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UK names new head cheerleading coach

Ryan O'Connor is a Lexington native and former UK cheerleader from 2008-2009.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky has hired a new head cheerleading coach following a three-month investigation that found hazing and "inappropriate conduct" by the squad at off-campus events. 

According to UK's website, Ryan Martin O'Connor comes to UK from Western Kentucky University, where she was the head cheerleading coach and spirit program coordinator. At UK, she will be in charge of the 24-time national champion Wildcats' coed cheerleading program. 

O'Connor is a Lexington native, a five-time KAPOS state champion, and a five-time UCA National High School Cheerleading Champion while cheering for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

O'Connor also was a cheerleader at UK from 2008-09, then at Alabama from 2009-12. While with the Crimson Tide, she won the 2011 UCA College National Championship. O'Connor graduated from Alabama in 2012 and has a son with her husband Michael.


"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." 

RELATED: UK cheer coaches dismissed after investigation found hazing, potential conflicts of interest

RELATED: UK cheerleading program now under athletic department's control following dismissal of coaches

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