“I don’t know if I chose cheerleading so much as it chose me,” said Kita Thames, next year’s cheerleading head coach. She is starting at Webster in August.
Cheerleading “chose” Thames a year or two before her high school career at McCluer North, and she continued to pursue the sport through college at Maryville University. “Cheerleading always felt like home to me,” she said.
Thames hasn’t cheered since but has taken every opportunity to coach. She wants to be the “closest [she] can be” to cheerleading: she has coached middle school cheer and high schoolers at McCluer North since graduating college. It’s been seven years since her last coaching job, and she said she’s been “on the hunt” for another since.
“I opened up Indeed[.com], and there was Webster.” Thames applied as soon as she saw the offer.
“[Thames] has a positive, upbeat disposition about her,” Chris Johnson, assistant activities director, said. He hopes she’ll be able to bring a new perspective to Webster’s cheerleading department.
Out of the five coaches who applied for the position, Thames’ “passion came through,” according to Johnson. She demonstrated goals for the season, then explained how they would reach them. “It was clear even for someone like me, who doesn’t know anything about cheerleading,” he said.
In an announcement on the athletics department website, activities director Jerry Collins described Thames as having an “energetic and positive personality that is contagious to those around her.”
As for the upcoming season, Thames looks forward to being a part of Webster’s community. She wants to treat the athletes like young adults: being available to them and being open to collaboration.
Overall, Thames said, “I try to be the coach I had.”