WACO -- Baylor has hired Karry Forsythe as head coach of its newly added competitive cheer program, director of athletics Ian McCaw announced Thursday. Forsythe has spent the last nine years serving as coach of the cheerleaders and dance team at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
“Karry’s experience and passion for competitive cheer will be invaluable as she builds a prominent national program at Baylor,” McCaw said. “Her leadership of our program and the sport nationally will serve Baylor well as we seek to attract the top student-athletes.”
Forsythe will head Baylor’s newest intercollegiate athletics program that will begin its inaugural season of competition during the 2010-11 academic year. Competitive cheer was approved as Baylor’s 11th women’s sport and 19th sport by the University’s Board of Regents in July 2009.
“I am grateful to be a part of the Baylor family and cannot wait to get to work at bringing a national championship to this great university,” Forsythe said. “I am extremely excited to see competitive cheer gaining such momentum around the country, and am proud to have the opportunity to be the first school in the Big 12 to start a program of this caliber. The talent pool in Texas is as good as any in the nation.”
A native of Houston, Forsythe has been at Blinn since 2001 serving as coach of the small co-ed cheer team as well as the dance team. Forsythe’s Blinn squads competed in six National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Collegiate Cheer & Dance Championships, earning top-six finishes in each of the past five seasons including a second-place finish in 2009.
Forsythe is a 1999 graduate of Sam Houston State and earned a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M in 2003. She was a member of Blinn’s dance team in 1994-95 before transferring to SHSU to complete her undergraduate degree. Forsythe spent two years at Brenham High School as a teacher and cheer and dance coach before moving to Blinn. She is certified by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors (AACCA) and is a member of the Texas Dance Educators Association (TDEA) as well as the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD).
Baylor will become the first Big 12 institution to implement a varsity competitive cheer program and one of three Bowl Championship Series (BCS) members nationally, joining Maryland (ACC) and Oregon (Pac-10).
Baylor’s competitive cheer program will operate separate from the school’s long-established spirit squads and will compete in a minimum of eight competitions per season (running October through the NCA championships in April) and eventually boast a roster of 35 female student-athletes. The squad will host home meets at the Ferrell Center.
A survey of Baylor's undergraduate students revealed that competitive cheer was the overwhelming choice to become the school’s newest varsity sport for women. Nationally, 24 state high school athletic associations currently recognize competitive cheer as an interscholastic sport and offer a state association sponsored athletic championship. Competitive cheer has the ninth-highest number of high school participants of all female sports nationally and club participation throughout Texas and the nation is strong.