Marty Casey celebrates 30 years with the Phelps program, serving Eastern Kentucky

By: Jeff Archer Email
By: Jeff Archer Email

The mountains are full of people who have given so much of their lives to the student athletes of southeastern Kentucky.

For 30 years there has been one constant for Phelps Athletics and that is Marty Casey. The legendary equipment manager began his career with the hornets back in 1982.

"It's all about the kids, from Day 1. This has always been my love." Marty Casey said.

"The kids have really kept me going. They keep you hopping from day they keep you hopping." Said Casey.

"Marty's the type of guy that's going to be the first guy in the office, the last guy to leave and he never sits down. So we'll be in the office sitting around talking about what we're GOING to do while Marty's out doing it." Phelps football coach Jesse Peck said.

Marty's non-stop attitude and his love for the student athletes that he works with shows in the players.

"He inspires me so much to just keep working hard everyday and try your best to get better." Colby Hatfield, a lineman for the team said.

"He teaches and instills into our guys hard work, work ethic, what it means to be on time. What it means to never slow down and do whatever it takes to get the job done." Coach Peck said.

While football may be his love, he is known for helping in all sports.

"And it's not just for me, it's for every sport at Phelps. During the basketball season you'll see him with coach Varney or coach VanHoose on the bench. And he's doing the same thing. Well I can't say on the bench because he's always running back and forth." Peck said.

That commitment and dedication to Phelps have kept him around for 3 decades.

But season number 30 almost didn't come for Marty.

"My cell phone rung and it was the Doctor's office and they said, you're going to have to go Lexington to have this done. It was some cancer. We found it on the side of your face." Marty Casey said.

"It was very hard. I cried every night, but he didn't know that. I was worried, very worried. But he was blessed. God blessed him and they got it of." Eula Fay Casey, Marty's mom said.

"Probably, let's say 3,4 or 5 days later here I am back on the football field. It takes a lot to keep me down." Marty Casey said.

This actually marks the third time Marty has danced with death.

When he was born, doctors told his parents that he would not make it past the age of 1 and during his freshman year of high school, Marty had major back surgery, using rods and wires to replace his shoulder bones and tail bone.

Marty had to learn to crawl again before learning to walk.

Doctors said it would take him 2 years to regain his full capacity.

Marty was back on the sidelines by week 7.

Maybe that's why his quick return to the field this year is not a surprise.

"If anyone else was in the same situation. They would try to take time off. Try to lay around. Try to heel up. But not Marty." Coach Peck said.

"The 30 years that I have put in, I mean it's pretty awesome considering the situation that I'm in." Casey said.

Over his time, Marty has earned numerous awards, including induction into the Phelps Hall of Fame and having a basketball tournament named after him.

Marty Casey is the perfect example to remind us that life is less about what we do, and more about how we do it.

Marty has also been the official ball boy for the All "A" basketball tournament for the past 9 years and the boys Sweet 16 for the past 8.

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