Kristie Reed, coach of the Hermon Hawks cheer team, hugs her daughter Lyndsee Reed during the awards ceremony after winning the class B north regional cheer competition on Jan. 25, 2020. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Kristie Reed, who transformed Hermon High School’s cheerleading program into one of the best in the state, has stepped down from her head coaching position.

“Both of my kids will be in college next year and having a holiday season with a month off to just be with them sounds good,” said Reed, whose son Eli just completed his sophomore year at Husson University in Bangor. Her daughter, Lyndsee, will join him there in the fall.

Lyndsee, who cheered for her mother, will play soccer and softball at Husson.

During her 15 seasons at Hermon High School, Kristie Reed led the Hawks to 11 Class B championships. She previously spent nine seasons as the Brewer High coach and led the Witches to a state Class A title in 2007.

“If it was just about coaching my high school team, I could do it forever. But to have a successful high school team, you have to start with your youth program and I had to do it all,” said Reed, who has coached her Hermon cheerleaders since they began cheering in the town’s recreation program in second and third grade.

Reed won’t be leaving cheerleading completely. She plans to spend more time with the youth program and restructure it to improve things for the next high school head coach.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but, in the end, I’m choosing my family but will still be able to stay involved with doing something I love,” Reed said. “So it’s a win-win.”

Reed said one of the difficult aspects about coaching cheering is that you can’t just let a parent jump in and volunteer to coach like you can in a sport like basketball because not a lot of parents know about cheering.

“I will continue to coach the youth in Hermon, and I am committed to mentoring coaches who want to coach in this community,” she said.

Reed said she has loved the kids she has coached throughout her career.

“Obviously winning is fun, but coaching kids, especially when they go through some hard parts in their lives, and then see them make good decisions and go on and have confidence in their abilities is rewarding. It’s fun to watch,” she said. “You get to teach them life skills. You’re their biggest cheerleader when things go well and when they don’t go well.”

Reed, a Wilbraham, Massachusetts, native and wife of Hermon High School boys basketball coach Mark Reed, said she enjoys following her former cheerleaders’ lives on social media.

Hermon director of athletics Rick Sinclair called Reed an athletic director’s dream.

“She is completely on top of her sport in all capacities,” Sinclair said. “She coaches cheerleading, but she could coach any sport. She teaches her kids how to be successful cheerleaders, but the life lessons she instills in her cheerleaders are why she has been so impactful as a coach.”