Lisa Aderholt Retires- Leaves Sparkman Cheer Legacy
HARVEST- It’s usually not customary to cheer someone when they are leaving, but in the case of Lisa Aderholt a loud cheer is appropriate. After 29 years as head cheer coach at first Monrovia Middle School and for the last 23 years Sparkman High School, she has decided to hang up her pom-poms and retire joining her husband, Darin, who chose the same path of retirement two years ago after a long career as a coach in athletics.
“All of our lives we’ve been involved around our squads and teams as we both want to travel while we’re still young enough to really enjoy our retirement,” said Aderholt, who will turn 50 years old on May 30.
Aderholt’s astonishing career has presented her and her student-athletes championship rings aplenty. Her squads have won 30 Regional Championships, 29 Alabama State Championships and 12 National Championships. Included were two AHSAA State titles and UCA National High School Cheerleading titles earlier this year.
A sports enthusiast as long as she can remember, Aderholt grew up playing sports including four years of cheerleading, three years of softball and one season of track and field at Sparkman High. She attended Alabama where she became an UCA state cheerleader teaching the sport at area camps, then transferred to Athens State where she was a cheerleader for the Bears for two seasons.
“I’m very competitive and cheerleading is a challenge every day,” said Aderholt. “You always want to see what skill level you can achieve. I liked the comradery and the team competition. I fell in love with that aspect.”
Her father was a longtime coach and her mother, Madonna Holladay, was a coach including cheerleading. Aderholt added, “I grew up on both sidelines and was a year-round swimmer before I chose cheerleading.”
Her mother passed away in March 2012 and she left a legacy of cheerleading accomplishments. So much so, Holladay is honored at Sparkman High by having her three National Championships photos hanging in the school’s gymnasium. Each are 4x-8-foot in dimensions.
“I owe much of my success to my mother as she set the tradition of cheerleading at Sparkman setting the rules and guidelines we still use today,” said Aderholt. “Of course, it takes a whole family to be a cheerleader and we stress that to each of our kids and their families.”
Cheerleading is known as an energetic, daredevil type sport and Aderholt can attest to that fact as she broke her right foot as a high school sophomore. A self-proclaimed “daredevil,” Aderholt was on top of the pyramid stunt and fell. Recent new rules and regulations to make the sport safer are in place and has changed the overall routines over the years.
The Aderholts, who have been married for 27 years, have two children, Payton, 21, and Chelsea, 24. Chelsea continued the cheer in her family following both her grandmother and mother as she was part of the 2015 Sparkman squad which won the state championship. She went on to cheer for Alabama for four years and was on the USA National Team.
Aderholt has fond memories of each of her cheer squads, but indicated her last may be her most memorable. Due to the COVID pandemic, the cheer squad was restricted on allotted time it could be on the school campus and had to practice at odd hours. Many times, team members would gather together on their own at their homes for practice sessions.
“We actually competed with 17 cheerleaders in a 20-person routine,” said Aderholt. “This group wanted to win.”
Kaitlin Longino will take over the duties as cheer head coach while Ben Park will return in his role as assistant. Just like when her mother retired from coaching, Aderholt’s departure will bring a new era of cheerleading in Alabama.
“I will miss it tremendously,” said Aderholt. “It’s time. It’s time.”