Release Contributed by Simon Whitaker, Presbyterian College Associate Athletic Director for Sports Information and Game Operations
CLINTON, S.C. – Presbyterian College and Director of Athletics Danny Sterling and Dr. Renee Baumgartner, President of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA), announced Thursday the addition of Acrobatics & Tumbling to the college's athletic department.
Amber King has been named head coach with the team setting to compete beginning in the 2019 spring season. She becomes the only Acrobatics and Tumbling head coach to start more than one program, having coached the inaugural programs at Glenville State and King College.
"I am excited to add Acrobatics and Tumbling to the Presbyterian College athletics department," said Sterling. "The hire of Amber (King), who has a tremendous reputation in the sport, will give the team instant credibility. Acrobatics and Tumbling is a growing sport and I am happy that Amber, with her wealth of experience, will be here to help us lay a solid foundation for years to come."
Presbyterian's announcement represents several critical benchmarks in the rampant rise of acrobatics and tumbling. The Blue Hose become the fourth NCAA Division I program to add the sport, joining Baylor, Oregon and Quinnipiac. In addition, Presbyterian becomes the 22nd member of the NCATA and the fifth school to add the sport in 2017.
"The NCATA is glad to welcome Presbyterian College to the NCATA family," said Dr. Renee Baumgartner, NCATA President. "We are thrilled to have another Division I member and to add to the recent surge of growth in the Southeast region, in which Presbyterian will be a great competitor. We're also extremely proud to reach an important goal for the growth of the sport with Presbyterian becoming our 20th member on NCAA campuses."
Presbyterian is the third school from South Carolina to add acrobatics and tumbling, joining Converse College and Limestone College. Over the past two years, acrobatics and tumbling has erupted across the nation, expanding from 13 members in January of 2016 to 22 after Thursday's announcement. Four new programs will debut in the 2018 season as Converse College, Davis & Elkins College, West Liberty University and West Virginia Wesleyan College will embark upon inaugural seasons this February.
"The southeast region is one of the top three recruiting regions for Acrobatics & Tumbling," said Janell Cook, NCATA Executive Director. "The addition of Presbyterian College is a wonderful competitive and academic opportunity for young women to compete in this skill set and to pursue their educational goals within the framework of the varsity student-athlete experience."
King has extensive experience in the acrobat and tumbling field where she has served as the head cheerleading coach at Newberry College from 2011-2012 and at her alma mater King University from 2012-2014. While at King, she also served as the head coach for the inaugural acrobatics and tumbling team.
Prior to developing the Acrobatics and Tumbling program, she elevated the Tornado cheer program to a competitive level. That team finished fifth at Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia, and third at the Canam Nationals in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. King was named to the Top-25 Coaches in America by the CCA after leading her team to first runner-up honors at the CANAM Nationals, a National Championship in the All-Girl CCA Nationals. The team was crowned Grand Champion as the best overall college team at the 2012 CCA Nationals.
King was A&T head coach at Glenville State College from 2014-2016. In its first season the team qualified for event finals at Nationals hosted by Baylor. They qualified in the Acro 5 element event and in Pyramid Twist Event. While at Glenville State she was also an adjunct faculty member in the sport science program.
"I am thrilled to be joining the PC staff and humbled to have the opportunity to help grow this sport," said King. " PC has so much to offer, and with the additional opportunity acrobatics and tumbling provides female athletes, it's going to be exciting to watch the development of this program come to fruition. I am eager to continue working, educating, and coaching in the sport I love. Go Blue Hose!"
Most recently King has served as Assistant Spirit Squad Coordinator at Tusculum since the summer of 2017. While at Newberry, King choreographed competition routines for CANAM and CCA National events in 2012.
King earned her bachelor's degree in sport management with a minor in coaching from King University in 2008. As an undergraduate, King was a teaching instructor for the Universal Cheerleaders Association traveling the Mid-South region. In 2009, Coach King developed the tumble/cheer ministry through the Celebration Church Dance Ministry in Blountville, Tennessee. She taught weekly tumbling classes to children 5-18 years old and choreographed routines for them.
In 2012, she completed her master's degree recreation and sport sciences from Ohio University. She has a son, Jack.
Presbyterian College is located on a 240-acre campus in Clinton, between Columbia and Greenville, S.C. Offering challenging academics and a culture of honor, ethics, and service that prepares students to be leaders in communities, PC offers its students the benefit of engaging with an exceptional faculty who take individual interest in their students' well-being, both personally and in the classroom. The Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy is dedicated to the ideals of leadership, honor to the profession, and service to the community. For more information about Presbyterian College, visit www.presby.edu.