Suzanne Mitchell, the woman responsible for making the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders the universal phenomenon they are today, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 23, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 73.
Mitchell was living in New York as a public relations executive when Cowboys' original president, Tex Schramm came calling. She gladly excepted the challenge of transforming the then plain jane cheerleading squad.
From 1976 to 1989, Mitchell built an entertainment empire that now stands as an iconic brand no one can ever replicate. She brought in choreography and introduced the signature white hot pants, go-go boots and blue vests we all know today.
"Suzanne was a pioneer in the world of professional sports as it pertained to cheerleaders and entertainment." Says Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Anderson on the Cowboys' website. "She was innovative, creative and always ahead of those who followed and tried to emulate the style and quality of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders."
One thing that Mitchell made sure to preserve in the DCC was class. Even back then, all girls who made the squad needed to be respectable. They had to be a full-time student, or a wife and mother or hold a full-time job. They had to go through boot camp and refrain from any misconduct. The team still serves as goodwill ambassadors. They support U.S. military troops by making appearances throughout the globe.
Suzanne Mitchell's reign as Director came to an end in 1989, when Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys. However, what she built still stands strong today. When you see the DCC, you see a group of women who resemble class, strength and pride. You see a group of women so many others strive to be.
"I understand," she once said, "that where little girls used to dream of being Miss America, now they dream about becoming a cheerleader for the Cowboys."