The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cheer team begins season with new coaching staff

New staff lead by WSU alum, began in role last June
WSU cheerleader JaLynn Williams, one of the cheerleaders going into this coming season who is hoping for a succesful season

Since the departure of their former coach in June, the WSU cheer team has hired an entirely new coaching staff.

Emily Peterson, a WSU alum who cheered on the team from 2017–21, took over the program as the new head coach. As home games approach, the team is working on their skills while still adjusting to the new staff.

“I think the biggest adjustment this year is a more game-day-focused squad,” Peterson said. “I think they’ve been having fun experiencing more of the game-day aspect of the team, and it’s been very reflected at the events we’ve had so far.”

The new coaching staff is seeking to improve the team this season by focusing on uniformity of skills. There’s also an increased focus on stunting and tumbling, as well as bringing back the tradition of UCA nationals this year, getting the opportunity to compete with the top teams there.

“A big focus right now is cleanliness on the sidelines, and making sure our cougar pride shines through at events,” Peterson said. “Overall, our biggest goal this year is just having more across-the-board team skills at our football games and other sporting events. Just being more level with all of our skills together, not having one group that excels over the others, but instead improving overall as a squad.”

Because of the sudden change in staffing, there was some initial concern about the shifting dynamic of the team going into the new season, assistant coach Niyi Ayedun said.

“The energy so far is really good, I was slightly concerned there would be a lack of respect since we’re all younger, and alumni (the new coaching staff), but so far it’s been very smooth. There’s been lots of improvement for game day as well, which is very important,” Ayedun said.

Ayedun, alongside Peterson and fellow assistant coach Chase Barnes, is working to continue improving the team’s skills going into football season. In addition to the coaching staff, the athletes themselves are working toward gaining new skill sets.

“The goal for us right now would be primarily to have a successful season and continue that success into nationals. We want to stay on top of things, and not let our performance or skills go downhill,” junior cheerleader JaLynn Williams said. “The team has been adjusting really well. I think everyone really likes the new coaching staff, and they’ve been doing a great job with the program.”

So far, the team and coaching staff have been showcasing their effort at WSU volleyball games. With home football games right around the corner, the team continues to work on new skills and encourage the still-adjusting team dynamic.

“The team’s attitude has been great,” Ayedun said. “Everyone was very accepting when we first started, they welcomed us with open arms, and they’ve kept it that way.”

More to Discover
About the Contributor
HAILEE SPEIR, Evergreen photo editor
Hailee Speir is a photographer for the Daily Evergreen. Hailee is a junior English education major from Spokane, Washington. Hailee started working for the Evergreen in fall 2021 as a photographer.