Michigan football coaches Steve Casula Lou Esposito third shared place


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For the third times in their careers, Lou Esposito and Steve Casula have found themselves roaming the same sideline but in a different uniform.

From their shared tenures at Western Michigan, Davenport, and now Michigan football, the duo have always seemed to find each other. And in the latest case, it wasn’t even close to expected.

While Casula, a former Michigan offensive analyst who had taken the UMass offensive coordinator job after the 2021 season, was an early hire by new head coach Sherrone Moore, Esposito was a late addition, a replacement for embattled new defensive line coach Greg Scruggs, who was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. But the pair have reunited, and considering the relationship they have, it’s a positive that there’s a strong camaraderie between the two.

“So it’s funny, I was with Espo from 2010-12 at Western Michigan, and then 14-16 at Davenport,” Casula said. “My son’s birthday was yesterday. And I remember when he was born like two days later, we played the first ever spring game at Davenport. And now you look up and eight years later, give or take a couple of days where we’ve been coaching against each other again in the spring game at the University of Michigan.

“He’s one of my best friends in the world. Our wives are best friends. He’s living with me right now, which is awesome. But Espo as a coach, he coaches guys hard, loves them harder. He’s very similar to Coach Moore in that respect. But big-time energy, has had a ton of experience. Obviously he’s a Division-II college head coach, coordinator in the MAC.

“I can’t say enough good things about Lou. But I’m the wrong guy to ask probably. I’m biased — he’s family to me.”

Esposito has generally been ahead of Casula on the organization chart in one way or another. At Western Michigan, he was an on-field coach working with the defensive line while Casula got his start as a graduate assistant in 2011 before becoming the tight ends coach in 2012. In 2014, when Esposito was charged with coaching the first-ever football team at Davenport, he hired Casula to oversee the offense.

Now that they’re both in Ann Arbor together, Esposito shared why he hired Casula at Davenport and why he’s excited to work together with him with the maize and blue.

“He connects with guys. He gets the most out of guys,” Esposito said. “The second thing was he’s a tireless recruiter. And he works at it all the time. And he has an unbelievable knack of remembering guys.

“We would be in recruiting meetings and he was a (graduate assistant) and he would say, ‘Hey, coach, player 56, the guy really dipped his shoulder and dipped around the edge there and made a tackle.’ And I’d be like — I know that we just watched 10,000 clips, and he would just regurgitate all that information. So I knew right then.

“And then he’s a better person than he is a coach. Like his family — I’m actually staying at his place now. I just told him I’m the best house guest he’s ever had. I won’t tell his parents that because they’re pretty good. But he’s a better person, like that guy will give you literally give you the shirt off his back. And that’s that’s why I knew from the jump. I want to surround myself with as many good people as you can.”

The odd part for both is that they’re each from the East Coast (Casula is from Delaware while Esposito is from New Jersey) but both have spent the bulk of their coaching careers in the state of Michigan.

Both have coached at Western Michigan, Davenport, Ferris State (though they weren’t there at the same time), and now Michigan.



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