The University of Kentucky cheerleading squad is one of the most prestigious collegiate cheerleading programs in the world. Representing the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, the UK squad has won the Universal Cheerleaders Association National College Cheerleading Championship an unprecedented twenty-one times, in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 more than any other Division 1A school. The University of Kentucky cheer squad is, by far, the best college cheer squad in the world.
UK’s squad is the only team to win back to back championships twice, once in 1987 and 1988 and again in 1995 and 1996. Further, UK is the only squad ever to win three, four, five, six, seven, and eight championships in a row. UK’s eight-year streak of championships was broken in 2003 when they finished runner up to the University of Central Florida. They regained the title in January, 2004 and won their third straight in 2006. The University of Central Florida regained the championship in 2007 when UK finished in third place. But the next year, UK came home with their 16th title. The University of Alabama broke Kentucky’s win streak in 2011. But the next year, UK came home with their 19th title. In 2013, The University of Memphis defeated UK. For the first time in cheerleading history, UK did not repeat their title. UK’s most recent victory was in 2016.
The UK Cheer Program is recognized in cheerleading circles as perhaps the finest cheer program in America as the squad has placed first 21 times and placed second six times in the National Championships. The squad also generates vocal support and significant enthusiasm for some of the finest athletic programs in the nation. The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team is the winningest college basketball program in the nation and has won the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship eight times. In December 2009, the Kentucky Wildcats football team made its fourth consecutive bowl appearance.
The squad receives substantial media exposure. Having finished in the top ten every year since the existence of the UCA National College Championships, each year the UK squad is seen on the ESPN-televised Championships Program, which airs at least eight times nationally.
The squad is frequently the subject of highlight stories by television and radio stations and newspapers. The squad has been featured on the CBS Evening News, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, and the CBS Morning Show, and in the magazinesSouthern Living, GQ, ESPN The Magazine, and Seventeen.
The cheerleaders once performed at the half time of the Denver Nuggets (formerly coached by UK graduate, Dan Issel) and the Miami Heat (coached by UK graduate, Pat Riley) game.