Cheerleading made big news in Illinois when the IHSA gave it sport status and held a state championship.
At Libertyville High School, recent success downstate came with a sixth-place state finish and this winter's second-place finish.
And then came the news that head varsity cheerleading coach Cory Deacon was not asked back to coach these athletes.
"I thought it was a very sour note to end such an amazing cheer season on,'' said cheerleader Miles Webb. "I think the basis of being a good cheerleading coach is having the ability to coach and motivate a team into being a better team and Cory did that."
Libertyville High School officials declined to comment on personnel matters and Deacon's dismissal.
For the New Jersey transfer, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Deacon made it clear he didn't resign.
"I am from the East Coast, where the administration does not care about the cheerleading team,'' Deacon said. "When I moved here, I thought it was different. I actually felt the school actually cared, and I still believe that. My only problem with this situation was the process they went through to get rid of me. I never was able to say goodbye to the athletes, and I probably will never get to."
Senior Paige Schlesinger was around this coach as her team placed twice in the top 10.
"Cory was an incredible coach,'' Schlesinger said. "Last year within two months he took us from a team with no routine to a sixth-place finish in state. This year, he took us to state again for second place."
Schlesinger explained she learned plenty from this coach.
"He was a coach, friend and family to all of us,'' she said. "If he’s not rehired, the next school to get him will be very lucky and will for sure be making their way to state next season.”
Deacon is still absorbing the shock of the whole ordeal.
"I have coached many teams throughout the years, and I feel I poured my heart into this one,'' he said. "I used to coach a ton of cheer in New Jersey. I moved here to get away from it. I was done with cheer, and I wanted out after 10 years, however LHS made me love it again."
Libertyville athletics director Briant Kelly responded saying he couldn't comment on personnel issues.
There was a freshman in the program who also wasn't pleased with the outcome here. Ninth-grader Carlie Bradley says she learned plenty about cheerleading from Deacon.
"Cory Deacon is one of the best coaches I’ve had and I’ve had many,'' Bradley said. "Not only my personal skills, but the team performance became so much better because of Cory. The entire team is sad to see him go. He was also an amazing team leader. He exhibited qualities that are perfect for coaching.”
Deacon seemingly had found a home here before the news came in.
"I just felt I was going to be able to build something here,'' Deacon said. "And hopefully fill out my life here in this great community. I just hope the next coach can do the same, because as I have been saying I may have taught these athletes, however they have taught me so much more, and I will truly miss them."