Coaches Corner

Program Director
Cassandra Dunn

Sports has held a special place in Cassandra’s heart her entire life. She grew up in northern Minnesota playing any sport she could get her hands on. Her family moved to Naperville in 1993 where Cassandra pursued golf, softball, gymnastics and basketball. She has loved the game of softball for as long as she can remember and played through high school on the Naperville Central HS team and several organizations in Naperville and Minnesota in the summers. Cassandra competed on the NCAA Division I level as a member of the golf team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduated with a degree in consumer education and marketing. Cassandra currently lives in Aurora with her husband, Tim and daughters Kendall and Addyson, and works professionally as a real estate broker.

Coaching youth sports is Cassandra’s greatest passion, because she wants sports to positively impact young athletes the way they have positively influenced her entire life. Cassandra started coaching WAA Rec Softball with her older daughter in 2013 and added Spikes head coach to her resume in the fall of 2017 when her younger daughter joined the program. Cassandra pulled double head coaching duties for three summers until her oldest started high school. “The most amazing part of that experience was watching the same group of players look forward to returning every year to compete with their team.”

Cassandra is in her 7th season as a Spike’s coach. Over the last three seasons her team has finished in the top 3 of 15 tournaments, with 4 Championships and 7 second place finishes. “It has been so rewarding to watch them improve and grow year after year. I want each athlete that I have the opportunity to work with to fall in love with the sport and have the desire to strive to improve their game and take the lessons that they learn on the field and apply them to their lives now and as they grow into young adults. I look forward to continuing the wonderful reputation the Spike’s organization has developed.”

Player Development Coach & Recruitment Coach (13U-18U)
Katie Klen: [email protected]

Klen has a long history with the Spikes, dating back to the program’s beginning. She not only brings an extensive background and knowledge of the sport but is extremely passionate about growing the game and the future development of softball with the athletes’ best interests in mind.

Following her dream of attending the University of Arizona, Klen joined the softball staff at Arizona as their video coordinator 2012-2016. After graduation Klen pursued her master’s degree in Sports Management at Northern Illinois and was the volunteer assistant softball coach, 2016-2018.

“I have a lot of passion for this program and the opportunities it gave me throughout my life and I am excited to give back to the program and hopefully give another young girl the opportunity to dream big and succeed.”

Player Development Coach & Trainer (8U-12U)
Deanna Salerno

When Coach Dee was growing up I was all about sports. She played her share of basketball and volleyball, but the one sport that would stick with her forever was softball. “Softball was easily one of the best things to come into my life.  It has impacted me in ways I will never be able to fully express.”

Deanna played nearly all of her rec and travel career through WAA and the Spikes program. Beyond the Spikes, she played on the Oswego East High School team as well as four years in college at the NCAA Division III level at the University of Dubuque. She will be graduating from the University of Dubuque in December 2023 with a degree in elementary education and  endorsements in reading and special education.  Deanna is starting her 4th season as an assistant coach on the Spikes 15U team.

“My passion to teach and to coach youth sports stems from the positive and impactful experiences I had in school and playing in the Spikes program. The best part of my coaching experience has been watching my players grow into fantastic ball players and people. It is beyond rewarding to watch them succeed and come back each season wanting to achieve more than they did the season before.”

As a coach in this program, Coach Dee’s goal is to continue growing the love of the game for each player in the program and to help them develop into the best players they can possibly be. “The Spikes program has given me so much, and I am excited to be able to give back to them and give our players the positive experiences I had when I was growing up.”

Spikes Softball Co-Director: Mark Herrick

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