She stepped out onto the green turf, clad in a crisp crimson-and-white uniform, her blonde locks pulled back with an embroidered ribbon. Her outward appearance was calm, her smile genuine. Though the roar of the crowd was deafening, all Haley could hear was the sound of her own heart thudding against her chest. Within moments, she would run out onto the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium to cheer on the University of Alabama football team.
Haley Wilson Moore did not intend on becoming a cheerleader. In fact, she didn’t begin cheerleading until her 10th grade year at Curry High School. “A friend talked to me into it, so I thought ‘Why not?’” says Haley.
After graduating high school in 2001, Haley attended Wallace State, where she cheered at Wallace State basketball games from 2001-2003. While at Wallace, Haley’s team placed 1st one year and 3rd another at UCA Nationals in Orlando, FL.
By this time, Haley knew that she truly had a passion for the sport, and began going to a cheer gym in Arab, Alabama once a week to learn the tumbling skills required of a University of Alabama Cheerleader.
Haley cheered at Alabama from 2003-2007, and each year she was required to try out for the team. “Close to 100 girls try out from the start. Each day, that number is whittled down until there are only 50 girls left, and then 20. Tryouts last for three days, and during that time all of the girls learn the material and stunts,” Haley explains.
During Haley’s time at Alabama, she practiced each day (except Wednesday) from 6-9 p.m. “We practiced on Sundays, even when we had away games the night before. We would go home for a short meal break and then go back and practice for a few hours, especially when we were close to competing in Nationals,” says Haley.
Friday, however, was an easy practice, and was spent going over game day stunts and routines.
“The football games were the best. When we all stood to watch the video introduction, my heart would just pound, and then we would run out onto the field with the football players right behind us,” says Haley, with a hint of nostalgia. Haley explains that the roar of the crowd was sometimes so loud (especially during big SEC games) that she and her teammates had a difficult time hearing their coach, or even the Million Dollar Band.
“Auburn-Alabama games were always a lot of fun. The atmosphere was different. You could practically feel the rivalry in the air,” Haley says. Despite the rivalry, Haley admits that she does have a few Auburn friends (and some of them are cheerleaders).
“I actually went to Auburn one summer and did a camp with their cheerleaders. We were all friends. We worked together on UCA Staff doing camps for high schools and colleges.”
While at cheering at ‘Bama under Coach Debbie Greenwell and assistant coach Brian Groeschell, Haley’s team competed in UCA Nationals and placed 3rd one year, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd another year, and 1st Haley’s senior year.
“Kentucky and UCF were always our biggest rivals at competition,” Haley remarks.
Haley got an opportunity to travel to California when the Alabama basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 under Coach Mark Gottfried. “When our team won, everyone had a day off, so our bus driver would take us on a road trip. We went to Laguna Beach, Hollywood, and Santa Monica on that trip,” Haley says.
Now, Haley is a wife, mother, and teacher. She and her husband, Stephen Moore, welcomed triplets Ryley, Kinley, and Liam into the world in 2012. Haley has taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grade at Curry Elementary School. “I’ve always had a passion for teaching kids, and a lot of my family members are educators, so it was something I wanted to go into as well,” says Haley.
After teaching at Curry Elementary, Haley worked as a counselor at T.S. Boyd School before returning to Curry, this time as a counselor. Haley explains that her high school counselor, Mrs. Deb White, inspired her to go into the field.
Reflecting on her time as an Alabama Cheerleader, Haley says, “I’d go back in a heartbeat. It was a lot of work, but I met some of my closest friends cheering, and we still keep in touch. I made some business connections as well. It was just a great experience.” 78
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