For over 27 years, Gooch has molded and shaped the UCF spirit program into one of the nation’s finest today. Since her squad’s began competing in the nationals in 1994, they have won two National Championships, finished in the top-10 in 14 of the past 16 years and also had two runner-up performances.

“We are very proud for coach (Linda) Gooch on being recognized for the impact she has had on the collegiate spirit community nationally,” said Keith Tribble, UCF’s Director of Athletics. “It is a great testament to her beliefs and what she stands for, that her peers have bestowed such a special honor.”

In 2003, the team won their first national crown ending the University of Kentucky’s streak of eight-consecutive titles. Then, in 2007, UCF claimed its second title outlasting several SEC schools, including UK’s Wildcats, Alabama and Tennessee.

Her squad, in 2007-08, went on to be featured in a six-part television documentary for the WE network, chronicling the program’s preparation to defend its second national title.

Gooch is the seventh recipient of this award that is presented annually in January during the National College Cheer and Dance Championships held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“Having Linda Gooch receive this top award is an historic moment for our cheer program at UCF,” said assistant coach Michael Pare. “Recognizing the excellence of the UCF cheer program is a true tribute to her dedication to UCF, its athletic department, our cheer athletes and alumni. It couldn’t go to a more deserving recipient.”