Cassie Sant didn’t have to think long when Dayton Flyers women’s basketball coach Shauna Green offered her a job at her alma mater.
“It was a no-brainer for me,” Sant said. “I was so excited. This program is so close to my heart. I played here and had great success here. I had great teammates. I couldn’t be more excited to be back with the program. To see how far it’s come, it’s exciting, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Dayton announced the hiring of Sant on Aug. 27. She will serve as assistant recruiting coordinator and video coordinator. She returns to UD five years after graduating with a degree in visual communication design.
The Fairmont High School graduate Sant played for the Flyers from 2010-14. She averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior. Green was an assistant on Jim Jabir’s staff for the last two years.
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Sant just missed Dayton’s 2015 Elite Eight run, which came the season after she graduated, but the Flyers played in the NCAA tournament in each of her four seasons.
Now Sant will team with assistant coach Calamity McEntire, the head recruiting coordinator, in helping convince recruits to come to Dayton. UD has added two 2020 recruits since Sant’s first day on the job Aug. 26: Bailee Adkins, of St. Joseph’s High School in Huntington, W.Va.; and Makira Cook, of Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati.
“They’ve been briefing me on all the players they’re going after,” Sant said. “I’ve been helping design some of the mail-outs. It’s been a whole lot of information. I’m just trying to wrap my head around all of it, and I’ll do my best to appeal to these players we’re trying to get.”
Sant committed to Dayton in April 2009 when she was a junior at Fairmont. She said then she wanted to play close to home so her parents could watch her, and they’re thrilled she returned home to work with the Flyers.
Sant also picked the program back then because of the family atmosphere and because Jabir and his staff was trying to build something special. The program made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2010 when Sant was a senior in high school.
“The classes before me set the groundwork and took the program to new heights,” Sant said. “I just wanted to be a part of a program that was creating history versus somewhere where the tradition had already been made.”
Sant arrived at Dayton after a year working as a graphics specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. She held the same job for the two years prior to that with Premier Health in Dayton. She will use that experience in her job with the Flyers. Not only will she design the items they mail to recruits, she’ll have a hand in the design of graphics the team uses on social media.
“I’ve been joking with Shauna and everyone that this is way more creative than anything I’ve been doing in the health-care field,” Sant said.
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While NCAA rules prohibit Sant from coaching players on the court, she can counsel the players off the court and provide the perspective of a UD graduate and also a player who spent time in Europe. She played in Italy and Australia after her college career ended.
“It’s such a mental game,” Sant said. “There are going to be some rough days, but you get through it. I’ll just be another ear, who can pull them to the side and say, ‘Maybe think about this.’”
This won’t be Sant’s first coaching job. She was an assistant coach at Centerville High School in 2016-17 and at Fairmont in 2017-18.
“I always wanted to keep coaching,” she said. “When I moved to Cleveland, I just ran out of time. I was commuting all the way from Akron to Cleveland. I couldn’t be more excited to be this involved with basketball again with a program I’m so passionate about.”