Michelle Dasso, assistant women’s tennis coach at Notre Dame and former head coach at the University of Illinois, has been named head coach for the Campbell women’s tennis program, director of athletics Bob Roller announced.
Dasso was one of the most decorated women’s tennis players in Notre Dame history and was the Fighting Irish’s first four-time All-American. She was named the ITA National Senior Player of the year in 2001 and still holds almost every Notre Dame record, including career singles victories (140), season singles victories (40) and combined wins in one season (74).
This hire marks the first time in nearly two decades that Campbell will have a head coach designated specifically for its women’s program. Head coach David Johnson has been at the helm for both sports since arriving to CU in 1998, and he will continue to lead the men’s program for the Camels.
“This is a big day for our women’s tennis program to have someone with Michelle’s credentials lead Campbell,” Roller said. “Coach Johnson has done a tremendous job juggling both duties, but now both tennis programs can receive the attention needed to compete for championships. Michelle is a national name in women’s tennis and will immediately hit the ground running with her contacts and experience.”
Dasso served as head coach at the University of Illinois from 2006-15 where her teams posted a record of 122-98, including a 56-38 mark in Big Ten Conference play during that span. Dasso guided the Illini to four NCAA tournament appearances and her 2012 team earned a national ranking of No. 21.
“I am so grateful for the confidence Bob Roller has placed in me to lead the women’s tennis program and can’t wait to get to work,” said Dasso. “I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with the Campbell student-athletes. I have tremendous respect for what David Johnson has done over the years coaching both programs and will certainly be using him as a resource. The support staff and fellow coaches I met with during my interview were genuine and impressive. Go Camels!”
A native of Long Grove, Ill., Dasso helped Notre Dame to a 54-24 (.692) record during her first stint as an assistant (2003-06) in South Bend. She was named the 2006 ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Irish to a 27-2 record and an all-time high ranking of No. 2 in the country for eight weeks before falling in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship. In the fall of 2005, she handled the on-court coaching as twins Catrina Thompson and Christian Thompson won the doubles crown in the ITA All-American Championships, marking Notre Dame’s first grand-slam title. The Thompsons became ND’s first-ever national No. 1-ranked team in the spring of 2005.
She spent the 2015-16 season as a volunteer assistant at Duke for head coach Jamie Ashworth and the 2016-17 campaign as an assistant coach under Claire Pollard at Northwestern before returning to her alma mater in the summer of 2017 to work under head coach Jay Louderback.
Over the past 20 seasons, Johnson has guided the Campbell men’s and women’s teams to a combined dual match record of 519-350 (.597). His men have advanced to the Big South final four times in the last five years, won the 2018 championship to earn a berth to the NCAA regionals and collected a 255-182 (.584) overall record. Johnson’s women’s teams have combined to post a 246-168 dual match record (.611) and claimed the 2001 Atlantic Sun Conference title and NCAA regional bid.
“Congratulations to Campbell on the hire of Michelle Dasso; this is a great fit. Having known Michelle throughout our tennis lives as players and then coaches, I am very excited for this opportunity for her. Michelle is an experienced, passionate coach and a tremendous recruiter, and I know she will bring a hunger to succeed to this up and coming program.”
“Campbell hit it out of the park when they landed Michelle. She’s energetic, knowledgeable, industrious, and a class act. Her student athletes are getting a loyal leader who will have their back but make them better people and better tennis players. They will grow, improve, and enjoy themselves through out the hard work. Couldn’t have hired a better coach.”
“As a coach Michelle provides outstanding tennis knowledge and positive energy. She’s a proven recruiter with a tireless work ethic. She will be an asset to the Campbell Athletic Department and the student/athletes will enjoy playing for her.”
“Michelle is not only a great coach but a great person. She is passionate about the game of tennis and making sure her players have pride in everything that they do both on and off the court. She is as loyal as they come and will be a tremendous asset to the entire Campbell community.”