Shari Burrus: Doing it her way for decades

Olivia Ellison, Sports Editor

Coaching the Millard South Varsity cheer team
since 1999, Shari Burrus has been a Millard South

Patriot since before the mascot was a Patriot. Mil-
lard South Cheer is renowned for its cheerleading

program. Winning a state championship 6 times,
with 4 of those wins being in a row, from 2012-
2015. It’s without a doubt that the common factor
in these wins is its coach. Burrus is known for her
dedication to the Millard South Cheer program,
her undying perseverance, a person who puts
family above all, and a person who drives others
to their greatest potential. “I don’t see myself
stopping anytime soon.”
Her coaching career began when her
daughter, Reagan Stotz, had a varsity cheer coach
who had quit. The girls were in the middle of the
season, with state coming up soon. The girls on
the team had asked Stotz if her mom could step
in and just watch the practice and make sure that
they were on track, and just watch over them in
general. There, Shari found a love for the job.
She’s been coaching ever since.

Millard South is in the traditional non-
tumbling division of cheer. State is where all the

cheer teams in the state of Nebraska get together
and compete for first place. Millard South’s last
win was in 2020, with Shari confident in another
win for state 2023. “We’re ready to bring home
another championship.” Shari’s coaching style is
something that sets her apart from other coaches.
Her coaching style is more of pushing others to
essentially ‘coach
her’. By having
her team explain
things and direct
each other, they
become more
immersed, and
they learn from
themselves and
each other. It
makes them
watch for things
they may not
have noticed
before. It builds
confidence in
the girls. This is
a style that won
6 state titles,
and potentially
7. “I would say
that when Shari

coached, she liked to stick to a schedule. I
like[d] how she had stuff for us to work on
each practice, and would sometimes let the
older girls take control over practice.” former
Millard South Varsity Cheerleader, Paola
“I think what keeps me going is a lot of
things. The biggest one is seeing girls tryout,
and seeing the potential in those girls you

know? And seeing them live up to that poten-
tial, sometimes even going above and beyond

that, is just amazing.” This is one of the many
things that keep Shari going. She also says that
the relationships she forms with the girls, and
the relationships they form with each other,
are another factor to her staying as a coach.
“I’m very protective of the girls, because I see
them as my own. And it may seem like I’m
being harsh on them, but honestly, I just know
what they can do, and I want to push them to
get to that point.” Shari continued to explain
how one of the reasons why she’s still with
Millard South, is because of the support of her
family, and specifically her husband, Mark.
“I do want to say, y’know, I would not be
where I am if it wasn’t for Mark. Mark is just
great, he offers to help with rides to games,
he helps organize my schedule with me, and
overall is so supportive of everything that I do. He
seriously is the best.” Her husband is one of her
biggest supporters, with her family being another
as well. Her daughter, Reagan, who was once on
the cheer team, now has her own children who
participate in Patriot Cheer/Dance Clinics. At

these clinics, kids can learn dances, cheers, and
then perform at high school varsity basketball
games at the end of the
night. With this activity
being in their lives, they
can get even closer to their
grandma, all while being a
pillar of support without
even knowing it.
Shari also has a day job
at the Hy-Vee Pharmacy off

of Stony Brook Blvd, work-
ing full-time since COVID

began. So how does she
manage to plan and coach
Varsity cheer, and then
go to her day job, while
balancing enough time for
family? “Well, Mark and I
meet at the beginning of
the week, and talk about
everything going on in
that week. We help each
other stay organized and of
course, he always offers to
help out.”
“One of the biggest
things that keeps me going
is seeing the girls who I

think of as my family, like my own daughters,
walk off that mat at state with the knowledge that
they did the best they could,
and no regrets with the way
they performed. I get chills

every time I see that look. Win-
ning is the icing on the cake,

but seeing everyone happy with
themselves is the best feeling.”
Throughout the interview with
Shari, one thing that really
stood out was how much she
cares about the girls that she

After so many years of be-
ing a coach, Shari Burrus has

proved to everyone that she is

someone who sticks to aspira-
tions, and continues to push

people to fulfull their own.

“I love the girls, and the con-
nections and confidence that

they leave the team with. Every
year, a girl with the potential I
know she has, grows and learns
beyond that, and every year,
y’know, it makes me realize
that that’s the reason why I’m