Cheerleading coach leaves WKU after three months for ‘dream’ job at UK

Leo Bertucci

Just three months after arriving on the Hill to take the job as WKU’s head cheerleading coach, that coach is heading to Lexington.

Ryan Martin O’Connor, who was hired as WKU’s head cheerleading coach and spirit program coordinator on March 18, became the University of Kentucky’s head cheerleading coach on Tuesday. The Lexington native was a member of UK’s cheerleading squad from 2008-09.

O’Connor will replace Jomo Thompson, who was fired after an investigation uncovered allegations of alcohol drinking and public acts of nudity among members of the cheerleading squad during a team retreat. Three assistant cheerleading coaches were also dismissed.

“It’s a dream come true to be back home in Lexington to lead the best cheerleading program in the country,” O’Connor said in a press release. “I watched this program my entire life and I can’t wait to experience these traditions again in a new role.”

Zach Greenwell, the associate athletic director of communications and media relations at WKU, said in an email that O’Connor was scheduled to make $35,000 as the Hilltoppers’ head cheerleading coach. WKU Athletics has not released a statement on O’Connor’s departure.

UK would not release O’Connor’s salary for her new job without an open records request, which the Herald filed. A response to the request was not received before this story was published.