Guy Who Created Modern Cheerleading Is Dead

Lawrence Herkimer even patented pompoms
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2015 9:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the day's most interesting obituaries is that of 89-year-old Lawrence Herkimer, who pretty much created modern cheerleading as we know it, reports the New York Times. Herkimer, known as the "grandfather of cheerleading" and "Mr. Cheerleader," actually patented pompoms—he thought they'd look great on newfangled color TVs—and created a cheerleader staple known as the "Herkie jump." The latter is why people are posting their "#herkie" photos today, notes the BBC.

As the Times recounts, Herkimer had been head cheerleader at SMU and, upon graduation, borrowed $600 and launched a coaching industry from his garage. “I was making more money in the summertime in camps than I was teaching all year at SMU," he once said, referring to his job as a physical education teacher at the school. "So I quit teaching and went full time into cheerleading." His camps exploded in popularity, and his National Cheerleaders Association went on to train 150,000 cheerleaders annually.

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