Montpelier Winter 2000
His JMU cheerleading experience led Don Collins ('83) to a successful career. In 1999, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Cheerleaders Coaches Conference and is considered one of the top cheerleading experts in the United States. He decided to become a cheerleader during freshmen orientation after talking with the cheerleading coach. "I wanted to be involved in athletics, and I thought cheerleading would be a great way to have front row seats to all the games," says Collins. "When I saw the team doing stunts and jumps, I knew I wanted to try out."
A four-year squad member, Collins was captain two years. His first coaching experience came at Slippery Rock, where he led their cheerleaders to a 1985 National Championship. He has coached the UNC-Chapel Hill cheering team for 13 years, earning two National Championships and 10 national titles for choreography. He established Spirit Xpress, a cheerleading gym and also owns Spirit Station and Carolina Cheerleading Power Camp. He also founded Spirit & Co., an apparel company providing cheerleading active wear.
Story by Karen Boxley ('01)