My wife, Denice, and I were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Len Casanova.
"Cas" was a special assistant to the athletic department when I arrived at Oregon in 1981 as the Ducks' new AD. Having come from Michigan, I was new to athletic administration and Eugene. I had succeeded John Caine and had not yet hired Bill Byrne as my fund-raiser, and no one in Oregon had ever heard of me. To say that the university had taken a chance by hiring me is an understatement, and I am sure the decision left many people scratching their heads.
Thankfully, Herb Yamanaka adopted me immediately and put me up in his home for a few weeks, and Cas took it upon himself to make sure I was properly introduced to the community.
As had been the case with so many coaches and athletic directors before, Cas not only showed me around, but also told me who might give us money and, frankly, who not to waste my time with. But he was constantly admonishing me that there were always more fish in the pond and that I should "get out more."
He set up appointments for me at a furious pace and, since he would always accompany me on those first meetings with different prospects, it was hard to say that I couldn't keep up; after all, he was 75 and I was 39.
I know that I speak for a long line of Oregon athletic directors when I say that Cas deserves a lot of credit for all the success that the Duck athletic program has enjoyed most recently. He and his wife, Margaret, were great friends to all of us and we, along with Ducks everywhere, will miss him sorely.
The Register-Guard Sports department welcomes letters on all sporting topics. The length limit is 250 words. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. An address and daytime telephone number are needed for verification purposes; this information will not be published or released.
Mail letters to Sound Off, P.O. Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the Editor|
|Date:||Oct 20, 2002|
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