Amidst the excitement of election day in the state of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky now officially has a new cheerleading head coach, Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart announced Tuesday.
Ryan Martin O’Connor, who successfully built the UAB and Ole Miss cheerleading programs into contenders nationally in recent years, has been hired by Kentucky in wake of the scandal that broke a month ago leading to the firing of the entire coaching staff.
In a press release sent out by UK, O’Connor, who is a Lexington native, expressed her excitement for returning to Lexington and getting the head coaching role for the 24-time national champions.
“It’s a dream come true to be back home in Lexington to lead the best cheerleading program in the country,” O’Connor said. “I have watched this program my entire life and I can’t wait to experience these traditions again from a new role. I look forward to continuing our success and building on our game-day atmosphere. That’s what our cheerleaders and the best fans in the world deserve.”
O’Connor was also a cheerleader at Kentucky from 2008-09 before transferring to Alabama and becoming a cheerleading for the Crimson Tide from 2009-12.
UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart also commented on the recent hire of O’Connor by the athletic department:
“Ryan is exactly the kind of person we wanted to hire as we sought the next leader of Kentucky cheerleading. She has a proven track record of success, brings incredible energy to her work, and shares our commitment to both integrity and competitive excellence. Not only that, she also has an intimate understanding of the proud tradition of this program and what it means to cheerleaders, this university and the Big Blue Nation.”
With the sudden turmoil that has suddenly surrounded such a prominent program, the hiring of O’Connor gives the Cats a fresh start in a new era.