Alex Stradal wants future Hope College cheerleaders to get the same life changing and enjoyable experience he had. Stradal has been named Hope’s third cheerleading coach, co-Athletic Director Tim Schoonveld announced.
The 2014 Hope graduate succeeds Wes Wooley, who stepped down in May after 19 seasons as head coach.
Stradal said he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to coach at his alma mater and carry on the co-ed cheerleading program’s legacy.
“It means I get to give back to the program that really made my college experience,” Stradal said.
Schoonveld said Hope is excited to have Stradal lead its cheerleaders.
“Alex is a great bridge to the traditions of Hope College cheerleading and the vision for where this program can be,” Schoonveld said. “He can attest, through his own experience, to the impact that cheerleading can have on the life of a student. We feel like he is going to do a great job of leading this program and impacting lives.”
Stradal spent three years as a Hope cheerleader before graduating with a degree in music.
Stradal served as team co-captain for three semesters in a row and was named Most Valuable by his teammates four semesters in a row as a senior and junior. As a sophomore, Stradal was voted the team’s Most Improved.
Stradal said being around the Hope cheerleading program helped him mature.
“They were people who drove me to work hard,” Stradal said. “You have to balance your life, your schoolwork and social life. Then you get to run out in front of thousands of fans and scream your heads off. It was great.”
Stradal has coaching experience as well. He spent a summer as an instructor for Elite Cheerleading in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that conducted private cheer camps for squads across the country.
Stradal said he learned from his former Hope cheerleading coach and is grateful for Wooley’s confidence in him.
“Wes gave everything he had. I will do nothing less but the same,” Alex said. “We have an interesting situation at Hope. For being a small Christian school, we have a big cheer program. Hope cheerleaders are here because they want to be here. We really work hard to be good at our craft, to be outstanding physically and from a performance aspect. We strive to be exciting performers.”