Dan Hengelmann said he experienced sleepless nights agonizing over who would replace him as head coach of Loyola’s boys water polo team.

After all, he built the Ramblers into a powerhouse program during his 10 seasons. A Loyola graduate, Hengelmann (Class of 1997) never had a losing season, compiling 229-102-4 record. The highlight came when the Ramblers captured the 2014 state championship, earning him the sport’s coach of the year honors.

Hengelmann rested easy after Loyola announced the hiring of Mike Cashman.

“I’ve been an admirer of his for years,” Hengelmann said. “He’s sharp and knows how to motivate a team. He has big goals, and ones that are sustainable. I know he’s the right guy for the job, and he’s going to be great.”

A native of Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood and 1999 graduate of St. Rita, Cashman returns to coaching after resigning at St. Ignatius, where he was the head coach of the girls team from 2006-2017 and an assistant for three seasons prior to that.

Cashman quickly turned St. Ignatius, which first offered the sport to girls in 2000, into a consistently competitive program.

In his first season, they took second in state. In 2013, St. Ignatius captured the state championship. It was the first state title in any sport in school history. The Wolfpack finished third or better in the state tournament in seven of Cashman’s 11 seasons. He won 22 or more games in 10 seasons and never had a losing record. He left St. Ignatius with a 260-64-3 record.

After sitting out the 2018 season, which he called a “healthy break,” Cashman said he’s ready for his next challenge.

“This is unique for me because I’m stepping into an already established program,” he said. “Dan built a great foundation, and I’m excited to see where we can go.”

The Ramblers finished 26-7 last season and won the MCAC title for the first time since 2014. They return senior Kenny Sajnaj, who totaled 75 goals and 61 assists, and junior Jake Carr, a two-year starter in goal.

While Loyola conducted a comprehensive search, the right person for the job was in the building. Cashman is in his second school year as a teacher and an assistant coach with the boys swimming and diving team.

“His résumé as a player and coach is outstanding,” Loyola athletic director Genevieve Atwood said. “Most importantly, he fit in with our Jesuit mission. It was not a hard decision to make.”

Among his accolades while St. Ignatius, Cashman was the state’s coach of the year twice and received the Phil Stelnicki Lifetime Service Award in 2014, which is given to those who go above and beyond in their contributions to the sport. Stelnicki is a former water polo coach at Loyola and in the state’s Hall of Fame.

After a standout career in high school, Cashman played at Iona for one season before transferring to Northwestern, where he earned his undergraduate degree.

Loyola also hired a new head girls soccer coach. Shannon Hartinger played at North Carolina State and served as captain her junior and senior seasons. She earned a doctorate in physical therapy from Duke and works as a special education physical therapist in Chicago’s north suburbs.

Hartinger takes over a program that finished 19-2-4 and captured its 10th consecutive regional championship last season. Loyola graduated only five seniors and returns key contributors such as senior Maggie Brett, senior Emily Chrisman and junior Vanessa Murray.

“We feel really good about her and everything she can do for the girls program,” Atwood said. “She’s committed to the girls having a good experience as high school athletes.”