Rewind with the Resource Teacher

Former world champion cheerleader comes back to lead LHS cheer team


provided by Collin Johnson

Mr. Collin Johnson cheered collegiately at Morehead State for his last two years of college, where he won multiple competitions. 

“Cheer isn’t a sport,” “Guys don’t cheer,” “Cheerleading is so easy.” After all, Mr. Johnson, or as his athletes call him, Coach Collin, proved this stereotype wrong. Resource teacher Mr. Johnson has been cheering since he was in high school, so he knows a little bit about the cheer world. Ever since he set foot on a cheer mat, he knew it was meant to be. 

“One of my friends actually just asked me if I wanted to throw her in the air and catch her feet and I said, ‘Sure, why not,’” Johnson recalled. “At that point, I just think it clicked for me.” 

Johnson cheered for Timberland High School, junior year through senior year. He then went on to cheer at Iowa Western Community College for two years and then Morehead State for his last two, all at which he won multiple competitions. 

From winning state during high school to winning national championships to winning first in the world, Johnson knows what cheer is all about. “The highest skill I could do tumbling wise was a punch front round off backhandspring full,” Johnson said.

“I think a real cheerleader is someone who is a student-athlete whose main goal is to provide a welcoming gameday atmosphere and to get the crowd/student section involved and hyped up when cheering on any sport they attend,” Johnson described.

Throughout his cheerleading career, he explored many different things he could do that he couldn’t do before. He learned how to use his loud voice to get the crowd’s attention easily, how to properly stunt (throw girls in the air), and it even helped him become more outgoing for the future. 

Coach Collin stunts with his wife after winning a national title. (provided by Collin Johnson)

“At first, when I started cheer I was kind of shy and timid, but after doing so for a couple of years, I got the hang of it and started becoming more outgoing towards everyone around me,” Johnson shares.

He cheered for the football team, basketball team and he even did the competition team at the schools he attended. He called cheers, stunted, tumbled and tried to get the crowd hype everywhere he went.

“Competing was definitely my favorite part of cheer because I just loved going out there and showing the best routine to the judges and other cheerleaders watching,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s just an awesome feeling.”  

In 2018, about a year before he graduated, he realized he needed a small break from his cheer life to focus on school and getting his career started. During his time off, he still coached some tumbling classes and did private lessons just to help out some other cheerleaders. After about a year, Coach Hill (former Liberty cheer coach) had asked him to come help out with Liberty’s varsity competition cheer team. After attending quite often, he realized that he needed cheer back into his life. 

When he first started at Liberty, he coached the JV cheer team for about a year, then moved onto coaching the varsity cheer team for three years and counting. “My favorite part of coaching is watching the team grow as a whole throughout the season and watching them motivate each other to become better athletes,” Johnson said. “I love the camaraderie and connections they have with each other.” 

Johnson started coaching because his old coach at Iowa Western, Jeff Snow, influenced him to coach and spread the happiness he has for cheer to others. Ever since Johnson started coaching the varsity competition team, he and his team have accomplished many things. They have won three regional championships, won one state title and have competed at the national level in Disney World last year and are competing again this year. 

LHS varsity comp cheer team poses for a picture after they won their fifth regional championship (provided by Annie Bobbitt)

“My goal for the competition team right now is for them to go out on the mat and hit a zero deduction routine (a perfect routine) that they are happy with and possibly perform it the best they ever have,” noted Johnson. 

Mr. Johnson is loved by all of the cheerleaders and fellow coaches at Liberty. Counselor and varsity coach, Mrs. Sheffield has been working with Coach Collin for about three years. Sheffield says he’s always had such a great positive energy that helps team confidence and attitude. 

“I think Collin is a great person to work with because he holds me accountable and always sees the potential of what our team can do by pushing them harder to become better athletes,” Sheffield said. 

He and his athletes have a good relationship, which is essential to have on a team you are always with. “I would hope that my team and I have a good relationship because in my eyes, it helps add another adult figure in the girls that they can turn to, when they don’t have a good support system anywhere else,” he said.

With his background in cheer – and blood, sweat and tears created from cheer – Johnson understands the struggles we’ve had to go through and the successes that we have made. Although many people may not have known that their own resource teacher was a world champion cheerleader, it seems pretty cool to know now, right?