For the first time since the details from a three-month investigation leading to his dismissal were announced, former Kentucky Cheerleading head coach Jomo Thompson has released a statement addressing the situation. Thompson released the statement on his Instagram account.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the overwhelming support that I and the other coaches have received over the past couple of weeks. The kind words from current and former cheerleaders, friends and fans of the sport made a difficult week bearable and truly lifted my spirits.
I have always and will continue to love the University of Kentucky and its cheer program. It’s where I won my first championships as an athlete and as a coach. Without the opportunities that the university has provided me, I would not be the person I am today. I truly appreciate my career at the University of Kentucky.
When I became the head coach in 2002, the cheer program was already renowned for its championship pedigree. However, real success for me was fostering the growth and development of these young adults to make them better human beings. Seeing our athletes live out the values we worked so hard to instill, absolute responsibility, good attitude, persistence, and most important, kindness, has been the greatest success of the cheer program.
And while I am proud of the years of success both in winning championships and helping the student-athletes fulfill their dreams, I do not agree with the manner in which my relationship with the University of Kentucky came to an end. I feel as though I should have been given more of an opportunity to present my perspective on the facts and events that have been reported. I feel that the lack of opportunity to respond was unfair. However, life is not always fair. If there is one lesson that I have left to teach the student-athletes, it is that even when life is unfair, you must accept the things you cannot change with the same amount of class and dignity that you would accept with the wins in life. It truly lights up my soul to know that I have the opportunity to spend over 20 years coaching you all to be champions both in our sport, and in life.
In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude for everyone I have had the pleasure of working with on the journey. To the parents, I hope you know I always tried to instill values that you would be proud to see in your beloved children. To the athletes, thank you for giving me your trust and dedication throughout the years. Seeing you succeed is what kept me motivated and proud. To my staff, thank you for standing beside me through it all. I am honored to have you all as partners. If there is one thing I want to be remembered for in this life, it’s not for the status or championships, but that I was a kind person. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to each and every one of you for your support.
Jomo K. Thompson
Thompson, along with members of his staff, was fired on May 18 after the conclusion of a three-month investigation by the University of Kentucky discovered evidence of student-athlete hazing, alcohol use, and public nudity during off-campus events. Since being named the head coach back in 2002, Thompson led the Kentucky Cheer squad to 18 of the program’s 24 national championships.