Sunday, November 12, 2017


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In 1914, Frank Porter Graham was the first student to organize cheerleading at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to The Daily Tar Heel, Graham said, "I was trying out for the baseball team, but I didn't make the regular squad. As a substitute I got in the habit of leading the cheering when I wasn't need. The next thing I knew I was a cheerleader." Graham was succeeded by Charlie Coggins, Kay Kyser, Billy Arthur, Vic Huggins, Norm Sper and other notable university figures. In 1940, the university officially approved the program's transition to a co-ed team.

National recognition

  • Ranked fifth in the nation by ICF in 1974
  • Ranked third in the nation by ICF in 1975
  • CBS National Collegiate Cheerleading Championship Winner - 1978
  • CBS National Collegiate Cheerleading Championship Runner Up - 1979
  • 1994 UCA Division I-A National title (coached by Don Collins)
  • 1997 NCA Division 1-A National Champions (coached by Don Collins)


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The UNC cheerleading program consists of two co-ed squads: JV and Varsity. Both teams cheer for home football games and Varsity travels to away games. In the winter, the JV squad cheers at all home women's basketball games and Varsity at all home men's basketball games. Both squads cheer on their respective teams during the ACC and NCAA basketball tournaments.


The Varsity squad is generally composed of 15â€"20 members with 6â€"8 couples of male bases and female flyers, as well as 2â€"4 female tumblers. Varsity members include seniors, juniors and few sophomores.

Junior Varsity

The 2012 JV cheerleading team had about 40 members. The co-ed team is also composed of male bases, female flyers and female tumblers. In addition to participating at home football and women's basketball games, members of the JV squad attend UNC volleyball matches, men's soccer games, gymnastics meets, and volleyball matches. Generally speaking, members are required to cheer at least one year on JV before moving up to Varsity. The majority of members on JV are underclassmen.

Practice schedule

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Varsity and JV practices are held in Fetzer Gym C Monday and Wednesday evenings. Additional weight sessions are held Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in the Kenan Football Center. Fridays before home football games, the UNC cheerleading program practices with the Marching Tar Heels on Navy Field to coordinate the football pre-game show.

Community outreach

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The UNC cheerleading team is proud to be an integral part of the Carolina community. In the past, members have made visits to local hospitals appeared at numerous charity events, volunteered on campus and made appearances on behalf of the athletic community. The Carolina cheerleaders have recently participated in:

  • Local 5ks (Get Heeled, Fitness World of Durham)
  • UNC Dance Marathon
  • Local elementary schools health and book fairs

Coaching staff

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  • Brown Walters, Varsity Head Coach
  • Curt Brossman, Junior Varsity Head Coach
  • Kristin Hackett, Junior Varsity Head Coach
  • Taylor Pandich, Junior Varsity Assistant Coach
  • Ryan Kollist, Tumbling Coach
  • Andrei Robinson, Tumbling Coach


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Fall tryouts

Cheerleading tryouts are typically held during the second week of school in Fetzer Gym C.

Spring tryouts

Tryouts are also held in April in Fetzer Gym C. High school seniors are eligible to try out in April if they been accepted to the university for early admission. Those who make the team in the spring are required to participate in summer workouts in preparation for the upcoming season.

Skill requirements

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Standing tumbling

  • Back-handspring
  • Back tuck
  • Back-handspring back tuck

Series tumbling

  • Roundoff back-handspring back tuck
  • Roundoff back-handspring back layout
  • Variety pass


Males should be athletic and willing to learn. Most males trying out for the program have never cheered before. No previous experience or background with cheerleading is necessary. The requirements listed below are for varsity males.


  • Back-tuck


  • Hop-and-go extension
  • Toss extension
  • Lib
  • Stretch


  • Full-time student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Remain in good academic standing with the university


Although the university does not award scholarships to members of the cheerleading team, the program participates in fundraisers to offer book scholarships to each senior cheerleader.



  • "UNC Spirit Program". UNC Spirit Program. 
  • Alison Lawrence (1994-04-15). "Return to California Sweet for UNC Cheerleaders". The Daily Tar Heel (102 ed.). Chapel Hill. p. 9. 
  • Paquita Fine (1956-12-16). "Talk Over the Old, the Future". The News and Observer. Raleigh. 
  • "Co-eds Approved As Cheerleaders". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill. 10-02-1940. 
  • Marsha Lamm (02-06-1975). "UNC Cheering Squad--They're No. Three". The News and Observer. Raleigh. 
  • Rick Brewer (September 1974). "Carolina Cheerleaders: A Rich Tradition". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill. 
  • "Organized Cheering At Carolina First Begun by Frank P. Graham". The Daily Tar Heel. Chapel Hill. 03-06-1932. 

External links

  • University of North Carolina Tar Heels Official Athletic Site
  • UNC Spirit Program

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