Any parent of a school-age athlete, regardless of skill level, commitment or college scholarship prospects, knows the sort of chaos that must be coordinated when it comes to practice schedules, game locations and transportation, along with the need for clean uniforms, water bottles and equipment all to make it to school with their young athletes. 

Now imagine managing all that for 80-plus kids every day, every season, for the whole school year plus part of the summer and holiday breaks. 

That’s the job of an athletic director. 

But at the Basilica School on Truman Avenue, which welcomes students in kindergarten through 12th grade, Clark Cascio, known as Coach Cascio to the students, does even more. As anyone who has attended or worked at a Catholic school knows, everyone does more than their job description states. In addition to being the school’s full-time athletic director, Cascio coaches high school and middle school volleyball, as well as cross country, soccer and basketball. 

“Our JV volleyball team went undefeated last year, never lost a single set and beat Key West High School’s JV team,” he said proudly from his office in the school’s gymnasium. The Basilica School also won the annual track meet among fifth graders at Key West schools, which is held each spring.

Soccer is a relatively new undertaking for the school, where Cascio completed a feasibility study to determine whether the sport would work for the student population, which it has.

“One of the biggest challenges for schools in the Keys is finding other teams to come down and play us, and to schedule our away games on the mainland with as little disruption to class time as possible,” he said.

Cascio travels with the teams to every away game in Homestead and Miami, often scheduling games Friday and Saturday mornings to make each trip to the mainland worth it, he said.

“I really, really enjoy what I do,” said Cascio, who is finishing up his second year as the school’s full-time athletic director.

Oh, and did we mention he also teaches geography and physical education?

Cascio was a student at a Catholic high school in Tallahassee, where Basilica School principal Robert Wright worked before Key West.

“I ran into him in Tallahassee when I was still in college at Florida State, and he asked me what my summer plans were,” Cascio recalled.

He ended up spending that summer in Key West, where he ran the Basilica School’s summer camps. Once he completed his master’s degree in a sports recruiting field, he did an internship in the FSU football recruiting office.

“But that was during COVID, when no one was hiring,” he said. “When the job as athletic director opened up here at the Basilica School, I was all for it. I love living here. I just bought my first little boat. And I love what we’re doing here at the Basilica School. I feel that what we offer here is something special, and the kids know it as well. I’m beyond proud of our students and our offerings and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.