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Boot Hill Bowl player Casagrande enjoying Iowa country life
May 23, 2011
Bob Casagrande, one of the players who helped Dakota State win the Boot Hill Bowl in December of 1971, was ready to mow grass on his 200-acre spread near Corning, Iowa in early May.
A teacher at Proviso East High School in Maywood who was a former General Beadle (Dakota State) made a call to Coach Lee Moran at Dakota State in the spring of 1971.
In turn, Moran sent DSC's director of the physical plant, Ed Tyc, to talk to Casagrande and make the pitch to the Proviso senior to attend the Madison college.
Beginning in his freshman year, Casagrande started a rewarding college football career.
Playing as a linebacker, Casagrande helped the Trojans to a 9-2 season, including a win in the Boot Hill Bowl at Dodge City, Kan., which (at that time) was the first win by a South Dakota college in a post-season bowl.
"That was the real highlight of my footbal career being a part of the Boot Hill Bowl team," said Casagrande. "It was a great win playing with a great bunch of guys."
As a sophomore, he was forced due to team injuries; to play both ways due to various player injuries.
He still played on defense as a linebacker, but then played as starting center on offense for a half season.
In his four-year career at Dakota State, the Trojans were 25-14.
Casagrande earned All-South Dakota Iowa Conference (SDIC) honors in the loop three times, starting with his sophomore season onward. As a junior and senior, he was an All-NAIA Dist. 12 player.
For the Trojans, Casagrande was the team's most valuable defensive player. He was also the squad's most valuable player as a senior, when he was also one of the team's captains.
Casagrande had lived in the Des Moines area until recently when he made the transition to rural Iowa living.
He wants to see his and his wife Taj's two children, an 11-year-old daughter, Chloe, and son, Kyle, who is 10, to enjoy the good life in rural America, which he experienced while attending Dakota State in Madison from 1971 to 1975.
Prior to coming to Madison in the fall of 1971, Casagrande had spent his early life at Maywood, Ill. near Chicago.
After graduating from Dakota State, Casagrande went on to coach and teach at Sioux City Heelan for 13 year before going into the insurance/financial field.
He worked at Met Life for three years before establishing BCA Financial Incorporated at West Des Moines, which has been in operation for the past 20-plus years.
Dan Holsworth, Dakota State University Athletics Assistant
Edited by Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director