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Staff Profile Q&A

13 Jan

Name:             Trisha O’Connor

Trisha O'Connor - Spirit Coordinator and Head Cheerleading Coach

Position:        Spirit Coordinator and Head Cheerleading Coach

Department/Office where you work: Student Affairs/Spirit Programs

Number of years at SFA: I have been coaching at SFA for seven years, but I also attended SFA the four years prior, so 11 years total.

Educational background: Bachelor’s degrees in Child and Family Development and Psychology

Tell us how you came to work in your current position:

I was a member of the cheerleading program for four years prior to graduation in 2005. From the moment I became a member of this program, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the coaching staff. After graduation, I approached the head coach at the time, Brad Patterson, and Assistant Director of Student Affairs Michael Preston and let them know that I would like to stay at SFA as a member of the professional staff. At that time, I was hired as the assistant coach for the large coed team. Soon after, the all-girl cheerleading coach resigned and I was given that program as the head coach. After my first year as assistant and head coach in the SFA Cheer Program, the other head coach resigned and I applied for the position of spirit coordinator and head cheerleading coach, and that’s where I am today!

What do you love about working at SFA?

I love my students! I could not ask for a better group to work with. They are highly motivated, work hard and are very much an extended family for me.

What’s one thing you wish you could tell SFA students and parents?

To the students, I would like to say that it’s okay, and encourage them to ask for help. If that is from your professors or other professional staff, if you need help with academics, personal issues or anything else, ask for help. To parents, I would like to say that it’s okay to let your kids handle some problems on their own. Now, this is not to say that your kids no longer need you or want you to help, but sometimes they need to stand on their own two feet, make mistakes and become successful on their own merit. In the end, it will not only help prepare them for life after college, but it will also mean so much more that they have been able to figure out how to handle situations and still reach their goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy reading. I read at least a handful of books at any given time and enjoy true crime and non-fiction reading the most. I also enjoy watching television, sewing and any sporting events and activities.


Spirit Teams celebrate accomplishments, prepare to defend national titles

10 Mar

SFA’s cheer and dance teams have a lot to celebrate these days, both in the classroom and on the competition floor.

All four squads (Large Coed, Small Coed, Pom Squad and Jack Attack) are gearing up to compete in the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance Collegiate National Championships April 7-9  in Daytona Beach, Fla. In addition to the four teams competing, six couples qualified for the partner stunt competition, taking six of the top seven qualifying positions, and one couple qualified for the open partner stunt competition.

SFA Spirit Teams hold 18 national titles since 1994 from the NCA/NDA National Championships, including a 2010 National Championship for the Large Coed team.

The Spirit Teams continue to make strides in average team GPAs, coming in above the all-campus average for the 2010 fall semester. The Large Coed squad had an average GPA of 2.47 for the fall 2010 semester, with three students making the Dean’s List and one making the President’s Honor Roll. The Small Coed squad boasted a 2.688 average GPA for fall 2010, with six students on the Dean’s List and five on the President’s Honor Roll. Pom Squad’s fall 2010 average GPA was a 2.854, with two students each on the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll, and Jack Attack held a 2.853 average GPA, with four students on the Dean’s List.

The SFA community will get a preview of the Spirit Teams’ routines at the annual Nationals Showcase at 6:30 p.m. April 1 in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. There also will be special performances by other competitive college teams.  This event is open to students, faculty and staff, as well as to the community.  Entry is $2 for pre-sale tickets, or $3 at the door.

If your student is interested in membership on one of the Spirit Teams, tryouts for Dance Teams are April 29-30 in the William R. Johnson Coliseum, and tryouts for Cheer Teams are May 6-8 in the HPE Complex. Information on requirements can be found at or by e-mailing Trisha O’Connor, Head Cheerleading Coach, at, or Head Dance Coach T.J. Maple at