Cheer coach earns state title; hopes to grow the program

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With light streaming through the gym’s windows, the women of California Baptist University’s cheer team stunt, tumble and flip through the air under the instruction of Tami Flemming, head cheerleading coach and California State Cheer Coach of the Year.

Cheerpros, the host of the California State Cheer Championships, named Flemming Coach of the Year Jan. 27.

After being nominated for the title in November, the coach had to submit a résumé and three letters of recommendation.

“I want it to help grow the program,” Fleming said. “I don’t necessarily want it to be glory for me and my hard work. I just want it to be like ‘Hey, CBU now has the coach of the year working for them. It is just another reason for students to come to this school and join this program.’”

Fleming has spent the past three years coaching CBU’s cheerleaders. During that time she has taken the team from the No. 10 ranking to the No. 2 spot at the National Cheerleading Association Collegiate Nationals Championship.

At CBU, Fleming said she that has helped grow the cheerleading program by recruiting more talented incoming classes, expanding the skill of the squad, involving the Lancer mascot in competitions and growing the name of CBU’s cheer team in the Riverside community.

“There are a lot of girls now who come to CBU just to be a part of the cheer program, as any athlete would do,” Fleming said.

Including her time at CBU, Fleming has spent 16 years coaching cheerleaders ranging from 3 years old to 23 years old.

During that time, the coach also owned her own all-star cheerleading gym.

She came to CBU following the death of her friend and previous cheerleading coach Wendy Rice. Fleming sold her gym a year later in hopes of furthering CBU’s program.

“I felt like God was leading me more to be here at CBU,” Fleming said.

Going from running her own gym of several hundred girls to working with CBU’s 40 proved to be an enjoyable transition for the coach.

“Every age group has its own set of issues, but I feel like here I am getting to work with young women and help them make good life decisions,” Fleming said. “I love all aspects of it, but it’s been a different role here (at CBU).”

Fleming hopes her title as Coach of the Year only helps further the cheer program, and bring even more talented students.

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