he Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. (MYAS) was organized in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the delivery of youth sports services to young athletes, coaches and parents. The MYAS is Minnesota's largest multi-sport organization focused solely on youth athletics with more than 150,000 kids participating in our programs annually. The MYAS is a central clearinghouse for youth sports, serving as an information channel linking hundreds of youth associations, coaches, and thousands of parents.
- To promote sportsmanship, teamwork and cultural interaction through sporting competition
- To provide the highest quality athletic programs for Minnesota's young people
- To link regional volunteer youth sports programs with others statewide
We believe that participation in athletics is one of the healthiest and most cost-effective options for helping young people make good choices about life's many decisions. Youth athletics, with its significant volunteer base, taps into the best that American culture has to offer. When conducted properly, athletics help young people:
- set goals that are worthy of their time, energy and focus.
- achieve a sense of accomplishment and self esteem and learn valuable leadership skills.
- establish personal standards of excellence.
- unite in group goals and common commitment.
- build skills in empathy, humility, generosity and compassion.
- learn life lessons both on and off the field of play.
Daniel Klinkhammer, Executive Director
Dan co-founded the MYAS in 1991 and currently serves as the Executive Director. He is a Vietnam veteran and a 1976 graduate of Winona State University. Dan's previous work experiences include a short stint as the Youth Director for the Winona Family YMCA; two years as Community Services Director for the City of Pipestone, MN; ten years as City Recreation Director for Winona, MN and two years as Program Director for the Minnesota Sports Federation. In addition to his playing days, he also gained 20 years of valuable experience as a football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball official. He credits much of his success to the fact that he has been an athlete, coach, official, administrator and parent. That combination allows him to personally identify with everyone who participates in the various programs offered by the MYAS. Dan and his wife Karla have two sons, Adam and Lance. When he isn't at his desk or at one of our events, you'll probably find him on the water fishing, in the woods chasing deer or looking for his golf balls.
Buddy Hemric, Associate Director
Buddy joined the MYAS in 1996 as the Associate Director after working in the aircraft industry for more than 19 years. At the present time he is in charge of the Basketball Official's Training programs, is co-director of the MYAS football program and is in charge of the technical side of MYAS operations.
Mike DeWane, President
Mike has served as President of MYAS since 1994 and was a volunteer youth coach and youth sports administrator for almost two decades. He primarily focuses on the MYAS’s “Child Development through Youth Sports” education and risk management services including training programs for coaches, parents and players. His other experience includes serving as CEO of the Rx2000 Institute which helps healthcare providers, payers and government agencies collaboratively work together to improve the business of healthcare; an executive for two biomedical companies and a senior officer of a healthcare education firm. Mike did his undergraduate work at Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and graduate work at the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Rita have three sons; Christopher, Matthew and Michael. Mike loves traveling with his wife, tennis, reading current affairs books and holding his new grandson, Jonathan.
Siri Forde, Office Manager/HR
Siri joined the staff of the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services in January of 1991 at the invitation of current Executive Director, Dan Klinkhammer. She began her college education in Traverse City, Michigan, and later transferred to Concordia College, Moorhead, where she graduated cum laude with a major in English Writing and a minor in Business Administration. Siri's early career was in the health care field, having worked in nursing homes in Minnesota and Michigan. She also spent more than a year with the Minnesota Sports Federation. While Siri has served in a number of capacities during her years at the MYAS, her current duties consist primarily of serving as office manager, human resources, assistant gambling manager and editor of the MYAS Update e-newsletter.
Joanne Powell, Receptionist
Joanne joined the MYAS in February of 1994 to help with the growing number of phone calls and influx of paperwork as the organization grew. She has been the MYAS receptionist/secretary/office mom during her tenure. Having a family of four very active children, she has been very involved in sports as both a parent and MYAS employee. She has seen the evolution of the MYAS from the days of the typewriter, answering machine and three employees to a staff of 18 and a full-service website. She has become the voice of the MYAS with her phone greeting of "Athletic Services".
Dara Northfield, Accountant
Dara has been with the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services since 1999. She received her education through Anoka Ramsey Community College and the University of Minnesota. She has enjoyed working with the dedicated staff of the MYAS to expand and expedite the many programs the MYAS offers. In her leisure time, Dara shares her time with her husband Mark and their three grown children.
Richard Penick, Senior Program Director
Rich has been with the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services since 1995. Over the years, Rich has been a Program Coordinator, had a short stint as the company's accountant and is presently the Senior Program Director. He also served as the AAU's National Vice-Chair for their junior golf program for seven years. He has seen astonishing growth in all MYAS programs. As an example, basketball has grown from less than a hundred teams to well over a thousand. Rich is a 1981 graduate of Duluth East High School where he was a three-sport letter winner in football, baseball and hockey. He played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he graduated with a double major in Health and Physical Education with a coaching minor. Rich was a member of the 1983-84 NAIA National Hockey Championship team and finished his playing career as the leading scorer in Blue-Gold history. He has been heavily involved with coaching various youth and high school sports since 1986. Rich and his wife, Mary, have two sons. Rich says, "Life used to revolve around our children's sports schedules, but I wouldn't change any of it as we were able to share some great times with our children. While those days were filled with great memories, it sure is nice that they are both done playing and we're not running 24/7 to all their games and practices." Now, we look forward to going to our grandchildren's games.
Eric Rathke, Program Director
Eric has been with MYAS since 1997 and is currently charged with developing the youth football program. He implements and coordinates one of the country's largest youth travelling basketball tournaments, the MYAS Grade State Basketball Championships. He is also an MYAS assistant gambling manager. Eric states that one of the strengths of the MYAS team is that they assist each other with their programs to make them the best. As an example, he helps with baseball and other basketball operations in addition to his own programs. He brings a love for all sports and a desire to provide them to youth athletes across Minnesota. Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Concordia University, St. Paul, where he was a four-year starter on the football team. Eric and his wife Erin love being parents to their young children Maddox and Jade.
Kevin Wilson, Basketball Program Director
Kevin is a native of Cedar Rapids, IA, where he graduated from Washington Senior High School. He received a full athletic scholarship to play basketball for the University of North Dakota. He had a very successful career at UND, receiving the Freshman of the Year award and a varsity letter his junior year. During his college summer months, Kevin coached basketball and worked local high school basketball camps in North Dakota. He graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation with an emphasis in Leadership. After college, Kevin moved to the Twin Cites area and worked for six years as a Manager for U.S. Swim and Fitness. He moved on to work for the Minneapolis nonprofit YouthCARE (Youth for Culture Appreciation and Racial Equality) for five years as the Urban Program Director, planning and developing recreation programs, leadership and educational activities, sports and special events. He also planned and led diversity workshops, leadership conferences and retreats. Kevin continues to be very active in sports and also spends a lot of time training his young son, who plays basketball for the Osseo Maple Grove Basketball Association.
Dawson Blanck, Senior Baseball Director
Dawson has been with the MYAS since 1999 and currently serves as Senior Baseball Director and Gopher State Baseball League Commissioner. He has also held the position as Minnesota USSSA State Baseball Director since March of 2006 and is a founding member of Play Ball! MN through the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. During his tenure at the MYAS, he has helped create a year-round comprehensive baseball program which includes the Gopher State Baseball League (GSBL) and the Gopher State Tournament of Champions. The GSBL has grown by nearly 400% and the Gopher State Fall Baseball League has seen an increase of nearly 4,000 participants. Blanck graduated from Concordia University, St Paul in 1999 with degrees in Kinesiology and Communications. During his time at CSP, he was an all-conference wide receiver/punt returner, twice earning All-UMAC honors and was named team captain his senior season. Dawson was also an All-Region NJCAA tennis player at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN. Dawson coached high school varsity football from 1999-2009 and is currently the Offensive Coordinator at St. Agnes High School. His last coaching position was the Offensive Coordinator at St. Bernards School in St. Paul. In 2009, the Bulldogs made their first trip to the state tournament in school history. He has also officiated high school varsity basketball for Suburban Officials Association since 2001 and had the opportunity to officiate in the MSHSL State Basketball Tournament the past two years. Away from the MYAS and his other activities, you can find Dawson enjoying time with his wife, Lori, son Landon and daughter Kylin as well as participating in as many sporting functions and events as time permits.
Jeremy Innes, Basketball & Wrestling Program Director
Jeremy joined the MYAS staff in February of 2002 after fellow Brainerd alum and current MYAS employee Dawson Blanck informed him of a job opening. Jeremy's primary duties at the MYAS have been focused primarily on the wrestling and basketball programs. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School and went on to earn his A.A. degree from Central Lakes Community College. He continued his studies at Minnesota State University, Moorhead where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health. Prior to joining the MYAS staff, Jeremy completed his internship at the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department where he began working as a seasonal employee when he was 12 years old. When Jeremy is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Jessica and daughters Ellie and Kendall.
Tony Groff, Associate Baseball Director
Tony started at the MYAS in November of 2004 in the new position of Special Events Director. He is an Area Director for USSSA Baseball and is also a founding member for PlayBall! MN through the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. In the summer of 2005, he was promoted to his current position at the MYAS, Associate Baseball Director. Tony began his professional career in the golf industry and has an educational background in Business Administration. Away from work you can find him spending time with his family, golfing and getting out on the lakes to fish.
Dan Craighead, Marketing Director
Dan joined the MYAS in September of 2006. He is responsible for selling and servicing corporate sponsorships and donations. Dan was a member of the Minnesota Twins ticket sales staff from 1999-2006 where he was a leader in generating group ticket sales. Prior to his position with the Twins, he held sales positions with the Minnesota Vikings and Valleyfair. In 1993 he was the third person hired by the St. Paul Saints and worked there for four seasons as Director of Advertising Sales. Dan graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management. Dan, his wife Cindy, and their children Ben and Sarah reside in Eagan. Golf and rock-n-roll music are two of his main interests.
Debbie Dahl, Gambling Manager
Debbie has been involved in charitable gaming for 22 years. She began working for MYAS in 2004 as a site manager, moved up to assistant gambling manager in 2007, and became gambling manager in June 2009. Debbie enjoys spending time with her husband and two girls, Ashley and Amanda.
Lance Klinkhammer, WSS Program Director
Lance joins his brother Adam as one of the Program Directors of the Wisconsin Sports Services. As one of the founding members of the WSS, Lance now calls Madison, Wis. home as the doors of the WSS office officially opened in March 2013. Prior to the establishment of the WSS, Lance became a part of the MYAS full-time staff on January 1, 2012 after spending a year as an MYAS Intern. He has a long history in working for the MYAS dating back to 1991 where he assisted in painting the MYAS’ first office and in 1994 he coordinated with his brother, Adam, to run the standings for the inaugural season of the Gopher State Baseball League. Such is life as the son of Dan Klinkhammer, the co-founder and Executive Director of the MYAS. Since then, Lance has directed many MYAS tournaments and assisted with just about every program the MYAS has to offer. Lance is a graduate of Blaine High School and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Recreation/Sports Management. Prior to joining the MYAS, Lance worked for the Sauk Rapids Baseball Association for five years as the Charitable Gambling Operations Supervisor. In his free time Lance enjoys attending sports events, spending time outdoors, and staying active.
Lindsey Lewitzke, Girls Basketball & Swimming Coordinator and WSS Wausau Area Director
Lindsey began her career with MYAS in 2012. She serves as the MYAS Swimming and Girls Basketball Coordinator and the director of the Wausau area for the newly established Wisconsin Sports Services. Lindsey graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2011 with a degree in Recreation Management. During her time at UW-L, Lindsey was a four-year letter winner in basketball and was a captain her senior season. She earned Honorable Mention All-Conference Honors her senior season while leading the team to its first NCAA tournament berth in 22 years. When away from the office, Lindsey enjoys officiating basketball and soccer, competing in triathlons and spending time with her husband, Jeremy.
Pat Reese, Assistant Program Coordinator
Pat started at MYAS in February of 2013. His primary responsibility at MYAS is with the baseball programs. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation, Park and Leisure in August 2010. Prior to joining MYAS, Pat worked for different city recreation departments doing a variety of youth, teen and community programming. When Pat is not working he enjoys coaching youth sports, playing basketball, softball and volleyball, and spending time with his fiancé Kaitlin.