Sunday’s 13-3 Titans victory against the Houston Texans
brings McKenzie native Dan Kreuter a step closer to
realizing a dream he missed four years ago when the Titans
wowed the football world in so great an effort against the
St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV that it may as well
have been a win in the eyes of many fans.
The muscular athlete hopes to support the AFC South champs
all the way to the Super Bowl, slated this year to be held
in San Diego, California.
Kreuter ended his own football career after graduating
from McKenzie High School in 1994, a time period during
which he had enjoyed teasing little sister Angela that
cheerleading was no sport.
It was at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville just
a year later, however, that Dan was approached by one of
the male cheerleaders about trying out for the squad.
“My initial reaction was, ‘No I’m not going to do that,’”
recalls Dan, who had begun a weight-training program that
gave him the strength necessary to be an attractive
recruit on the cheerleading team. In fact, Dan discovered,
many male cheerleaders are former football players who
posses the strength and stamina required to perform stunts
with their female counterparts.
After missing the former tryouts, Dan asked the coach for
a second chance, landing a position on the squad that he
retained the following three years as the squad improved
through a succession of coaches that added experience and
vitality to the growing team.
“We ended up competing on a national level in Orlando,
Florida my sophomore through senior years,” Dan shares,
relating a sixth place bid their first year while
finishing second in the nation over 25-30 teams his junior
and senior years.
“That was a lot of fun,” he smiles, conceding to the
athletic nature of cheering. “Nothing I had done on a
sporting level compared to that competition. We couldn’t
ever beat Morehead State but we had a good time.”
When Dan graduated in May 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in
business administration with a concentration in marketing,
he went to work the following month as an account manager
for Applied Industrial Technologies in Nashville.
“I assumed my cheerleading career was over,” says Dan, who
nevertheless continued his workouts simply for the
enjoyment of being in good physical condition. It was at
the gym that he met a lady who cheered for the Tennessee
“I’d always liked (cheerleading) so I asked about it and
she said they were trying out,” recalls Dan, who missed
the tryouts that year.
“I regret that to this day because that year they went to
the Superbowl,” Dan complains, albeit with a smile that
reflects his hopes for the current year, “I ended up
making it the following year.”
The competition can be stiff for those who make it to the
April auditions, with enthusiasm and dedication as well as
talent and skill being prerequisites to being a Titans
cheerleader, or “yell leader” as their male contemporaries
Besides their primary function of “cheering the Titans to
victory while providing wholesome, quality entertainment
to the Titans’ 67,000 plus fans in the Coliseum”, the
Titans Cheerleaders and Yell Leaders “serve as
ambassadors” to Nashville and other areas of Tennessee and
the United States, enhancing the already positive
reputation of the Titans organization by performing in
variety show fashion for military troops at places like
Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Eglin Air
Force base in Florida as well as St. Judes and Lebonheur
children’s hospitals, and nursing homes. The Titans
Cheerleaders and Yell Leaders have also performed for the
Diamond Jaxx Baseball Team, the NFL tour of Asia, the Pro
Bowl in Hawaii, the Super Bowl Fiesta in Mexico City and
Super Bowl XXXIV.
The Superbowl is the only “away” game the group
participates in, likely due to the fact that being a
cheerleader or yell leader is not a full time job. Each of
the diverse members of the squad, ranging in age from 18
to 39, maintains separate employment in fields as varied
as their ages, from student to physician, while making
weekend home games and practicing two to three nights a
“Four of the guys are married to four of the girls,”
shares Dan, who, while presently single, has goals that
include having a successful marriage as well as advancing
into territory and regional management within his company.
What may be lacking in monetary compensation, the Titans
organization more than makes up for in personal tickets,
parking passes and clothing and uniform items, according
to Dan who says, “They’re good to us; they take care of
Home for the holidays to visit with mom and dad Mmarlene
and Bill Kreuter, Dan says, “It’s good to come home to
McKenzie and I might down the road move back.” For now
though, he acknowledges, “I love Nashville; there’s so
much to do - it’s a great city – I plan to stay there as
long as I can.”
He also plans to remain on the Titans yell leader team,
where he says his “claim to fame” is leading the team out
of the tunnel onto the field, carrying the huge blue
Titans flag that would test the strength of the strongest
man. He races down the end zone with the flag following
every touchdown, racing back up from the end zone after
field goal is kicked.
“To me that’s such a rush; it never gets old,” beams Dan.
“Any game where I get to run a lot we’re doing good. It’s
a big flag and it’s hard to do but I enjoy it; every game
I love it. I just enjoy being on the field; I have the
best seat in the house.”