World’s Strangest

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The Quick 10: 10 Famous Male Cheerleaders

When cheerleading was “born” on November 2, 1898, it looked a lot different than it looks today. No tiny outfits, no wild stunts and – surprise – no women. University of Minnesota student Johnny Campball rallied a football crowd with the ad-libbed cheer, “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!” and unwittingly became the father of cheerleading. Soon after Campbell’s performance, the University of Minnesota organized a six-man “yell squad” and other colleges followed suit. Women didn’t really enter the picture until 1923. Although male cheerleaders are the minority today, there was a time when they were the vast – and loud – majority. Here are 10 of the most famous examples of them.

The University of Minnesota, by the way, still uses Campbell’s original cheer to this day.

1. George W. Bush (pictured). In fact, he was head cheerleader at Phillips Academy in the ‘60s. And he’s in good company…
2. Jimmy Stewart was also head cheerleader during his tenure at Princeton.
3. Aaron Spelling, too, was head cheerleader at Southern Methodist University.
4. Dwight D. Eisenhower. When he was no longer able to play football at Army, he decided to continue supporting his team by cheerleading instead. One source says he was also on the squad at his Abilene, Kansas, high school.
5. Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR cheered for Harvard football in 1904, notably rallying the crowd for a particularly heated game against Brown.
6. Samuel L. Jackson at Riverside High in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There are plenty of jokes I could make here, but all of them seem to involve language I probably shouldn’t use on a family-friendly blog, so I’ll leave you to your own devices on that one.
7. Steve Martin tried to write cheers for the squad he was on, but has said “Die, you gravy-sucking pigs” didn’t go over too well.
8. Trent Lott was a cheerleader at Ole Miss. That’s him in the picture – bottom row, second from right.
9. Ronald Reagan cheered on his basketball team at Eureka College in Illinois.
10. Michael Douglas. It’s said both Michael and his father Kirk were cheerleaders, but a school is never named for either.

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