Chelsea Estes and Kayla Peiffer have been named Oakland University Integrated Cheer and Dance coaches, announced by Director of Athletics Jeff Konya on Thursday. Estes and Peiffer will be responsible for leading the team in fan engagement, community interaction and in competition, showcasing the team's talents at games with cheer and dance performances, as well as integrated routines.
"Both Chelsea and Kayla will bring so much energy and passion to those positions that the results are going to be fantastic," said Konya. "They are committed to the student-athlete experience, as that is a hallmark with our Athletics Ethos"
In an effort to enhance the experience for cheer and dance team members, the Golden Grizzlies moved the teams under one operational umbrella. They both will have cheer and dance routines, and the student-athletes on this team will have a large part in deciding the ultimate direction of this team. This will include their performances, uniforms, and even the eventual name of this new team. Both coaches will also work with student-athletes that would like to engage in respective competitions in their discipline.
Estes brings 22 years of dancing experience, including spending the last five years as a member of the Detroit Tigers Energy Squad. She is also an active member of her local dance studio's competition team. She began her career at Oakland two years ago as a sideline reporter on ESPN3 and understands the culture within Athletics. A native of Clarkston, Mich., Estes graduated from Michigan State with a degree in elementary education and is currently a first grade teacher.
"I am beyond honored to be the head coach of this new team that will feature cheer and dance student-athletes," said Estes. "This program will be unique, creative and full of entertainment! We will strive to provide a team to the fans that will amplify the gameday performance and environment. Kayla and I will highlight the talents and skills both the cheer and dance team possess. We both acknowledge the hard work each program has invested over the past few years, and we will continue to work with both teams together to enhance and to reach their fullest potential. Change is sometimes difficult, but the changes these teams are about to undergo will be exciting for alumni, current student-athletes, and Oakland Athletics."
Peiffer worked as a cheerleading advisor in the Sylvania School District in Ohio and was a varsity cheerleader at the University of Toledo for both gameday presentation and competition. For the Rockets, Peiffer worked community service events, increased fan engagement and promoted gameday traditions. She earned her business management and marketing degree from Toledo and immediately joined the athletics staff where she was responsible for all gameday operations, marketing and retail merchandise sales.
"I am honored to embark on this journey with Oakland Athletics as the assistant coach for this new team," said Peiffer. "Throughout my cheerleading career, I was able to be coached and influenced by some of the most amazing people. I was able to learn lessons that carry a lot farther than just athletics. Our program will consist of both cheerleaders and dancers who will work together on various performances, in-game promotions and entertainment that will highlight their talents and techniques. The student-athletes will be proud to honor the traditions of Oakland University throughout the games, on campus and in the community."
There will be an informational meeting on Wednesday, May 17, from 6-7 p.m. in the Athletics Center O'rena. Tryouts for the new team will be held on May 22-24, in the O'rena from 6-8 pm. Additional information for the competitive teams will be available soon. Oakland University students interested in trying out need to plan on being enrolled as a full-time student in the Fall (12 credit hours or more) and should contact Chelsea Estes at firstname.lastname@example.org.