FHS cheerleading coach recognized with state award
Nancy Stein was never a cheerleader in her own high school days, and yet, she was recently named Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association.
Stein has been coaching all of the high school cheerleading teams at Farmington High School since her daughter, Teresa, was a member in 2007. These days, Teresa Stein is the assistant coach for the FHS teams.
Though Stein was never a cheerleader — she was in her high school marching band’s flag and rifle corps instead — she’s been around cheerleading for more than a decade. Her middle son, who graduated from Rosemount High School in 2004, participated on a competition cheer and dance team called Northern Elite All Stars.
But when Teresa was in the FHS program, the coaching spot came open. Then-athletic director Jon Summer approached Stein and asked if she would be interested in filling in. She was.
Over the years, Stein has gone through numerous training and licensing programs. Coaches have to be stunt certified, and they have licenses that have to be updated on a regular basis.
These days, Stein works with somewhere around 40 to 45 varsity and junior varsity football cheerleaders in the fall. During the winter sports season, she’s got 25 to 35 cheerleaders who cheer during hockey, basketball and wrestling events.
Some cheerleaders participate in cheerleading during football season, but then go into gymnastics or dance or another activity during the winter. Some cheer during the winter, but get involved in other fall activities.
“They’re young and they need to explore what’s out there and available for them,” Stein said, “but I’m a firm believer they need to be involved in something.”
Stein does her best to take her teams out of the high school, and get them helping in the community, as well. It’s not unusual to see them helping out at the Yellow Ribbon Network’s monthly veterans dinners, or rounding up donations for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
“They’re involved in a lot of things outside of the high school, which is really important,” Stein said.
One of Stein’s additions to the high school cheer program is the Sparklers, a program that welcomes cheerleaders with special needs to the FHS team.
Stein is also responsible for establishing the competition cheer team that is now sponsored through Farmington Community Education. The competition cheer team is separate from the high school teams.
Summer nominated Stein for the Coach of the Year title. There were eight coaches from around the state who were nominated. MCCA members vote for the annual honor. The winner is announced each year during the MCCA’s awards banquet in January.
While she appreciates the honor, Stein is quick to give the cheerleaders most of the credit.
“It’s all for the love of it. We (coaches) like to see the expression on the kids’ faces when they hit it just right. It’s very rewarding,” she said.