A Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 co-educational independent day school in Westchester County, New York

RCDS Mourns the Loss of Beloved Advisor and Coach Richard Caster

Rye Country Day School mourns the loss of NFL player and beloved RCDS coach and advisor Richard Caster. Mr. Caster passed away on Friday, February 2, after a battle with Parkinson's Disease. His contributions to Rye Country Day were essential to the School’s diversity and inclusion efforts and the athletics program.

Photo Courtesy: New York Jets 

Richard Caster played football at Jackson State and was drafted to the New York Jets in 1970. He played eight seasons for the Jets and had 245 receptions for 4,434 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He played the following five seasons with the Houston Oilers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Washington franchise. He finished his 13-year career with 322 receptions, 5,515 yards, and 45 touchdowns, averaging 17.1 yards per catch. Playing at 6-foot-5, and 228 pounds, Mr. Caster helped to revolutionize the tight end position with both his size and 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash. He went on to become a three-time Pro Bowl tight end (1972, 1974, and 1975) with the New York Jets. He retired from football in 1983. Mr. Caster is in the Jackson State Hall of Fame and a member of its All-Century and All-Centennial Teams.

In 1985, the New York Times reported on Mr. Caster’s role at RCDS as a football coach and as a counselor and admissions recruiter for Black students. In 1979, he helped run a football clinic at RCDS, which began his official relationship with the School. The New York Times article details that Mr. Caster’s inspiration to work in a school setting came from volunteer work he had done as a New York Jet. At the time, Mr. Caster was appointed in similar roles to the faculty of both Greenwich Country Day and Rye Country Day.

As a beloved counselor and advisor, Mr. Caster played a critical role in the experience of Black students at RCDS between the years of 1985 and 1992. Alumna and trustee Sarah Dodds-Brown ’91 recalled, “For a number of us African-American students who were enrolled at the time, Mr. Caster and, briefly, Terry Denson were our only black faculty members at the School.” Expanding on his meaningful work as the faculty advisor to the African-American Culture Club, Ms. Dodds-Brown shared, “He helped us to create the club, which was an important space for students to come together and create impact. We raised funds and sponsored a child in Burkina Faso, and we successfully advocated for a Black history elective to be added to the curriculum, bringing authors like Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison to our high school experience.”

Alumna and former Alumni Executive Board member Michele Michèle Lallemand Brazil ’92 shared similar sentiments of admiration in her heartfelt remembrance of Mr. Caster. “Richard Caster played two significant roles in my life. Not only was he my advisor in the African-American Culture Club, but he also coached the Girls’ Tennis program. At first, many of us were skeptical. How could a Super Bowl champion coach us? But he did, and he did it exceptionally well. Mr. Caster was a gentle giant whose tall stature commanded attention, yet he never flaunted it. His infectious smile and hearty laugh were contagious, but when it was time to hit the court, we all snapped to attention. Under his guidance, we played to win. Practices were tough, but our record reflected our dedication. He brought us together as a team, fostering a spirit of camaraderie and support. I’ll always remember his Super Bowl ring, our team’s lucky charm, which he never failed to wear to a match. Mr. Caster was a gentle, loving soul who will be deeply missed.”

Rye Country Day will forever remember Mr. Caster’s meaningful contributions to our community. His mentorship, kindness, and commitment to cultivating an inclusive, supportive environment for students will live on.