Memphis Cheer Pioneer Remembered

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(Cordova, TN) The man who revolutionized cheerleading in Memphis is being remembered for his work that put the city’s cheer talent on the map, and brought back numerous championships to the city.

Friends say Frankie Conklin is dead after a heart attack Sunday.

Flowers and stuffed animals sit in front of Memphis Elite dance and cheerleading studio after Conklin's sudden death.

Conklin is known for training thousands of boys and girls at his studio, but he’s also known for putting Memphis cheerleading on a national map.

For Conklin it was always about more than cheerleading, it was about creating a safe place for children to learn to work hard and be their best.

Lindsay Talarico was a close friend of Conklin.

“He saw things in the kids that they didn’t see at the time, but then they came to see the greatness he saw,” said Talarico.

When his student’s performance was mediocre Frankie would say it was ‘lala,’ and this can be seen on t-shirts made by his students.

They say there was nothing ‘lala’ about his life.

“He gave them confidence and held them to a high level of accountability that will stay with them,” said Talarico.

Conklin started coaching cheerleading in the 80’s when he was a basketball coach and the cheer squad needed a coach too.

After he left the school he opened his own studio to keep teaching the students.

“He was a very good teacher and his expectations were very high but he was always quick to reassure the girls and compliment them,” said Ingrid Warren.

Warren is principal of Collierville Middle School where Conklin coached and won the national championship this year.

Frankie also won seven national championships with the University of Memphis, and countless others with his studio.

“He was very sincere. There was no pretense about him. He was who he was,” said Warren.

Out of respect for his passing Memphis Elite will be closed the rest of the week.

At this time there are no funeral arrangements.