Coach Ally Stein has been a head coach for all three cheer teams at Hamilton Southeastern High School (HSE) since 2018. Specifically, the varsity head coach for football and competition cheer, and the junior varsity and freshmen coach for basketball cheer. Before she came to coach at HSE, she was a coach at Fishers High School in 2017. Coach Stein, newly 27 as of August 16, has a deep family athletics background, with her mother cheering at Ball State, and her two older brothers formerly playing baseball and hockey while enrolled at HSE. Stein herself attended HSE and cheered as well as running track and being part of Student Council for the school. Additionally, she was involved in the Royal Sensation choir and National Honor Society. Stein then went on to Purdue to study Elementary Education, where she continued her cheer career by earning a collegiate varsity letter jacket after cheering all four years at Purdue. In those years, she won the “Most Inspirational” award her junior and senior seasons, and she led the team to four straight top-five finishes at the Universal Cheerleading Association Nationals.
After college, Stein came back to the district to become a second-grade teacher at Southeastern Elementary. While teaching and coaching at HSE, she is also has been part of the aforementioned Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) as a head instructor since 2013, going to different college campuses and high schools to help with cheer teams. Stein says that there is not much difference in mentalities between coaching and teaching, as she states “I feel that teaching and coaching is one in the same, especially at the younger age. I am coaching [her students] to read, coaching them to write.” She says the biggest difference is her tone of voice, but while both coaching and teaching, she emphasizes the same characteristics. “Keeping them engaged in what they’re doing and holding an upbeat and positive outlook.”
When asked about what inspired her to become a cheer coach, Stein says that cheerleading is a big passion of hers and she wants to use that as an opportunity to help shape her athletes into well-rounded individuals. She also gives credit to Mrs. Johnson (now a gym teacher at HSE), who inspired her by challenging her team when she cheered in high school and ultimately leading the team to success. Stein hopes that each of her athletes walk out of the program hoping that they see the positive outlook in life. “I want them to always strive to be coachable and accept challenges.”
A big part of Stein’s coaching philosophy is to not only to coach a team, but to make sure that she coaches each athlete to their individual potential. When asked about her coaching style she said that a big part of it is having fun, but it’s very important to her that her athletes know how to balance seriousness and fun so that they can be a successful team. Something that Stein is most proud of in her coaching career would be the State Championship that her competition cheer team brought back home to HSE in 2019. “They really trusted one another with that routine, and they were able to take ownership of it.”
The success of the 2019 team was nearly replicated in 2020, in which they finished second at the State Championship. Furthermore, two Stein-coached Royals earned All-State nods, which earns them a spot on the Wall of Fame. Stein says that she is very proud of her 2020 team, as the COVID-19 pandemic provided challenges for all. When asked what kind of support she wanted to provide last season, she says “With COVID, knowing that you’re loved and that you have the opportunity to practice in a safe space [means a lot].”
For every season, Stein has numerous big goals for her team. She wants to “really prepare cheerleaders to be strong gameday cheerleaders, [prepare them for] Friday nights, and prepare them for any cheer they might do down the road at a higher level.” This year and every year, Stein strives for her team to earn a top 3 finish at the State Championships, and form strong relationships.
To Stein, being a Royal means “building trust and confidence, feeling support around you in every aspect of your life [educational, athletic, and personal].” It is very important to her to carry on the legacy and excellence that HSE has to offer. For any athletes looking to play at HSE, here is the advice that Stein gives: “Be ready to be part of a family, no matter what sport. The competitiveness is there but remember that your coaches care about you in every aspect of your life.” If you ask Stein if she loves coaching at HSE she would tell you, “It really is my dream come true.”