Signal Mountain Middle High School

Coaching Staff

Coach Laura Willingham:
Laura Davey Willingham studied tap, jazz, and classic, modern, and pointe ballet & competed in gymnastics at the age of five in Arlington, Texas; Fayetteville, Georgia; and here locally until she became a cheerleader at Soddy Daisy Middle School. She subsequently cheered all four years at Soddy Daisy High School where she competed nationally with them as well as individually. Her team won 2 National Titles at Cheerleaders of America (COA) Nationals in Jacksonville, Florida. After placing 2nd, 3rd, & 4th in the National Cheerleaders Association Large Varsity Mount division in Dallas, TX & 4th at the NCA Best Cheerleader competition, she became an NCA Staff member and taught Cheer Camps around Tennessee and coordinated National Competitions. Laura also performed at the 1996 Olympics opening ceremonies in Atlanta.  Following her graduation from Soddy Daisy, she attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she received a full scholarship to cheer for the Vols and Lady Vols for the length of her collegiate career. At the time she cheered, Tennessee was ranked in the top 5 in the D1 Division at the Universal Cheerleaders Association Collegiate National Championship, but more importantly she cheered the year Tennessee Football won the National Championship and cheered for 2 Lady Vol Final Four Wins . She graduated from UT in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast CommunicatIons and a minor in Speech. Following college, Laura sold advertising for Yellow Book USA and Managed the YMCA Camp Ocoee office at the Downtown YMCA location. In the evenings, she coached All-Star Cheerleading at United Cheerleading in Chattanooga. She has since assisted at Soddy Daisy High School and judges cheerleading tryouts around the tri-state area. Laura currently serves as the cheerleading coach at Signal Mountain High School, having started the program at the school’s founding in 2008. Laura resides in Signal Mountain, TN with her husband, Tony, and their two children, Emma (SMHS 2022 Alumna) and Garrett.

Asst. Coach Savannah Payne:
Savannah is a 2019 Signal Mountain High School Graduate and a Signal Mountain High School Cheer Alumna. She cheered all 4 years in HS, was a member of Winter Guard, participated in Concert Band, and a proud TSA member during her tenure at SMMHS.  While cheering at SMHS, Savannah was on the two-time Fusion Grand Champions Team for 2016 & 2017. She was a UCA All-American Cheerleader her Senior year and was asked to tryout for UCA Staff. In 2022, she joined the UCA Staff organization and travels around Tennessee teaching at various UCA Cheer Camps and judging tryouts in the Tri-State area. You can also find her working several competitions around the nation. Savannah is a 2023 graduate from Troy University with a major in Education and a concentration in History, and a member of Troy's AOII Sorority. Savannah currently resides on Signal Mountain and teaches History in Hamilton County at Soddy Daisy High School. She began coaching SMHS Cheer in May 2023.   
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