Coastal Carolina University named a head cheerleading coach Friday.
David Almeida, a former collegiate national champion, comes to Coastal from Jacksonville State University, where he has served as the cheerleading coach since 2013.
Coastal temporarily suspended its cheerleading program in the spring
after five anonymous letters were mailed to Coastal officials. The letters alleged cheerleaders were running an escort service and working in strip clubs. It described a culture of hazing where older cheerleaders forced younger ones to drink alcohol at parties and do their homework for them. The letter said those who didn’t comply were not accepted on the team.
Campus police interviewed current and former cheerleaders and determined at least four cheerleaders participated in an escort service where “sugar daddies” dated them in exchange for money and gifts, according to a police report.
The cheerleaders worked through the website SeekingArrangements.com
and were paid anywhere from $100 to $1,500 per date, according to the report. Some of the girls also received gifts of shoes, clothes and Michael Kors purses.
However, all the cheerleaders denied having sex for money. No charges were filed. The cheerleading program was reinstated and the investigation wrapped up just before tryouts.
Yet the program didn't have a full-time coach until hiring Almeida. At the time of the suspension, the program was led by a volunteer coach.
Almeida managed all game day and competition activities of the spirit program at Jacksonville State. During his years at that school, the cheer program saw improved GPA and graduation rates, as well as the development of many university and community initiatives.
“We are excited to welcome David to the Chanticleer family,” said Matt Hogue, director of athletics at CCU, in a news release. “We are fortunate to have such an accomplished coach lead the next chapter of our program, especially as we move to the FBS and compete on a much higher level.”
Prior to his stint at JSU, Almeida led cheer programs at George Washington University (2012-2013) and Kansas Wesleyan University (2011-2012).
“I am excited to build a successful program at CCU,” Almeida said in the release. “Coastal has great resources and many exciting things happening on campus, and I am thrilled to be a part of that. My primary goal for this cheerleading team is to make them excellent students and to help them become the best game-day cheerleaders they can be. I know there have been challenges with the program, but I am focused on the team’s future, and I am confident we will be prepared for our many important game day and competitive opportunities.”
Apart from his collegiate coaching, Almeida has also led several all-star cheer gyms, winning national titles at the all-star level along with developing scholarship-level athletes.
Almeida is certified by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators and the United States All Star Federation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.
His awards and honors include being a member of an NCA National and Grand Collegiate Championship team, serving as an NCA National Collegiate Champion affiliate coach and judging local, state, national and world contests.