Brietz is still cheering for Pfeiffer more than 50 years later

Jane Brietz walked the halls of Pfeiffer College as a student from 1964-1968. During her undergraduate years, Brietz was a Pfeiffer cheerleading team member. Now, more than 50 years later, she is still cheering for Pfeiffer.

Jane Brietz

“One of the best things Pfeiffer gave me was my husband, Bob (Class of 1965). Pfeiffer also gave me the confidence to be a leader,” she said.

In 1970, two years after Brietz graduated from Pfeiffer, Charlotte acquired its first professional basketball team, the American Basketball Association Carolina Cougars.

“The general manager for the organization heard I was a Pfeiffer cheerleader and said that, at the last minute, the organization had picked a small team of cheerleaders, but then found out that none had ever cheered or danced. He asked if I would come and work with them. When I would cheer or dance alongside the girls, they were pretty good, but they fell apart when I dropped out of the lineup. So, after much practice, the solution was to always cheer or dance with them,” Brietz said. “Thus, by default, I became a cheerleader with the Carolina Cougars. It was really a lot of fun.”

After her brief stint in the world of professional sports, Brietz began working in children’s education and had a long career in early childhood development. She was the director of multiple United Methodist Church preschools, caring for hundreds of children throughout her 30-year career.

Brietz has been on the Pfeiffer University Alumni Board since 2006, making her one of the board’s longest-serving members. When she joined the board, she was surprised to learn that the cheerleading team disbanded in the early 2000s due to a lack of funding.

Upon hearing this information, Brietz sprang into action, determined to reestablish the Pfeiffer University cheerleading team. She tracked down contact information and wrote letters to as many former cheerleaders as she could, hosted fundraising events and eventually raised enough money for new cheerleading uniforms in 2010. Brietz succeeded in officially reviving the team in 2016 when it became part of Pfeiffer’s athletic department.

Brietz didn’t stop there; she continued fundraising and advocating for the team from 2016 until 2023 when Tiffany Smith (Class of 2018) was hired as the first full-time Pfeiffer cheerleading. Brietz continues to serve as the alumni liaison for the cheerleading team, acting as a patron and mentor. She can routinely be found observing practice and attends as many games as she can.

When she is not rallying the current cheerleading team, Brietz is cheering on her Class of 1968 classmates. Brietz describes her class as “unique” as it is a tight-knit and active alumni group. After its 50th year reunion in 2018, the class decided to get together more consistently and began having regular class luncheons in Charlotte.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the group moved its meetings to Zoom. It met virtually each month, which Brietz says helped with the stress and loneliness of the pandemic. The group continues to meet for luncheons, zoom chats and its Christmas celebration.

“Cheerleading at Pfeiffer gave me confidence and leadership skills that I have carried into every job I have ever had,” Brietz said. “To say cheerleading has changed in the past 50 years is an understatement. We were more about getting the crowd involved in the game. Now, these students are true athletes. Their stunts are amazing. They practice long and hard. I have enjoyed getting to know the past five or six squads of cheerleaders and being the liaison between the alumni cheerleaders and the current squad.”