FAU picks cheerleading coach to be its new director of football operations

FAU promotes cheerleading coach Heather Henderson to be its director of football operations.

Florida Atlantic University is taking cheerleading in football to a new level.

The school has named Heather Henderson director of football operations. According to the Palm Beach Post, she’s believed to be the only female to hold such a position at an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school.

Henderson’s previous job? FAU’s cheerleading coach.


As head of football operations, Henderson’s responsibilities will include organizing on-campus recruiting visits and summer training camps. 

Owls coach Carl Pelini told the Post he hired Henderson because of her business background and after watching her assist with on-campus recruiting last season.

A 2001 graduate of Mars Hill College in North Carolina, Henderson has been FAU’s head cheerleading coach since 2004. She also co-founded CheerFormance X-Treme, a school that trains cheerleaders.

“There is going to be a lot on her plate,” Pelini told the Post. “I know she can handle it. She is very organized.”

The Post said Henderson will continue to coach cheerleading part-time. Her internal hire apparently helps from a budget perspective, allowing Pelini to hire a director of player personnel. 

Henderson, meanwhile, is adjusting to her new job.

“I’m transitioning. It’s a slow time for the operations side right now because we’re trying to get ready for next season,” Henderson told the Post. “I don’t think it’s overwhelming at all right now. I can do both roles.”

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas