Take one look at the 8-member Virginia State University Cheerleading squad – and immediately you recognize a difference from their counterparts. Head cheerleading coach Adrian Taylor explained that her team members are regimented and designed to focus on what the coach describes as the three A’s; academics, athleticism and attitude.

During the first round of the 2022 CIAA Tournament at the Royal Farms Arena, downtown Baltimore, A predictably sparse crowd witnessed a what began as a low-scoring but exciting contest between the Lady Trojans and Shaw University’s Lady Bears.

As time would tell, the Trojans eventually soundly defeated the Bears by a score of 68-42. When it appeared who the victor would be, more eyes in the Royal Farms Arena began paying attention to the VSU cheerleaders aka “WooWoos” as they exhibited a synchronized, tight-knit show-style as presented in what coach Taylor describes as their ‘stomp-and-shake’ approach. The unique style was created by its founder Dr. Paulette Walker Johnson in 1974, said coach Taylor. 

“She’s our living legend and continuously inspires us to excel,” said the 7-year head coach and VSU alum. Coach Taylor is also a 22-year high school educator at Meadowbrook High School in Chesterfield, Virginia. 
Her assistant coach, Chardon Jones, is another former “Woo-Woo” member who works in the computer science industry throughout the week. – when not on campus helping with the young ladies. 

VSU athletic director, Peggy Davis, was also in the stands, verbally “coaching” the Lady Trojan hoopers. Ms. Davis, is a former head coach of the Lady Trojan basketball team and is highly impressed with the cheerleading squad, as well. 

“Coach Taylor takes no stuff. She’s a disciplinarian and it shows. Those girls are very organized and professional – that’s all reflective of Coach Taylor and her work ethic,” said Ms. Davis, a 23-year employee at VSU and an alum of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.

Timothy Cox
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