Born to a relatively poor family in Los Angeles, 1939, Pat was a relatively undersized kid who was often the subject of incessant bullying from other neighborhood kids. He lived in a rough suburb and toughness and fortitude was a necessary requirement for physical survival.
Enter a 110lb Paramount barbell set and a gradual but steady increase in muscle mass and overall strength ensued.
Pat credited his apprenticeship into the iron game as much a development of character and confidence as it was of strength. He ran with a rough crowd as a youth but the discipline required for him to progress physically also gave him mental fortitude. As his body grew so did these other characteristics and his association with petty crime was soon abandoned. Subsequently, he became a talented football player and field events athlete during his high school years.
As his strength grew, Casey switched his training venue to Redpath’s Gym. He started bodybuilding training, winning the 1956 Mr George Washington contest and placing fifth in the Teen Mr. America event at the age of 16 years old. By the age of 17 he was already benching in excess of 400lbs. This was an era where a 400lb bench press was a rare feat!
Pat’s focus then turned to strength training under the tutelage of Gene Mozee at his Pasadena gym. He entered various strength contests at Muscle Beach and wowed onlookers with his bench pressing ability at such a young age. Casey trained alongside many prominent iron gamers of the day and their influence pushed Pat even further along his chosen path.
Pat Casey went on to be known as the “King of Powerlifters”. He was the first man to bench 600lbs and squat at 800lbs and total 2000lbs – this in an age when the term “bench shirt” and “squat suit” wasn’t a part of powerlifting terminology.
Pat’s training was varied. Rather than just concentrating on the three big lifts he was known for his penchant for assistance work. Whether this was the influence of his early bodybuilding work or just a love of all aspects of strength exercise – only he would know.
Unfortunately, Patrick Joseph Casey died from cancer in April 22, 2005. He was a true legend and one of the greatest powerlifters. Anyone who said that he made an impact in the world of powerlifting has a great gift for the understatement.
For a more complete bio on Pat Casey by one of his contemporaries, Bruce Wilhelm: click here