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UPIKE hires Stone, Darby to lead cheer & dance

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pikeville have new leaders of their cheer and dance programs.

Longtime Pikeville High School cheer coach Jeannie Stone and dance instructor Jill Darby have been hired by Dr. Reginald Overton, director of athletics at the school.

Darby started her dance career at Dance Etc. Studio of Dance in Prestonsburg 19 years ago. She was the youngest instructor and choreographer for Eastern Dance Association at the age of 16. She studied dance at Louisburg College in North Carolina.

During summer breaks from college, she was lead dancer at Jenny Wiley Theatre for two seasons. Jill then moved to New York City and was a member of the NY/NJ Hitmen and New Jersey Storm Dance Teams. Since 2005, she has worked with competitive cheer squads and dance teams.

Stone’s career at Pikeville is well documented. After 36 years as the cheerleading coach, Stone has rolled up eight KAPOS state championships, including at least one in each of the last five decades. She has also won 12 Class A state titles. Under her guidance Pikeville has won 23 regional championships and finished runner-up eight times.

A former Pikeville College cheerleader who was on the first squad to win the KIA cheer championship, Stone was the KAPOS Coach of the Year in 1981 and the 2000 NFHC Section 2 Coach of the Year. She has been a member of the KAPOS board since 1984.

“I am extremely excited to join the staff of the University of Pikeville,” Stone said. “I have very fond memories of my years at Pikeville College. UPIKE is experiencing a great deal of excitement in academics as well as athletics, so it is a wonderful time to become a part of the university.

“The UPIKE cheerleading program is a major contributor to the overall spirit program of the university. My goal will be to instill in each cheerleader the importance establishing a first-class program that builds spirit and excitement at all athletic events, gains respect from the students and faculty of the university, and becomes a recruiting tool which will attract talented young people in the area to attend the University of Pikeville.”

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