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WELCOME 2 (larger)
WELCOME 2 (larger)

fun, positive, and safe programs

Hi-Five Sports Zone Hawthorn Mall is excited to provide the highest quality youth sports programming with the utmost convenience for parents to Hawthorn Mall. We inspire young children to develop a passion for team sports by implementing fun, positive, and safe programs. We focus on teaching children the values of team building and sportsmanship that will prepare them for their futures. Hi-Five Sports Zone Vernon Hills prepares our youth for healthier, balanced lifestyles.


Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois and attended Maine West High School where he lettered in 3 different sports. He attended Carthage College where he lettered and played college football. Ian then transferred to North Park University where he lettered on the football team and received his Bachelors Degree in Physical Education. Ian resides in Hoffman Estates with his two children, Easton and Aria.

Ian began coaching when he was 21 years old at Chicago Academy where he coached the Sophomore girls basketball team the first year. He then moved to coaching the Varsity Boys Basketball team the following two years. Ian then received a teaching position at Christian Heritage Academy in Northfield, Illinois where he taught Physical Education for 5 years. During these years he coached at Deerfield High School for 4 years and helped the varsity team earn back to back regional championships. He coached at New Trier for a few years where he helped the Freshman Football teams. Ian spent those 5 years at Christian Heritage coaching their soccer teams and track teams at the Middle School level. In 2012 Ian led the Maine East Freshmen team to a CSL conference championship. He then took a teaching position in Waukegan Illinois where he taught at Jack Benny Middle School where he taught Physical Education and Health. While teaching in Waukegan, he coached the varsity Football and Boys Basketball teams. Ian then took a Physical Education job at Gavin South Middle School in Fox Lake, and coached the freshmen football team at Grant High School. In 2016, he led the Grant Football team to a 9-0 record. He most recently coached the 6th grade boys basketball team at Caruso Middle School in Deerfield.

Ian is known to be one of the best in the area in developing talent in football and basketball. His experience with sports brings a lot to the table. He understands that kids want to know how much you care, before they know how much you know. And he forms his coaching philosophy around that mentality. Ian is excited to continue to build relationships with the youth in the Northwest suburbs of Illinois and partner with parents.

Jamie Nelson
General Manager

Jamie joined Hi-Five after a 4-year football career playing Tight End at Loras College. Graduating in 2019 with a B.A. in Sports Management and Business, Jamie chose a career combining his two passions of sports and working with kids.

After graduating, Jamie spent two years as an Assistant Coach at Newman Central Catholic High School where he was a part of the staff to lead the team to the 2A IHSA Championship in 2019. Jamie also spent 3 years coaching youth baseball under the guidance of former MLB catcher Eric Munson. In his free time, Jamie enjoys golfing, skiing, and snowmobiling.

Jamie looks forward to helping your young ones develop life skills they will hold onto forever!

Dana Mihajlovic

Dana Mihajlovic is a proud Vernon Hills native and thrilled to coach the youngest sports enthusiasts at Hi-Five. She has always had a passion for teaching and coaching, and has taught all levels (preschool through high school) throughout her 20 years in education.

Dana graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish. After teaching first grade dual language for a few years and then high school Spanish, she went on to pursue graduate work to obtain a Masters Degree in Instructional Leadership from Roosevelt University and a second Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist from Concordia University.

When not teaching or coaching, Dana enjoys spending time with her very active family. She has two wonderful children that love playing basketball, swimming, gymnastics, training to be American Ninja Warriors, and flag football. They spend a lot of time at Hi-Five open gym alongside participating in Hi-Five’s school break camps, basketball/football leagues, and weekly sport classes.

The coaches at Hi-Five have played an instrumental role in the foundation, passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm her children have gained for sports over the years. Dana is eager to pass that love along to the young athletes that come through the door. See you at The Zone!

Sam Wright

Sam Wright is from Geneva, Illinois and is extremely excited and blessed to be coaching young athletes of all different ages at Hi-Five Sports. After graduating from Geneva Community High School, Sam was offered to play baseball at Marian University in Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin, but after one year, transferred to be a pitcher at Lakeland University where he graduated with a degree in Sports Management, a minor in Psychology and an emphasis in Coaching. Sam worked with young athletes throughout college through volunteering his time do be a coach at winter baseball camps. 

Sam has had an extreme passion for coaching and becoming a positive role model in young athlete’s eyes and he began his coaching career in 2013 by becoming a volunteer coach for a 12u travel organization. Since then, he has coached for a number of travel organizations with an age range from 9u to 17u and this experience has only helped him become a stronger coach. When he has free time, Sam enjoys fishing, golfing, and spending time with his family! 

Sam is very excited to share his love and knowledge of sports with the young kids at Hi-Five and strives to make them better athletes on and off the field!