Dennis Pursley Hired as Head Coach at Alabama

Occam’s Razor: other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one.

After a long, challenging process, the University of Alabama has hired one of their own, former Alabama swimmer Dennis Pursley, as their newest head coach.

Pursley is one of the most highly-credentialed coaches in the world, which is probably why in 2003 he was named as one of the 25 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming.

Among his stops since graduating from Alabama in 1973 include 14 years as the USA Swimming National Team Director, and most recently as the head of British Swimming, where he has guided the program to a renaissance.

He made his break early in his career as the coach who led Mary T. Meagher to her first World Records; Meagher is still widely regarded as one of the best age group swimmers of all time.

Other stops include such illustrious programs as the Olympian Swim Club in Edmonton, as the first leader of the Australian Institute of Sport, and with the Cincinnati Marlins.

Despite all of his successes, it has been some time since Pursley has spent significant time in the team-specific environment, with most of his recent gigs coming in the higher ranks of National Teams.

Still, Pursley has demonstrated an incredible knowledge of the sport, and through his different experiences as a coach on three different continents, he has a ton of wisdom to give out.

Pursley had already announced that he would be returning home to the United States after the Olympics, and now that path is redirected to Tuscaloosa. Now in his early 60’s, he won’t be a “forever” answer for the Crimson Tide, but he’s certainly got at least a decade left in him to turn the program around.

He’ll have some good tools to work with – including rising freestyler BJ Hornikel, and reports that a brand new facility is on its way.

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8 years ago

congrats to Denny! hope he sees that ‘new’ pool in the NEAR future!

8 years ago

Denny had done a great job everywhere he has been. A very good hire for Alabama.

8 years ago

Roll Tide, welcome aboard Coach Pursley. Looking forward to seeing Bama back at the Top where they belong!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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