July 8, 2016
By Russell Dorn
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Delayna Herndon, a former Bowling Green State cheerleader and seven-year member of the Detroit Tigers Energy Squad, has joined the University of Notre Dame family as the head cheerleading coach.
Herndon replaces long-time head coach Jo Minton, who retired in June following 22 years of service to the University.
In her new role Herndon will oversee three squads that cheer at a variety of Irish athletics events in addition to serving as ambassadors for Notre Dame in the community and on the road.
The Gibraltar, Michigan native brings a life-long passion of cheerleading and fan engagement to Notre Dame and is excited to bring a fresh look to the Irish cheer program while maintaining the tradition that is synonymous with Notre Dame and its athletics department.
“Fans can expect all the things they have traditionally loved about Notre Dame cheerleading, plus a little more,” said Herndon. “The role of the cheerleader is to enhance the game day experience. So whether that’s during the game or prior, the cheerleaders are an extension of the Notre Dame brand.
“I want to do some fun and interesting things but also play to the tradition that is so special to this University.”
Herndon brings a diverse background to the Irish, as she has coached cheerleaders from as young as six to as old as 22.
A four-year member of the BGSU small coed, all girl and college STUNT team, Herndon was twice named a captain of the STUNT team that finished ranked third in the nation in 2013.
During her time at Bowling Green and through the 2015 season, Herndon worked with the Detroit Tigers as a member of their DTE Energy Squad, interacting with fans at Tigers games to create a positive game day environment. She assisted with in-game promotions and acted as an ambassador of the Detroit Tigers brand by working actively in the community.
“We are very excited for Delayna to join the Notre Dame family and I believe that she is exactly what we need to enhance our cheer program,” said Rachel Jones, Notre Dame’s employee services manager and cheerleading administrator.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in dietetics in May 2013, Herndon spent three seasons working as a football recruiting assistant at Bowling Green before becoming the All Star Cheerleading and Tumbling Coach in Southgate, Michigan for three years (2013-16). There she worked with young students ages 5-12, helping the Youth Prep Level 1, Youth Level 1 and Junior Level 2 squads earn national championships.
Herndon also has experience as the Michigan all girl competitive cheerleading head coach from 2015-16, as a cheerleading and tumbling instructor at Core Athletics from 2015-16 and as an assistant varsity cheerleading coach at her alma mater – Gibraltar Carlson High School – from 2013-14.
A college STUNT official with USA Cheer since 2014, Herndon served as a cheerleading coach and camp coordinator for the French Professional Football League in Paris in 2014 and worked as an International All Star cheerleading judge at the Ontario Cheerleading Federation and Canadian Cheer Evolution Nationals in 2015.
Herndon is certified in levels 1-5 for stunting and tumbling through the United States All Star Federation (USASF) and is CDC Concussion Safety, Red Cross First Aid/BLS and AACCA Spirit Safety certified.
Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in history before earning his master's degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.