Veteran tennis coach -- now in his 25th year directing the Notre Dame women's program -- has stressed family and team principles throughout his successful career.
The most decorated women's tennis player in Notre Dame history, Michelle Dasso returned to her alma mater in the summer of 2003 to become an assistant coach on Jay Louderback's staff and is now in her third year in that role. Dasso's responsibilities include team travel arrangements, assisting with recruiting, and on-court coaching.
In her time on the Irish staff, Dasso has been able to parlay her extensive experience as a top collegiate player into an asset in helping Notre Dame players competing on an elite level. In 2003-04, Alicia Salas become one of the top singles players in the country, beating 15 nationally-ranked players and peaking at 10th in the national rankings. She also qualified for all three collegiate grand-slam events. Additionally, freshman twins Catrina and Christian Thompson showed flashes of greatness, upsetting the #2 doubles team in the country and becoming the first all-rookie duo from any Division I school since 1998 to earn a bid to the NCAA Doubles Championship.
She helped the Thompsons make history in her second season, as they reached the title match of the season's first grand slam, the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships (ND's first-ever doubles final showing in a grand slam), and then advance to the semis of the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. The duo became the first in program history to ascend to the national #1 ranking in doubles, achieving that on Feb. 22, 2005.
In playing professionally for just under two years prior to returning to Notre Dame, Dasso was ranked as high as 483rd in the world in singles (March `03) and 388th in doubles (October `02) despite battling injuries.
A 2001 graduate and the only four-time All-American in the program's history, Dasso was named the ITA National Senior Player of the Year and is the Irish recordholder in nearly every statistical category, including career singles victories (140), career doubles victories (109), season singles victories (40), and combined single-season victories (74).
An All-American in singles and doubles in 1999 and 2001, Dasso was ranked as high as #2 nationally in singles and fifth in doubles, with `02 graduate Becky Varnum. Both listings, as well as her `01 year-end rankings of fifth (singles) and ninth (doubles) were tops in the program's history when she graduated. Dasso was ranked in the top 30 in the year-end singles rankings throughout her career, while finishing in the top 20 in doubles three times.
The native of Long Grove, Ill., and 1997 Stevenson High School graduate was the most prolific Irish player ever in collegiate grand-slam events. As a senior in 2000-01, Dasso reached at least the quarterfinals of all four grand-slam tournaments in singles, highlighted by a runner-up finish in the last-ever National Clay Court Championships. She ended her career by reaching the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship, becoming the first Notre Dame player to advance past the round of 16.
Twice named the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, Dasso helped the Irish to a 91-29 (.758) record in her years as a player at Notre Dame, winning a pair of conference titles and reaching the round of 16 in the NCAA Team Championship twice.
Playing No. 1 singles for three years after filling the No. 2 slot as a freshman, Dasso was 91-16 in singles in dual matches, never losing more than five contests in a season.
Dasso was the 2001 recipient of the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award, presented annually by the University to one male and one female student-athlete who best display the total embodiment of the true spirit of Notre Dame.