Swimming and Diving Head Coach Dennis Pursley Retains James Barber as Crimson Tide Assistant Coach
May 19, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Newly appointed Alabama head swimming and diving coach Dennis Pursley has retained James Barber as an assistant coach on his staff. Barber just finished his fifth season as a Crimson Tide assistant coach.
"I'm excited to have James as part of the staff," 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."
Barber has worked with the distance and stroke groups during his first five years at Alabama, in addition to a variety of other duties within the program.
Prior to joining the Tide, Barber was in charge of the distance group at Florida State for three seasons, where he coached 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.
He was also nominated for Teacher of the Year for teaching Anatomy and Physiology courses to undergraduates while 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.
While working with the U.S. Resident National Team in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the `90s, Barber 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).
Since 2005 Barber has mentored five different athletes that have qualified/represented Team USA in international competitions, in addition to five international athletes that have represented their respective countries, with many finalists and semi-finalists.
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.