Fred “The Count” Casotti was associated with University of Colorado athletics for 50 years. He passed away at the age of 77 in Louisville, Colorado on October 12th, 2001.
Casotti graduated from the University of Colorado in 1949 with a degree in journalism. After returning to his native Iowa for three years to work as the Assistant Sports Editor of the Council Bluffs Nonpariel, he returned to Colorado midway during the 1952 football season to take over as the Buffs’ Sports Publicity Director. Little did he realize then it would be the beginning of a half-century-long association with CU athletics.
He worked as the CU athletic department’s publicity man through 1968, when football coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder named him associate athletic director. He remained in that capacity until 1985, when nearing the end of his professional career, he took on the title of special assistant to athletic director Bill Marolt. He helped Marolt, only the third athletic director in CU history, set up his administration until retiring from CU in 1987.
Dave Plati, CU’s most recent sports information director, named Casotti the school’s official historian shortly thereafter, and Fred worked for years coordinating alumni, media and video requests, special projects, reunion banquets, and even helped with CU’s football scheduling for a number of years. Despite battling the effects from the first series of strokes, he still took calls from those inquiring about CU’s history and helped with the new exhibit about the history of CU athletics that is now on public display at the Heritage Center on the CU campus. Fred, who could attach humor to anything, once described his role as historian as, “one that demands great age.”
Long respected as one of the nation’s top athletic publicity men, Casotti developed a personal style unmatched by any in the profession. He used poetry and limericks throughout his press releases, which brought unprecedented attention to CU’s athletic program as it burst on the national scene in the 1950’s. The same brand of humor and uniqueness made him a hit on the banquet circuit, both in Colorado and around the nation.
Fred summed up his success in a 1996 one-page resume of his career, found in his CU athletic department file, this way: “Blending a perky personality with the required minimum of talent, he (Casotti) quickly established a reputation by spicing his news releases with questionable limericks which caught his readers’ eyes but not necessarily those of his superiors. But he rode out some storms and continued to pump out his doggerel.”
Some of the greatest relationships he forged came about from his association with the United States Ski Team. He was a press aide at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, and was the manager of the U.S. Alpine team for the 1964 Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria. He also wrote three books about CU football, and was interested in writing one about women’s basketball, even after suffering a series of strokes.
In 1996, Casotti was inducted into the College Sports Information Director’s (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame, the first and only CU employee to earn the profession’s highest honor. In 2001, the fourth level of CU’s press box at Folsom Field, informally known for years as Writer’s Row, was renamed on his behalf.
Long respected as one of the nation’s top athletic publicity men, Casotti developed a personal style unmatched by any in the profession.