Amy Burgess Resigns After 15 Years Leading D1 Little Rock Swimming & Diving

University of Arkansas at Little Rock head swimming and diving coach Amy Burgess has announced her decision to step away from the program after leading the team for 15 seasons, with one more season as an assistant for 16 total years with the Trojans.

She is leaving to spend more time with her family.

“It has been an absolute honor to be a part of Little Rock Athletics these past 16 years,” said Burgess. “Words cannot express how every single swimmer and diver left an imprint on my heart that will be there forever. Thank you to everyone that blessed me with the privilege to be called Coach. It is a title I was proud to have.”

“Big thanks to all those that provided support out of the water: donors, alumni, parents, support staff, friends and family…the list could go on and on,” she added. “This journey would not have been possible without you. I am excited for the next adventure with my family, and will always cherish my time as a Little Rock Trojan.”

Little Rock is an NCAA Division I women’s team that competes in the Missouri Valley Conference. In 2023, they finished 9th out of 10 teams at the MVC Championships, beating out Valparaiso.

When she took over the program, she had an instant-impact: 48 school records were broken or tied in her first four seasons. In the last three years, UALR has broken 8 school records.

In the classroom, UALR has been named as a CSCAA Academic All-America Team for 19 straight semesters.

An Arkansas native, Burgess (née Gruber) swam at the University of Kansas from 2002-2005, where she was one of the most-accomplished swimmers in program history. In 2005, she set a school record in the 200 yard freestyle, and she still ranks in the top 5 in program history in the 50 free (22.92 – #4), 100 free (49.49 – #3), 200 free (1:47.01 – #3), and 100 fly (53.59 – #4).

She was named the program MVP in 2002, 2004, and 2005, was a four-year Big 12 Scholar Athlete, and was the KU Senior Female Student-Athlete of the Year winner in the 2004-2005 season.

In 2017, she was inducted into the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame.

Burgess was earning an annual salary of $56,413 in Fiscal Year 2022 according to public records information. Amy and her husband Mike have one daughter, Baylyn, and one son, Michael.

Assistant coach Chris Pape has been named the Trojans’ interim head coach as Athletics Director George Lee works through the transition phase to select Little Rock’s new permanent head coach.

Burgess was one of 41 women in head coaching positions in NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving in the 2021-2022 season, according to the Tucker Center.

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5 months ago

What a dismal salary after 15 years you’d think they’d be paying a college coach more. Curious now about the other coach salaries at UALR.

Reply to  Eric
5 months ago

Salaries for mid-majors are terrible in a lot of places. I wouldn’t be shocked if she was on one year deals that whole time either. Somehow they can always afford a bunch of administrators who do very little work and make six-figures though.

Reply to  Braden Keith
5 months ago

Fair enough. Stand corrected on this front.

5 months ago

56,000 is criminal for the amount of time and effort and coach puts in..

5 months ago

Justice for female coaches. Spending time with family shouldnt by sacrificing a job, and your job should be at the sacrifice of your family. We need a work life balance 🙁 sorry to see her go

Reply to  BurntOutWomanInCoaching
5 months ago

In an ideal world I agree with you. But I’m yet to meet a successful coach who doesn’t hold themselves to at least the same level of dedication (if not higher) than their athletes. Most coaches need to be reminded to take care of themselves and take time away from the pool deck. Also, College Coaches, especially assistants or those at mid-major/smaller schools are paid significantly less than club coaches (head and assistant). Many Coaches are forever single and those that find lasting relationships are often with partners that appreciate what coaches provide to young adults and children.

At some point every coach questions themself, “Is the sacrifice worth it?” For some the answer changes from yes to no.… Read more »

Reply to  BurntOutWomanInCoaching
5 months ago

I think this is more of an unfortunate situation than just blaming it on the fact that she’s a woman

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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