Barber just finished his fifth season as a Crimson Tide assistant coach
James Barber is in his eighth season as an assistant coach with the Crimson Tide.
"I'm excited to have James as part of the staff," Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley said. "I've known him since he worked with the USA Resident National team in the 1990s. He is a talented and hardworking coach who is a perfect fit for our program philosophy, which is based on character and commitment in the pool, in the classroom and in life."
In addition to his on the deck coaching duties, Barber serves as the recruiting coordinator for the men's program.
"They say home is where the heart is, and my heart has always been with The University of Alabama," Barber said. "It is incredible being a member of the Alabama family, to be in a place that puts such high value in excellence at every level and provides their athletes and coaches with every resource necessary to succeed. This is every coach's and athlete's dream."
During the Crimson Tide's breakout 2013-14 season, Barber's group broke three school records - including rookie Connor Oslin becoming the first UA swimmer under 47 seconds in the 100 backstroke, clocking a 46.33 at the NCAA Championships and shaving more than a second and a half off the old mark.
In addition to almost two decades of collegiate and age-group coaching, Barber also worked with Jonty Skinner as an assistant coach with the U.S. Resident National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo. While there, he worked with several world class athletes, including Amy Van Dyken and B.J. Bedford. Van Dyken was the first American female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad (Atlanta, 1996).
Prior to joining the Crimson Tide, Barber was in charge of the distance group at Florida State for three seasons, coaching athletes to school record marks in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyles as well as coaching the Seminoles' first All-American in the mile. One of his athletes was named ACC Swimmer of the Meet at the conference championships. He was also nominated for Teacher of the Year for teaching undergraduate anatomy and physiology courses at FSU.
As an age-group coach, Barber mentored 18 Junior National qualifiers in over 40 events and 20 national age-group top-16 performers. His athletes also earned 21 titles at the Southeastern Swimming Championships.
Barber joined the Seminoles in 2004 after a six-year run as the head coach at Club Makos in Gulf Breeze, Fla., where he produced national caliber swimmers.
Since 2005 Barber has mentored five different athletes who qualified/represented Team USA in international competitions, in addition to five international athletes who have represented their respective countries, with many finalists and semi-finalists.
Barber received his first coaching job as the head age-group coach for the Montgomery YMCA Barracudas in Montgomery, Ala. From there he moved to Mobile, Ala., where he served as Senior Coach for the City of Mobile Swim Association while pursuing his master's degree. His next coaching stint had him in the same position for the Colorado Spring Swim Team while also coaching the USA National Team.
Barber graduated with a bachelor's degree in exercise science in 1996 from Auburn University at Montgomery and obtained a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of South Alabama.
A native of Prattville, Ala., Barber is married to the former Angie Bixler. The couple has two sons, Benjamin Paul and Samuel James.