|Temple University Cheerleading Profile|
One of the key words you can use to describe the Cheerleading program at Temple is opportunity. And that does not simply cover those men and women participating in the cheer program but the coach himself. For Ryan Maag, the head Cheerleading and dance coach at the Philadelphia based school, is afforded somewhat of a luxury. While a number of his counterparts work full or part time jobs then coach a cheer program in their 'spare' time, Haag is fortunate to run his program as a full time university employee. That's right, full time cheer and dance coach.
The 26 year old directs the university's five cheer divisions. "We have an all girl squad, a varsity co-ed squad, a junior varsity co-ed and a dance team," Haag said at half-time of Temple's early November meeting against Florida in New York's Madison Square Garden. Besides the aforementioned squads he also is in charge of directing the (owl) mascots.
Maag is in his second year at Temple. Previously he was at the University of Colorado and had several years coaching cheer squads at the high school level before making the move to college. A member of the national Cheerleading board, Maag simply has Cheerleading in his blood. He began Cheerleading at age nine after being involved in gymnastics.
His squads at Temple practice as a team two hours a day, five days a week. National competitions are also entered on a regular basis. As any coach in basketball, or almost any other sport, would attest, Maag takes great satisfaction in working in practice then watching the final result.
"One of the most satisfying parts of coaching," he said, "is coming up with new ideas and using creativity, working on those ideas then watching them all come together out there during the games."
Two of the co-ed squad members that were in New York for the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament that Temple participated in, also are roommates. Stefanie Boyd and Kelly Fryer are both juniors and room together on the road and on campus.
Boyd, a native of Hossfind, Pa., first started cheering at age seven and finds the travel on the college level very interesting. "We go to all the away games and over the years visited some very cool places," she said. The success of the basketball team also been exciting and gratifying. "I've been in school (at Temple) two years and both times we won the Atlantic Ten (conference) championship."
Fryer hails from Norristown, Pa. and the mention of traveling each year to the St. Bonaventure alma mater of yours truly, brought a wide smile to her face. Seems that Fryer not only enjoys the electric atmosphere and excitement, even if she goes in as the 'enemy' at Bonaventure, but she was also a high schoolmate of the Bonnies promising point guard Marques Green.
Fryer also singled out the travel as being a very special and rewarding facet of the Temple cheer program. Her favorite place ? "New Orleans", where the Owls played in the NCAAs last March, she replied without a second hesitation.
Friendships that extend on and off the floor, travel and a wonderful chance to do what you truly enjoy are all highlights of a thoroughly successful Cheerleading program at Temple University.
About Ray Floriani: Ray Floriani has been writing college basketball for over twenty years. He is a columnist with Eastern Basketball magazine, Basketball Times and College Hoops Insider. In 1998 he was cited by the Gazelle Group for his work in covering the Coaches vs. Cancer events and was chosen 1999 NIT Media Man of the Year. Contact Ray Floriani.