Alabama swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley retires


Ben Stansell, Assistant Sports Editor

Alabama’s head swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley announced his retirement from coaching Wednesday after leading the Crimson Tide program since 2012.

The Hall of Fame coach will continue to serve until a replacement is named.

“We can’t begin to thank Coach Pursley enough for all he has done to advance our program in his seven years as head coach,” Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne said in a press release. “Alabama swimming and diving has excelled under his leadership both in competition and in the classroom. We wish Denny and his wife, Mary Jo, the best in his retirement from coaching and appreciate him staying on as head coach until a replacement has been named.”

During Pursley’s tenure, the Alabama men’s team placed in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships four times, most recently finishing seventh at the 2019 meet. The women’s team has placed at the NCAA National Championships for the past six years. He’s coached two NCAA individual title winners, two NCAA relay title teams, two SEC Swimmer of the Year winners and a trio of SEC Championship Swimmers of the Meet. He’s coached 12 SEC individual title winners and six SEC relay title teams.

“I have been truly blessed with the opportunity to work with hundreds of exceptional young men and women during my 47-year career, and I will be forever grateful to The University of Alabama for the very special honor and privilege of finishing my coaching career here at my alma mater,” Pursley said in a press release. “The exceptional support from our athletic department, the unparalleled resources that are made available to our student-athletes, and the commitment to excellence that is pervasive throughout the University have all exceeded my hopes and expectations.

Pursley’s retirement marks the end of a storied career. He’s held coaching positions in England, Canada and Australia and was named to the American Swimming Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006. Pursley served as the USA Swimming National Team Director in 1989 and as the head coach of the 2012 Great Britain Olympic Team and British Swimming from 2008-12. After his time with the British team, Pursley returned to Alabama, where he once earned All-Southeastern Conference honors as an athlete.