subdivision class and the 2013 Divisional inductees. The ’12 FBS class previously was inducted at the 55th annual awards dinner last December at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
The NFF will stage the 2013 enshrinement ceremony at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta. Hosted by the NFF, Atlanta Hall Management and the Atlanta Sports Council, the event marks the first time that Atlanta will preside over the enshrinement. The celebration builds on the significant progress made on the construction of the new 94,256-square-foot home for the Hall, which will open in the fall of 2014 in the heart of Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park sports, tourism and entertainment district.
Enshrinement will provide fans an opportunity to meet the Hall of Famers and hear first-hand about their legendary exploits in college. Tickets, priced at $200 each, are available to the public by visiting www.CFBHall.com/enshrinement or by calling 404.586.1906. Tables of 10 also may be purchased for $2,000 each. The celebration starts at 6 p.m. EDT in the Grand Ballroom of the Omni, followed by a 7 p.m. dinner, a preview of the upcoming college football season by top television analysts and the official enshrinement ceremony. Ticket sales close Aug. 21.
Casper became 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.
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 the 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 scholarships from 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, Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert.
A second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 1974 NFL Draft (45th overall selection), 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 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 Cottage Grove, Minn., 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).