Did you know that the Spirit Program cheerleaders, dance squad, and mascots made more than 120 appearances last year, not including sporting events? They put their faces and their hearts into the game and the community. All with the single-minded purpose of passing on their passion for the Knights.

“I’ve been a UCF coach for 27 years and a cheerleader since the covered wagon days,” Head Coach, Spirit Program, Linda Gooch laughed. “My father retired from the military in Orlando, so I finished high school here. I never wanted to be a Gator, I just wanted to beat the Gators!”

Regardless of the team UCF is battling, the Spirit Program rarely misses a beat. On game day, they kick off the energy that inspires and ignites the crowd and players. And it’s not just cheers or chance that make them fierce. Their “spirit” requires strength and stamina, developed through practices and training with Gooch four days a week. That human firepower that bursts forth on the field involves serious acrobatic skills, super strength—some have been UCF’s weightlifting record holders—and plain old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness, sweat.

“In many ways, we’re the face of the UCF athletic department.”