Twenty-six seasons. That’s how long Becky Burleigh has been coaching the orange and blue. The 53-year-old coach made the announcement on Saturday that she would retire at the end of the season.
The Becky Burleigh Legacy
Burleigh, who began the program in 1995, has compiled 14 Southeastern Conference regulars season championships and 12 SEC tournament titles. Additionally, the Gators have made the NCAA tournament 22 times. On Saturday, she informed her team of her decision to retire following their morning practice. With the uncertainty this year has provided, she reassured her girls that she was all in for this season.
Additionally, she enters this 2020-2021 with 507 wins, putting her as the second among Division 1 coaches. Her most legendary season is perhaps 1998. Florida took down the powerhouse North Carolina to win the national championship. Also, she coached future national team players Danielle Fotopoulos, Abby Wambach and Heather Mitts.
Plans for the future
One of the many reasons Burleigh loved coaching was being able to develop players. Coaching is a non-stop wheel. There are games, practice and recruiting. In college, that added level of education and being away from home allows her to make an impact. At a media conference Saturday, she spoke on why she enjoys coaching at the collegiate level.
Some have speculated whether she will make the transition to professional soccer. While her love for soccer prevails, the professional level lacks that one-on-one player development.
Nonetheless, no new name has been said to take her place. But, someone will be the new head coach. Despite her leaving, there is so much talent on the roster. The future of the program is still bright. Whoever the new coach may be, Burleigh offers her advice on how to be successful at Florida.
The Gators’ first game of the spring is on Feb. 19 against FAU at home at 2 p.m.