Cheer started by accident

Coach Feature – Tanya Nichols, Cheer



Coach Tee makes her squad share Royal spirit.

Coach Tanya Nichols, better known as Coach Tee, has been coaching cheerleading at Armijo for five years, but it isn’t the only coaching experience she has. “I’ve coached Afro-Haitian dance in San Francisco at a middle school, youth cheer in Suisun and Fairfield, hip-hop dance in Fairfield, All-Star Cheer in Vacaville and Praise Dance in Vacaville,” she said.

Despite never having cheer experience herself, Coach Tee found herself leading her own children at cheer practice years ago. “I was tricked into initially becoming a coach,” she said. “When my girls were in elementary school, I signed them up for a youth football team and then signed myself up to be the team mom. I was excited to make cute snack bags for them each week!! The president of the team found out that I had experience in dance and put me on the roster as the head cheer coach and the rest is history.” Coach Tee’s experience with the Afro-Haitian dance team for four years.

Coaching cheer keeps her busy, but she is currently a full-time student. “I had this great idea to change careers after teaching for over…well, I won’t say because then that would give me my age!!” said Coach Tee.

She did admit that she’s been married for 23 years and has three children. “My oldest Aniyah is in her junior year at SJSU, and my middle child Sanai is a senior at Vanden and is on the cheer team, but thinks she is on Armijo’s cheer team!! My son Amir is 8 and enjoys playing basketball, swimming, and doing Muay Thai. He says his favorite cheer team is the Armijo Royals.”

The last few years have been different from when she started. The COVID-19 virus “delayed us getting our uniforms on time. We just received our football uniforms in the last week of November. We had to borrow uniforms from girls who were no longer on the team. Thank goodness for their kindness otherwise we would have been in a bit of a pickle!”

While Coach Tee mostly works directly with her cheerleaders, she still has to address the parents. “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I’m okay with that,” she said. “Some parents don’t like my rules and how strict I can be. I tell parents when their child is with me they belong to me and they will follow all rules or they will sit!

“Coaching takes a lot of hard work, patience, time, and dedication,” said Coach Tee. She said she would encourage potential coaches to “make sure you are ready to put in the work because you have athletes depending on you.” It also helps to have parent participation. “I believe students perform better with the support of their families,” she said.