Cheerleading Tradition

The University of Missouri Cheerleaders are an important part of the spirit and atmosphere at Mizzou. They made their first appearance in the 1909-1910 school year with an all-male squad called the "Yell Leaders". The white-clad squad was led by a head cheerleader who was sent with the football team on all trips, to gather Missouri support at the out-of-Columbia games. In the Fall of 1937 three women were added to the squad. The addition of Betty Jacque Smith, Betty Ann Onhemus, and Jean Jones gave new enthusiasm to fans. The girls' uniforms were all white - long pleated skirts, sweaters, ankle sox, and flat-heeled oxfords. The only color notes were the black and gold buttons on their white "beanies" and the huge black and gold "M's" on their sweaters. In 1954 a pep organization called the "Hellcats" formed to coordinate fundraisers to help finance the cheerleaders to out of town games. In was in this same year that the cheerleaders were organized under the Student Government Association. In the next several years the cheerleaders prospered, not only growing in size, but also growing in enthusiasm. In the early 1980's the cheerleaders were moved under the direction of the Athletic Department, where the 46 members now reside under the direction of Suzy Thompson.

Suzy has served as Mizzou's cheerleader coach since April 1993 and the Mascot Coordinator since 2003. She coached the '96-'97 squad to Mizzou's first national cheerleading championship in April 1997. In addition, both the All girls and Coed squads have placed in the Top 10 at the National Cheerleaders Association College Nationals the past 6 years. Not to mention that the Mizzou Mascot, Truman, won the Mascot National Championship in 2003! A college cheerleader herself at Northeast Missouri State University, Suzy taught 29 years at Macon High School, where she coached Macon's cheerleading squads to fourteen state and three national championships and in 1991 received the Missouri State High School Activities Association Distinguished Service Award. In 1996, she was awarded the Section 5 Coach of the Year Award from the national federation. She is president of the Missouri Cheerleading Coaches Association.

The University of Missouri cheerleading program is comprised of three squads, a Small Co-ed Squad for Football/Mens Basketball, a Small Co-ed Squad for Football/Womens Basketball and an All-Girl Squad for Volleyball. Please see our Cheerleader Tryout Information section and our Cheerleader Application in the right sidebar for more details.

Alumni Cheerleaders and Mascots: We have information for you too! Check out the web site for the Cheer/Mascot Alumni Association link and join today!

Cheerleader Appearance Requests
For information regarding Cheerleader Appearance Requests please download, fill out and return a request form Open PDF, e-mail or call Suzy Thompson (Cheer Coach/Mascot Coordinator) at (573) 882-6802 (office) or (573) 228-0907 (cell).


Last updated: January 18, 2012

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