Estero cheerleaders sideline themselves in protest of coach's firing

Cory O'Donnell

Estero cheerleaders sideline themselves in protest of coach's firing

By Cory O'Donnell. CREATED Nov 30, 2011

ESTERO - Estero High is still reeling from the unexplained firing of cheerleading coach Nicole Zivich. 

This all started after Zivich was fired -- she claimed for working at Hooters.  Now we're learning a basketball coach has been let go, too.  Students say it was for helping them stand up for what they believe.

"Our coach was not allowed to wear Hooters attire at practice because it was not appropriate, so I do believe it had something to do with that." Cheerleader Jocelyn Peppard says.

That's what Zivich and her cheerleaders believe -- but the district denies. 

So why was she fired?  The girls have been waiting for that answer since their impassioned plea to school board members last week.

"Some of these cheerleaders wore these ribbons in support of Nicole, and some of the basketball players wore them on their shoes." Peppard says.

After that game Monday night, JV coach Mark Stuckey was released from his coaching duties. 

"The coach was really upset.  She cried about it.  Some boys cried about it too." Peppard says.

The district doesn't comment on personnel issues.

"It's really upsetting because he got in trouble for supporting for what we believe in, and I just don't think it's right." Peppard says.

So the squad has sidelined itself.

“It hurt but since we made a commitment as cheerleaders to support sports.  We all agreed to go to all the games.  We were supposed to go as cheerleaders, but now we're going just in support." Peppard says.

FOX 4 did receive Nicole's personnel file.  No indication on why she was fired.  The basketball coach remains at the school in his position as a math teacher.