Written By Tiffany Felts

Under the legendary stewardship of head coach Misty Hodges, the University of Louisville All Girl cheerleading team has built a legacy of pushing boundaries and setting new standards that reverberate across the cheerleading world. As an alumna of this iconic team, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Misty Hodges’ coaching, and I am deeply honored to share her impact on the sport, the program, and the thousands of female cheerleaders – old and new.

A Legacy of Excellence

Misty Hodges embarked on her journey in cheerleading on the University of Louisville Large Coed team in 1990. When GymTyme (all-star cheerleading gym) opened in 1991, Misty began coaching all star teams and local school programs. After graduating in 1995, Misty served as the UofL Large Coed assistant coach before starting the University of Louisville All Girl team in 1998. From the beginning, she brought a vision that would eventually craft one of the most formidable dynasties in college cheerleading. Misty has led her All Girl teams to unparalleled success, clinching 20 National Championships out of 25 appearances, contributing to UofL’s Spirit Groups holding more national titles than any other sport offered at the university. Her leadership has not only brought trophies but also built a culture of excellence that attracts top-tier talent from across the nation.

“This program isn’t just about winning; it’s about building strong women who succeed in all aspects of life,” Hodges shared. “Here, we learn to lift each other up—literally and metaphorically.”

Beyond the trophies and titles, Hodges nurtured a program that was about much more than cheerleading. She created an environment where young women were empowered to achieve excellence not only on the mat but also in their personal lives. Former members of her teams have gone on to become councilwomen, doctors, nurses, teachers, business owners, dentists, and executives. Under her leadership, academic success was equally, if not more important, than athletic success.

A Culture of Family and Sacrifice

Trust was the foundation of Hodges’ program. Imagine the first time we all came together after tryouts, trusting strangers to throw you in the air and, more importantly, catch you. This level of trust is something that most people can’t comprehend, but it’s what defines champions. You have to trust your teammates – that they know their job, they’ve conquered the skills, they’ve put in the work, and they have your back. If you ever watch a collegiate nationals routine, you’ll understand.

Misty cultivated a team-led culture that emphasized individual sacrifice for the overall team’s success. And at the same time, this “sacrifice” wasn’t a sacrifice because our team was our family. Whether it meant taking on a different role or position in formation for the greater good, every team member prioritized the team over personal glory.

Teammates would cheer for you even when they were out of breath, knowing you needed that support. We learned our teammates’ strengths and weaknesses and selflessly compensated accordingly. We would push ourselves and each other, giving everything we’ve got for those 2 minutes and 30 seconds—not for ourselves, but for our team who had worked all year for that moment. “Leave it all on the mat,” “fight for it,” “talk to each other” were words we lived by.

“Being a part of Louisville All Girl has taught me the importance of fight, hard work, determination, and the importance of trusting a process. Being coached by Misty is unlike being coached by anyone else, she’s the baddest in the game, so you have no choice but to be as well!”

– Camryn Young, Senior

Misty’s guidance empowered us to be our best and fight for everything. But we’re human and we make mistakes. As Tom Hanks points out in A League of Their Own, “if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” And in those moments, Misty shared the hard lessons of how to be gracious winners… and losers.


A Lasting Impact

Winning our 10th consecutive national championship is a milestone that reflects the hard work, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment of the entire team and, most importantly, our legendary coach, Misty Hodges. Her influence has shaped not only champions but also empowered women who go on to make significant contributions in various fields.

“Cheering for Misty these past five years has taught me so many things. She’s challenged me to figure out my why and who I am, and never settle for anything in life!” – Taylar Hart, Senior

As we look to the future, the University of Louisville’s All Girl Cheerleading Team stands not just as competitors, but as standard-bearers of a dynasty. Each practice, performance, and competition echoes the legacy of excellence that Coach Misty Hodges has so passionately crafted. In the world of collegiate sports, where the dynamism and resilience of women are often celebrated, UofL’s cheerleaders emerge not just as athletes, but as ambassadors of a sport that demands as much grit as it does grace.

Under Hodges’ continued leadership, the program aims to maintain its competitive edge and continue shaping the lives of young women, equipping them with the skills, discipline, and confidence needed to succeed in whatever paths they choose. This legacy of empowerment is perhaps the most enduring victory of all.


Seniors:Genna Dellisola, Alyssa Freitas, Taylar Hart, Indira Neufville, Ava Phelps, Clare Wisniewski, Camryn Young; Juniors:Kamari Bibb, Meghan Podraza; Sophomores:Makenzie Dunn, Taylor Johnson, Alexus McEldowney, Kristen Williams; Freshmen: MaKenna Arnold, Brooklyn Brown, Artayshia Butler, Taylor Merchant, Tayla Murray, Tsugumi Takeuchi, Arielle Williams