Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Southeast hires former Redhawks cheerleader to be new coach

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Redhawk Cheerleaders perform at halftime at the Southeast football game on Saturday. Photo by Nathan Hamilton.

Most people participate in the sport they eventually coach, but most do not participate on the team one year, become an assistant coach the next and get promoted to head coach of their former squad the year after that.

Kodie Edmonds-Bennett, a 2010 Southeast graduate and former Redhawks cheerleader, was hired to be the cheerleading coach on Sept. 4. She was an assistant coach for the team last year and has worked for the National Cheerleaders Association during summers as an instructor.

According to Kent Phillips, coordinator of Facilities & Event Management at Southeast, coach Roxi Brooks resigned because her family was moving to St. Louis for her husband's job. Phillips interviewed both assistant coaches, Edmonds-Bennett and Ben Stallons, to fill the position.

"It's really neat," Edmonds-Bennett said about coaching. "I think it was really special to have been a part of the squad already, so you kind of know all the traditions and the history and kind of the ins and outs of the squad. You just kind of take the flipside, and you kind of know exactly what you want the program to accomplish, and now instead of doing it from the perspective of being an athlete, you're guiding it from the coach's side."

Cheerleading co-captain Sam Sanchez was on the squad with Edmonds-Bennett during his freshman year, and he also worked with her as an NCA youth instructor over the summer. He said that she is a talented person and that she will continue to make the changes in the squad that Brooks had started.

"It wasn't a bad transition," co-captain Stacy Smetzer said. "It was kind of rough at first when we didn't know who our coach was going to be because she didn't want to step on anybody's toes, but it's all falling back into place right now."

Edmonds-Bennett is excited because she gets to help the team continue its transition from two squads, co-ed and all-women, to one squad.

"We're really hoping the way we set it up this year works really well," Edmonds-Bennett said. "We have group stunts and we also have co-ed partner stunting, and we're hoping that that's going to work out really smoothly, having the combination of the two this year."

In addition to cheering at games, the squad also makes community appearances and holds camps at schools. The squad does not compete, but Sanchez said that it hopes to do so in the future, and it would have to bring an outside source in for critique.

"My favorite thing about being a Southeast cheerleader is the games," Smetzer said. "There are a lot of fans, and it's just really upbeat. The players have actually come up to me just randomly and say that they appreciate us being there, so that's a good thing."