About Jim Casada


I was born on January 28, 1942 and have always considered myself a son of the Smokies thanks to being born and raised in Bryson City, NC. I cut my sporting teeth hunting and fishing around this small mountain town and was blessed by growing up in an era and in a rural setting where people were close, cared for one another, and held values such as patriotism and a staunch work ethic in the highest regard. A “corner of my soul” still belongs to the high country.

After a 1960 graduation from Swain County High School, a school then blessed by a bevy of dedicated teachers, my undergraduate work was at Presbyterian-affiliated King College (now King University) in Bristol, TN. Completion of an M. A. (Virginia Tech—1968) and Ph. D. (Vanderbilt University—1972) followed, with study and research on the history of the British Empire. Then followed a stint of 25 years as a professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, where I still live. I took early retirement in 1996 to pursue fulltime work as a freelance writer, and that’s been my life from that point until today. While at Winthrop I rose to the rank of tenured full professor, was recognized as the institution’s Distinguished Professor (1983), served two terms as Chair of the Graduate Faculty, and won a number of teaching awards. In a decidedly odd development, 12 of my academic years also saw me start and coach the men’s soccer program at Winthrop. That was thanks to having a background of playing the sport in undergraduate school and then semi-professionally as well as being certified as a national level official in soccer. 

I was a founding member and am a past president of the South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPe), am a member and president (two different terms) of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA), was a founding board member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, and past president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA).

Over the years it has been my good fortune to win some 250 excellence in craft awards for my work. I am an Honorary Life Member and recipient of the Arnold Gingrich Memorial Award from Fly Fishers International, an inaugural inductee into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame, and am in the Southern Trout Legends of the Fly Hall of Fame. In 2007 the National Wild Turkey Federation honored me as its Communicator of the Year. I am a member of the Swain County High School Athletic Hall of Fame (basketball), the Winthrop University Athletic Hall of Fame (soccer coach), and the York County (SC) Soccer Hall of Fame. SCOPe honored me with its Lifetime Achievement Award and both SEOPA and OWAA with their service awards.

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