In September 1965, LIFE magazine profiled a man named Bill Horan, a World War II vet who spent his days yelling at young women. That's not all he did, though. He also instilled the sort of character traits one might expect from a former paratrooper — tenacity, discipline, resilience — through cheerleading clinics he ran for three decades as a kind of pep-squad drill sergeant.
"Like jacks-in-the-box the girls fly into the air as the hard-eyed man shakes his fist," LIFE wrote of a typical scene at Horan's clinic.
"Cheerleaders!" he barks. "At this school we separate the jellyfish from the real troopers. You — the girl who dropped a fork at lunch — you do 10 minutes extra exercise. And you on the end — are you chewing gum?"
"No, sir. I just swallowed it."
One last note: That lede in the LIFE article — "Like jacks-in-the-box the girls fly into the air as the hard-eyed man shakes his fist" — sounds like the opening line of a long-lost Wallace Stevens poem. Maybe something with a title like Punching Judy in the Rag and Bone Shop, or Cerberus Slumbers at Edwin Hubble's Feet. At any rate, it's especially wonderful when read aloud. Go ahead. Try it.
Ben Cosgrove is the editor of LIFE.com. Picture This is his weekly (and occasionally more frequent) feature for The Stacks.
Photo Credit: Lynn Pelham—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images