Dance Team
Kentucky Dance Team Head Coach Dawn Walters Retires

Kentucky Dance Team Head Coach Dawn Walters Retires

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After 15 years at the helm of the program, Kentucky Dance Team head coach Dawn Duncan Walters has announced her retirement.

Walters, a Lexington native, was a member of the original UK Dance Cats in 1983. Walters then became a UK cheerleader and won two national championships, including the program’s first.

After opening her own gym in Lexington, Walters organized and coached the University of Kentucky Wildcat Danzers in the 1990’s. Her 1995 team won the National Dance Alliance national championship.

In 2009, Walters was named head coach of the UK Dance Team. Her teams competed in the Universal Dance Association championships, finishing as high as second in the country in 2017. Her 2024 team placed third in the country in the UDA Game Day competition.

“It has been an honor to be able to coach at my alma mater the past 15 years,” Walters said. “I’ve had the privilege to coach hundreds of wonderful, talented and special dancers, and it’s been inspiring to watch them grow and flourish.  I’m incredibly grateful to everyone at the University of Kentucky for this opportunity, but it is with a bittersweet heart that I am announcing my retirement as the head coach of the UKDT. I will carry so many cherished memories with me and will continue to always bleed blue.”

Walters recently received the Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award in the 2024 Creative and Performing Arts category.  She was inducted into the Lexington African-American Sports Hall of Fame 2023 for her notable achievements in her coaching career. Lexington mayor Linda Gorton declared May 11, 2023 as Dawn Duncan Walters Day in Lexington.

“From her time as a UK dancer and cheerleader, through her years as coach of Wildcat dance and cheer teams, Dawn has been an integral part of the spirit at our athletics events,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “Dawn has made an impact on the athletic development and personal growth of thousands of young people, not just at UK, but in high schools, middle schools and literally around the world.  We congratulate Dawn for her numerous achievements, are thankful for her contributions to the University, and wish her the best in retirement.”

A national search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

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