Saint Louis U Head Coach Jim Halliburton Resigns a Week After School Year Begins

Jim Halliburton has resigned as the head coach of the Saint Louis University swimming & diving program. He has accepted a coaching role at cross-town WashU in St. Louis.

Halliburton is the second NCAA Division I head coach to resign his position in the last two weeks as fall classes start across the country. At Saint Louis, fall semester classes began on Wednesday, August 24, a week before Halliburton’s resignation was announced.

Tulane head coach Leah Stancil also left the program in late August to take on an assistant position at nearby LSU.

Halliburton was the head coach at Saint Louis University for 21 years. In that period, the team won 20 conference event championships and produced 28 NCAA “B” qualifying times.

He had a SLU record of 582-188-1 (.756), ranking fourth on the NCAA Division I all-time victories list. The Billiken men posted a 274-90 ledger and the Billiken women were 308-98-1 in his 21 years, and swimmers on both teams set school records in all 21 events.

Halliburton was the longest-tenured head coach in the history of Saint Louis University athletics across all sports.

“We thank Jim for his many years of service to Saint Louis University,” Saint Louis Director of Athletics Chris May said. “The swimming and diving program transformed greatly during his 21 years at SLU, and he led the program and student-athletes with grace. We all wish Jim well in his next steps, and we look forward to celebrating him in the near future.

“We have already begun the search process for a new head coach and are evaluating candidates from coast to coast,” May continued. “Our next head coach will be someone who can execute our strategic objectives and be committed to the student-athlete experience.”

The program has a staff of three coaches to run the program while the search for a new head coach is underway. Mary Woods is in her first season as a full-time assistant after two years as a graduate assistant, Renee Ham has spent almost three years as the school’s head diving coach, and Austin Mayer is a graduate assistant. Ham also has experience as a swimming coach at the high school level.

Saint Louis U finished 10th out of 11 women’s teams at the 2022 Atlantic 10 Championships and 8th out of 8 men’s teams – albeit just 5.5 points behind 7th-place Fordham.

The women’s team has not been better than 8th place since they finished 6th in the 2005-2006 season. The men finished 5th as recently as the 2017-2018 season, out of 8 teams, although 2022 was their second-straight last-place finish at the meet.

The WashU men’s team finished 9th at last year’s NCAA Division III Championships with 158 points while the women took 21st place with 33 points.

“We are very excited to welcome Jim Halliburton to the WashU Swimming & Diving program,” WashU head coach Brad Shively said. “Jim brings with him a wealth of experiences and successes from the high school, club, and collegiate levels that total over 40 years. He has a strong belief in the impact that Washington University can make on our community, and his passion will make a lasting impact on our student-athletes. We are confident that his leadership and technical knowledge will be a great addition to our team.”

Saint Louis U kicks off its season with an intrasquad meet on September 17. Their first intercollegiate meet will be against WashU on September 23.

Saint Louis University is an NCAA Division I program, while WashU is a Division III program. Last year, the Saint Louis women won the dual meet 147-89 while WashU won the men’s meet 155-75.

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SwimCoachDad
18 days ago

Compared to the top A-10 schools, Saint Louis U is woefully underfunded. Jim is a great coach but you can’t attract talent without some incentive for them to come. Yes, academics matter most but it all goes into the financial package that the final decision for many rests. Top talent wants/needs scholarships, as they are all being wooed by schools with more money and similar academics. Wash U and Division III makes a lot of sense. Good luck to the next coach at SLU. In a few years, that coach will also move on and some of you will be saying the same thing about it being long overdue because a lack of performance.

Last edited 18 days ago by SwimCoachDad
SWMDAD
27 days ago

I am excited for a legend to be joining the Bears staff. What possible negative is there? He has done it all from HS, Club and College. Not to mention a bad ass swimmer in his day that understands athletes.

Coach Hal is the real deal and will make WashU that much stronger this season with Coach Shively.

Lee
27 days ago

Jim is a great coach. He coached our kids at Rockwood and FAST and was outstanding. So patient and a great teacher. SLU is losing a great coach, but since I’m an alumni of Wash U, I’m excited to see a great coach join the team.

Emily
28 days ago

I’m so proud of Jim for putting himself first. He is one of the most selfless, compassionate, and empowering coaches and people that I have ever had the honor to know. He gives swimmers a chance, he believes in the power of potential and hard work, and he cares so much about his swimmers. I wish him nothing but the best at WashU. Thanks for everything, Jim!

Marna Perez
28 days ago

Thanks Coach Jim for all your years of coaching at SLU! I know my daughter and the swimmers will miss you! You definitely made the recruiting process last year enjoyable. Good luck with everything!
Marna Perez

Rodortiz
28 days ago

Jim is an absolute legend! He built SLU swimming from the ground up. I’m so grateful to have had him as my coach for the last three years. He has taught me so many life lessons and he is an amazing coach, leader, and role model. He not only cares about us as athletes but he cares about us as students and as people. I wish him the best of luck at Wash u.

oxyswim
28 days ago

If I were a guy on a D3 team that killed a D1 team the year before and then that coach took over my program I wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in said coach

Swimfan123
Reply to  oxyswim
28 days ago

The fact of the reality is that at the Mid Major level at a school like SLU that only has 1 swimming scholarship for the men and 2 for the women results in swimmers choosing to go to SLU for academic reasons more than swimming reasons. This is also the case with Division III swimming specifically at one of the top academic institutions in the US at Wash U. Which results in many talented swimmers choosing to swim at a better academic school over swimming Division 1. SLU’s head coaching job is also one of the lowest paying in Division 1 likely paying less than assistant positions at many other schools within the Atlantic 10 conference which are mostly fully… Read more »

Kathy Matlock
Reply to  Swimfan123
28 days ago

Why do they only have 1 swim scholarship for men ? My son looked at several universities and all had more than 1 scholarship.

Ray Bosse
Reply to  Kathy Matlock
27 days ago

You would be surprised how many men’s DI swimming programs operate with 1 to 1.5 scholarships at the Mid Major level. If the school has football that is often the the case because of Title IX.

Double T
Reply to  Swimfan123
26 days ago

And with that level of team funding it’s surprising they still have a squad. If you don’t have scholarship money to allocate you’re generally never going to be competitive.

Coach
Reply to  oxyswim
28 days ago

The UAA conference (containing WashU, Emory, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, others) are essentially Diet Ivy League, and have the academic reputation to attract enough talent/depth to knock off many D1 programs, particularly on the men’s side where there just aren’t as many D1 roster spots and that talent had to go somewhere. To make it back top 24 in the mens 500 last year at UAAs you needed a 4:36, so these aren’t your average non-D1 teams.

Swimfan makes many great points, it’s not really a knock on Halliburton that SLU hasn’t invested enough in swimming to be a legit D1 program and didn’t have the academic reputation of a WashU to use in recruiting. That being said this is a… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Coach
Cindy
Reply to  oxyswim
27 days ago

Exactly

Conor
28 days ago

Saint Louis University, not St. Louis University. FYI.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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