EMORY, Va. – Sara Hansen is the new head cheer and dance coach at Emory & Henry College, College officials announced Wendesday.
Hansen is a native of Woods Cross, Utah, and comes to Emory & Henry after previous coaching experience at the high school and college level. Most recently she served as the head cheer coach at Southern Virginia University. During her undergraduate studies, Hansen was a member of the cheerleading squad at the University of Utah.
"We are extremely excited to add Sara to the Emory & Henry College family," E&H Director of Athletics Anne Crutchfield said. "Her energy and passion for the College and students will help us continue the growth of our nationally recognized competitive cheer and dance teams."
Sara won't be the first Hansen to coach on the Emory & Henry campus. Currently, her husband Pete serves as the assistant football coach with the Wasps' defensive line.
"Coaching is something we are both passionate about," said Sara Hansen. "We love being around student-athletes, watching them grow and learn and become better people all-around. I'm looking forward to experiencing this together."
The cheer and dance team will be bringing in seven new student-athletes this fall. Hansen says her top priority is helping the relatively new version of the dance program continue to grow. She also hopes to make dance more a part of the game-day experience.
"Initially, we are going to make sure we get our basics down on both the cheer and dance side," said Hansen. "This will allow us to grow our skill level as we prepare to compete in the springtime."
This will be the third season that the College has participated in competitive cheerleading and dance as a non-NCAA varsity sport. Both programs are coed and are also part of the College's Affinity Program.
"I am excited about the energy and the direction of the cheer and dance program over these past few years, and I am looking forward to where Sara will take the program in the future," said Dr. Matt Frederick, associate provost of academic affairs.
Hansen is currently planning to host an open tryout in the spring of 2020. In the meantime, she will also focus on building a recruitment pipeline to area high schools through various clinics that will prep cheer and dance students for their upcoming tryouts.
"We want to support the cheer and dance community around us, and these clinics will serve as a great way to sharpen skills while being exposed to a collegiate program," said Hansen.
Emory & Henry College currently sponsors 24 varsity sports with 10 NCAA men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor/outdoor track & field), 10 NCAA women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor/outdoor track & field, volleyball), competitive cheerleading and dance, and the Intermont Equestrian IDA and IHSA teams.