Ashland University Director of Athletics Al King announced the hire of Denise Farnsworth as the Eagles' new head cheerleading and dance team coach on Monday (Jan. 30).
Farnsworth will take over for long-time head coach Vicki Wirick, who is retiring effective at the end of the 2016-17 basketball season.
"We're delighted to have Denise join our staff," King said. "Vicki Wirick has done an exceptional job over the years with our cheerleaders and dance team, building it from the ground up. We're asking Denise to come in with some ideas and a new perspective, and augment what Vicki's done.
"Our cheerleaders and dancers are a major part of our game-day environment, and it's important to us that they have the coaching they need to reach their full potential and put on high-quality shows."
Farnsworth is an Ashland native who has been a cheerleader, cheer coach and dance coach for two decades.
"I am beyond thrilled and super excited for the opportunity," she said. "I would like to thank Al so much for taking the time and giving me this opportunity. I'm certainly so grateful. It's my home town, I grew up here. This is absolutely the next best step for me, to take that step into something more."
Farnsworth's extensive coaching career includes more than a decade in various capacities at Ashland High School – 13 years (2002-14) as competition cheer coach, seven years (2008-14) as Sweet Sixteen dance coach, four years (2011-14) as Sweet Sixteen competition dance coach, six years (2009-14) as competition cheer/dance event director and four years (2008-11) as varsity/junior varsity football cheer coach.
Prior to returning to her alma mater, Farnsworth spent two years (2006-07) at Upper Arlington High School as varsity competition cheer and junior varsity cheer coach. Her coaching career began at Ashland Middle School in 1998.
Farnsworth was a professional cheerleader/dancer for Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew from 2006-08, and she was a varsity cheerleader at Tiffin University from 1997-98.
"I'm already in touch with some of my contacts from Columbus," Farnsworth said. "I plan on doing a lot of it myself, but I want to get some other people involved to keep the ideas fresh."
Said King, "Denise has an extensive background in cheerleading and dance. She has some ties throughout Ohio that should allow us to expand what we're doing. Denise's enthusiasm is contagious, and she will bring energy and passion to the position."