Former Boyle cheerleader coaches Danville

December 03, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

Jennifer Shearer, 24, just began a new job this year for Danville High School as the new cheerleading coach.

Her alma mater? None other than Boyle County.

Shearer notices that her friends have received her move over to "the competition" as well as can be expected.

"So far I've heard 'traitor' or 'you've crossed over,'" Shearer giggles, "and of course, people from Danville High say 'now she's seen the light.'"

However, there was no internal conflict on whether to take the job or not when it was offered. Shearer claims she did not even think about the football rivalry between Boyle and Danville when she accepted.

Until ...

"My first game. It was so weird. I had to walk all the way to the other side of Rebel Stadium to the visitor's side. I walked past my former coach, some friends, it was just odd. It really hit me then."


When she walked by Boyle County's cheerleaders, she thought "Hey, I used to be one of you."

Shearer says her friends who graduated from Boyle County and her former coach support her passion for coaching but do head some jabs her way.

If anyone can handle it, Shearer can; the digs are nothing new to her.

"It really started back when I was a kid, but it came from the opposite side that it comes from now," Shearer says.

Lots of Danville graduates in her family

Her father, aunt and uncle all graduated from Danville, and her grandfather who died in '93, George Shearer, started working for the school in the 1950s.

"He drove a school bus for the band and athletic teams for years before he retired sometime in the '80s."

Shearer's family had moved away from Danville when she was a child, then returned in 1993. She decided to go to Boyle because a friend went there.

She confesses that when she was younger, "all of my allegiance went to Boyle County."

Who could blame her?

While she attended, her bother, James III, was a senior and an offensive lineman.

"Well, Boyle's team wasn't as good then. He was pretty happy to be there because he knew he wouldn't have played as much if he were on Danville's team."

Shearer's brother now coaches football for Hogsett Elementary.

She says when her brother attends the big rivalry game, he dresses in layers of clothes so had can wear the colors of both schools "and I guess take some off depending on who's winning," Shearer says jokingly.

She foresees winning

Winning is what Shearer foresees in her cheerleading squad's future, too.

She says the cheerleaders have an excellent chance at being in the top five at the state championships if they get through regionals.

"We're working really hard together on our routine. They have come such a long way," she says.

Shearer replaced Crystal Belcher, who was the cheerleading coach for about 13 years before her.

"It's been a big adjustment for me and the team. There are some traditions and things that they've had to tell me about to get me into the loop."

Some of the traditions include the squad having pizza with the football team after the game on Friday night. Also, the decoration of local merchants' windows with good luck sentiments for the team in shoe polish.

One advantage

But Shearer does have one advantage.

Because she began coaching four years ago for Bate Middle School, Shearer already had a history with the senior cheerleaders who are now on the Danville squad.

"They were in eighth grade when I started coaching there. I feel very fortunate to be able to see how they've progressed over the years. They've grown up so much."

Shearer says "coaching is something that should be fun," and her job at Danville High School has proved to be no exception.

"I have a lot of friends at Danville, and I don't feel like an outsider at all."

When she interviewed with Danville for the job, she was asked where her loyalty would be due to her background with Boyle.

"And then they laughed," she says, adding that she was a bit relieved.

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