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Cassady: "I'm home at Dunlap"

Heather Cassady feels at home coaching at Dunlap, where she played in high school.

DUNLAP - Heather Cassady got the chance to coach at her alma mater, and she's making the most of it.

"Would I ever think I'd be back in Peoria?  No, but it's been the best thing for me," said Heather Cassady, Dunlap Girls Basketball coach.

It's been the best thing for several girls basketball players in Central Illinois.  Heather Cassady was an all-state player at Dunlap 15 years ago.  Now she's back with the Eagles as their head coach.

"It's changed," said Cassady. "Not the same that's for sure.  700 kids when I was here.  Now it's 1200."

It's been a journey back to the gym where she donned the Eagles jersey, coaching prep girls in St. Louis, then Richwoods last year.  But its her skills on the court that have her players buying in.

"I love her so much," said Cassie Gibbons, Dunlap Senior. "She's so positive and she played and is really good player.  She actually teaches us.  Ball handling skills.  She would do them better than our best ball handler.  It was incredible."

"Coaching has always been a passion.  Dunlap is my home.  It's so nice to be back.  Great to see familiar faces at games."

She says her most important job isn't teaching X's and O's.

"I'm teaching them not only basketball, but I feel like I'm teaching life skills," said Cassady. "How to be leaders and how to be a role-player.  Just everything."

Either way, its good to be home.

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