ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Fontbonne University Director of Athletics, Maria Buckel, is pleased to announce the addition of competitive Cheerleading and Dance, along with STUNT for the 2019-20 season. Also, Stephanie Brant has been named the Head Dance Coach, while Karl Brown is named the Head Cheer and STUNT Coach.
"When purchasing Fontbonne West Campus (former John F. Kennedy High School), we planned to add competitive cheerleading and competitive dance once the facilities were ready," said Buckel. "However, with Lindenwood-Belleville recently announcing its closure we made the decision to accelerate our launch of Fontbonne competitive cheer and dance. There are only so many colleges and universities in the St. Louis region for cheerleaders and dancers to compete at a high level."
She continued, "Additionally, we were impressed by Coach Stephanie Brant and Coach Karl Brown. Therefore, we're excited to have Coach Brant and Coach Brown join the Fontbonne Family and lead our competitive Cheerleading and Dance programs. We're also excited to have former Lindenwood-Belleville cheerleaders and dancers to stay together as a team while representing Fontbonne and supporting their fellow Griffins."
Coach Brant will join Fontbonne after spending the last seven years with Lindenwood-Belleville overseeing the Cheer and Dance teams.
"I'm extremely blessed to continue my coaching career at Fontbonne University," said Brant. "I'm excited for the opportunity to create another successful dance team and spirit program."
"Coach Brant has a breadth of experience in many facets of dance." Buckel added. "She is well respected not only by her team but also in the community bringing not only technical abilities and an energetic recruitment to the program."
In 2017, the team placed fourth at the NAIA National Championships, while the dance team ended up in 11th.
In 2016, the team ended up with a sixth place national finish at the NDA Nationals and earned the title of Midwest Dance Champions at the Midwest Qualifier.
Coach Brant has training in ballet, tap, jazz, pom, hip-hop, pointe, modern, kick, and lyrical dance.
She graduated cum laude from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and minored in dance.
Prior to returning to Lindenwood-Belleville, Coach Brown moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, to coach cheerleading at Chaparral High School during the 2018-19 campaign. During his stint, he guided the Firebirds to a fifth place finish at the AIA State for 5-Man Stunt Group and Advanced Varsity Competitive Cheer. Chaparral also took home a second place finish at the USA Nationals Spirit.
"Coach Brown has grown the competitive cheer and competitive STUNT programs during his time at Lindenwood-Belleville, has a love for coaching, and growing the sport of cheerleading," said Buckel.
STUNT, the fastest growing female sport in the country, removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer, including partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps, and tumbling. These elements are put together in short routines that both teams must peform from head-to-head on the floor at the same time. With four quarters of play, it'll include parter stunts, pyramids & tosses, jumps & tumbling, and team rountines.
Coach Brown started at Lindenwood-Belleville in the summer of 2017 as a graduate assistant coach for cheerleading and dance. In 2018, he assisted the Lynx Line Dance Team to a first place finish at the NAIA Southwest Regional Qualifier.
"I'm extremely grateful and ecstatic for this new adventure with Fontbonne," said Brown. "I'm thankful to continue coaching at the collegiate level especially with Stephanie Brant. Building a program from nothing will take an immense amount of work, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."
In 2019, he became a certified USA Cheer Coach and Official.
He's a graduate of Lake Land College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012 with an Associate of Art in Elementary Education. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In the Fall of 2018, Coach Brown ended up with his Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Lindenwood-Belleville.
Both Coach Brant and Coach Brown start date begins on July 1st.
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