Changes to Catawba Cheerleading Will Raise Program's Profile
April 2, 2014
Beginning with the '14-'15 academic year, a fulltime staff person in the Student Affairs Department will have responsibility for Catawba's cheerleading program. Andie Lynch, Catawba's Retention Director, will also coordinate the cheerleading program.
The cheerleading program will remain a club program, open to interested male and female students who will try out for a spot on the squad. The scholarship component that has long been associated with this program will not change.
A part-time staff person in Athletics Department has overseen the cheerleading program in the recent past, but Catawba President Brien Lewis sees these changes as a way to raise the profile of the program.
"The Cheerleaders are a talented group of athletes who add an exciting dimension to our intercollegiate games and provide vital support for our varsity teams. Our coaches, student-athletes, and teams do appreciate that support. With this change, our cheerleading program could take on a much more visible role at Catawba athletic events." Lewis said.
Lewis explained that since cheerleading is not an NCAA sanctioned competitive sport at Catawba, it is better placed in the Student Affairs Office than in the college's intercollegiate Athletics Department. A similar structure is in place at several other colleges and universities across the NCAA.
"This group is a very important group at Catawba and will continue to be a very important group," Lewis continued. "After talking with Ben Smith, our Dean of Students, and Jeff Childress, our Interim Director of Athletics, we felt this program would be a much better fit for the Student Affairs Office to oversee. Our objective is to grow Cheerleading and enhance support for it."
Smith expressed enthusiasm for the move, noting that cheerleading is the number one interest area for freshman students entering college. Because cheerleading is so closely associated with athletics, he said, Catawba will continue to recognize and promote this program on its athletics websites as well as its main college website.
"The cheerleading program is a very important way for incoming students to connect and engage at the college," Smith said.
An enthusiastic Lynch, a 2006 Catawba alumna who was a cheerleader while a student, has scheduled tryouts for the 2014-2015 academic year on April 26 from 4-6 p.m. in the Auxiliary Gym of the Abernethy Physical Education Center. She encourages interested students to "step up and try out."
"This is a way to get involved in the campus community and for students to be a part of something greater than themselves," Lynch said. "We know that engaged students are retained students and I look at this program as another tool for fostering engagement."
Students seeking additional information about the cheerleading program at Catawba, including scholarships available for participants should contact Lynch at email@example.com.