More Than Just a Coach: Nick Black


Kendall Moss

You walk into the community center gym at East High School. You see a mix of people coming together to perform a common interest, cheerleading. The backbone of it all is Nick Black. A coach, a close friend, and a role model to many on the team. To those at Grand View University, he is someone they look up to and lean on. With a well-balanced personal life and a loving community, he is more than just East High School’s new head cheer coach.

Growing Up

From Beaverdale, Iowa, Black did not stay in one spot throughout the years. Moving around a lot was the normal even staying at Drake for a little bit. However, Des Moines was always home to him. Family is also especially important to him.

“I have one brother; he is 15 years old. We didn’t really grow up in the same house together. I still hang out and talk to him as much as I can. My mom and dad live in Altoona now,” Black said.

Hoover had a major impact on Black and who he is as a person. Going there for all four  years of high school, he was well involved in the sports and drama club.

“My favorite memory growing up, I would have to say just all the good memories I made at Hoover with the after-school sports and drama. I did baseball and theater. Those are just core memories I have from back then,” Black said.


Out of high school, Black continued onto Drake University for three years. At Drake, he enjoyed his time there and made many lifetime friendships with lots of great memories from joining the cheer team. After Drake, he continued growing his education.

“I was looking at master programs and Grand View offered me a scholarship to cheer, and I cheered there for two years, I started coaching last year part-time. Then, I moved to full-time in July,” Black said.

Being new to cheer when joining college and having no previous background, he jumped right into it all and allowed cheer to impact him. Going from no experience to making it his career, he is talented and an adaptive person.

“One person I look up to in my is the Athletic Director at Grand View University, his name is Troy Plummer and he’s given me this opportunity to coach at Grand View full time and he’s just showed me what it’s like to be an Athletic Director because that is the job, I want to be one day,” Black said.

Plummer had a major impact on Black, affecting him and granting him the opportunity for coaching.

“Plummer helped me pursue coaching full-time. The person that made me interested in coaching would have been my coach at Drake. Her name was Holly Schroder, she cheered at Iowa State and was a traveling NCA instructional coach. She just showed me how much of a positive impact you could have on your athletes while being a successful coach,” Black said.

Schroder also played a role in Black’s life and his way of coaching. She shaped him into the coach that he is known and loved as today.

The Life of Coaching

From being a coach full-time, Black has a lot of experience with coaching. Going to North High School for a year, before residing at East High. His experience is lengthy, making him learn the ins and outs of coaching. Being at North High for one year, then transferring to East High and being there ever since has made East home to him.

“He pushes me to better myself, he truly sees the best in us, and he wants us to be out there more. He wants us to do things that we wouldn’t usually do,” captain Alexia Sanchit said.

Always being a motivator, his athletes thank him for that.

“He’s very fun, he also teaches very thoroughly. If you have a question, he’s going to break it down the best he can,” Honey Hanawalt said.

Practices in cheerleading require time, structure, patience, and teamwork from all parts of the team. The coach is the one that brings it together, Black has all those redeeming qualities.

“Nick conducts his practices with a lot of structure. He likes to make sure he is efficient with the time he is given, and that during this time everyone is growing in some area. He is not one to waste any moment,” cheerleader at Grand View University Penelope Olsen said.

Black puts major time into his athletes; he admires their work ethic and it’s clear that he has their best interest at heart. Wanting them to be the best they can be, he puts in lot of faith and sees the best in his athletes.

“Striving towards a common goal makes the team a team. One thing that this team has embodied is that they want to be good for the overall community. They went on this direct mission on supporting all these sports, that’s why they’re so motivated,” Black said.

Thinking only the best of the team, the athletes keep him motivated. Seeing their happiness when cheering and the crowd’s happiness, those are his true motivators. He doesn’t just do this for himself, but for the overall team.

“The first game that we had was very eye opening for me, the team was very small before and there was COVID-19. The fans haven’t seen a team this big in years. Seeing everyone so happy and all the screams, it makes everything so worth it. The first game made me realize why I’m here, why I want to stay here in the future and build this program. That first game is my motivator,” Black said.

Life outside Coaching

With coaching taking up majority of his time, he tries his best to maintain a balance between personal and work life. Admitting that it was still a struggle for him, time was his best friend. Over time, he got better at balancing the two. He works at Saylorville Lake being a server.

“Black has a lot of good qualities about him as not only a coach, but a person as well. He is encouraging to all his athletes and pushes them to their full potential. He is extremely animated and always knows how to make people laugh. He is also very forward-thinking and is always two steps ahead of something, and is always prepared for what is to come,” Olsen said.

If you want to join the team, he will be holding tryouts for the basketball squad.

“If you’re ever scared to try out for a sport, just do it. If you’re willing to hear constructive criticism, if you’re willing to have an open mind, and grow as an athlete, then cheer is a perfect place for you,” Black said.

Being such a supportive and kind person, his athletes have grown to know and love him. Being more than just a coach, but a shoulder to lean on. A support system and a person who will push you onto great things, Black truly is more than just a coach.