NAIA Recognizes 2021-22 Cheer & Dance Coaches of the Year
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is pleased to announce Glenn Caston as Coach of the Year for guiding his team to the 2022 Cheer National Championship and Alisha Knowler as the recipient of the Dance Coach of the Year honor.
Caston guided Xavier University of Louisiana to the Red Banner with the highest point total in championship history - 93.70. The XULA Gold won their first National Championship in any sport and were also the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities institution to claim the championship.
“I’m so grateful and humble to receive this acknowledgement from my peers and colleagues,” stated Caston. “My greatest joy is the success of the many athletes I have the privilege of working with each day- what we have built is deeper than a National Title - it’s the service driven leaders that will go on to serve their communities in pursuit of making our world a better place."
Knowler also guided her squad to their first title in program history as Morningside University recorded a score of 92.31 out of a possible 100 points. The Mustangs led after the Preliminary Round, an advantage they would not relinquish.
"It's hard to put into words how this feels.; this team's success was the goal for the season, but I'm beyond honored and excited to receive this recognition,” remarked Knowler. “It's a huge accomplishment, that I definitely couldn't have achieved without my amazing team. These girls work so hard, and I love coaching all of them."
The sixth annual NAIA Cheer and Dance National Championships were hosted in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 11th and 12th hosted by the Ann Arbor Sports Commission and Concordia University Ann Arbor. The action took place at the George Gervin GameAbove Center on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The field consisted of 12 dance teams and 15 cheer teams for the two round competition. Prelim scores account for 25% of the total while Finals scores make up the remaining 75%.
Competitive Cheer and Dance became the 24th and 25th National Championships in the history of the Association, and is the only athletics association to offer a national championship in these two sports.