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Becky Burleigh
Becky Burleigh

Head Coach

  • 1998 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year
  • 1998 College Soccer Weekly National Coach of the Year
  • 2010, 2008, 2000 & 1996 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year

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Few college coaches can match Becky Burleigh’s ability to bring a team ready to challenge for each season’s conference and national titles on such a consistent basis. There is no question that Burleigh stunned the soccer community when the Florida program she started in 1995 claimed the 1998 NCAA crown in just its fourth season of play. But focusing on that obvious achievement doesn't give due credit to the job Burleigh does year-in and year-out as a tactician of the sport, developing players and promoting the sport at local, state and national levels.

In 18 seasons at the helm of the UF soccer team, Burleigh, 45, has led UF to a NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup appearances, 12 Southeastern Conference titles and 16 NCAA Championships berths. Along the way, Burleigh picked up National (1998) and SEC Coach of the Year (2012, ‘10, ‘08, ‘00 & '96) honors. Her career winning percentage of 77.0 (401-108-33) ranks No. 3 among the NCAA Division I Active Coaches.

The 1998 season's culmination with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina for the NCAA Championship marked a remarkable job by Burleigh, as the program she built from its beginnings used a four-year fast track to the national crown. In 1998, Florida set season marks for best record (26-1), highest national ranking (No. 1), and highest NCAA Championships seeding (No. 2). Florida captured its third consecutive SEC Tournament title and advanced to its first-ever NCAA College Cup. By taking UF to the College Cup, Burleigh became only the second female coach to lead her team to the NCAA semifinals and the first to win the NCAA crown. Burleigh also received the 1998 NSCAA/adidas, College Soccer Weekly and Soccer Buzz National Coach of the Year awards.

Burleigh's Gator teams were overachievers from the beginning, setting impressive milestones each fall. After joining the Gator program in June of 1994, Burleigh had just over a year to put together the first Florida soccer team. Burleigh used the time wisely, and the team that she introduced to the crowd of more than 4,400 at the James G. Pressly Stadium on Sept. 2, 1995 was a squad that was ready to step into the challenges of NCAA Division I soccer competition. Burleigh’s second Gator team made it known early that they were ready to take a spot among the nation’s elite, defeating then-No. 9 Virginia, 1-0, the opening week of the 1996 season for UF’s first win over a ranked team. Florida quickly jumped into the top 10 of every national poll -- a position it would hold throughout the 1996 campaign. The 1996 UF squad became the first of four UF teams (1998, '99, '00) to sweep through the SEC regular season and Tournament undefeated. As a second-year program, Florida was the youngest in the 32-team field of the 1996 NCAA Championship, reaching the NCAA quarterfinal and finishing the season ranked in the nation’s top 10. The 1997 Florida team defeated three top-25 teams and although the Gators finished second in the SEC Eastern Division, UF did defeat SEC Eastern Division champion Vanderbilt to win the program’s second consecutive SEC Tournament title.

In the team’s sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Gators again advanced to the NCAA College Cup in 2001, falling 3-2 in overtime to eventual NCAA champion Santa Clara.

Those early successes have evolved into the Gator soccer team being a regular among the nation’s ranked teams. Over the course of the program’s 18 years, Florida has:

  • 16 NCAA Championships’ berths (1996-2001; 2003-2012)
  • Two NCAA College Cup appearances (1998, 2001), winning NCAA title in 1998
  • 12 SEC team titles (1996-2001; 2006-2010; 2012)
  • 10 SEC Tournament titles (1996-01; 2004; 2007, 2010, 2012)

Last season, Florida reached the NCAA Round of 16. The Gators swept the 2012 SEC regular season and Tournament titles for the fifth time since the league began awarding both titles in 2000.

Prior to being named Florida’s first head soccer coach, Burleigh coached the Berry (Ga.) College Lady Fury for five seasons (1989-93), when she compiled an 82-23-6 overall record. During her five-year coaching tenure at Berry, Burleigh guided the Lady Fury to two NAIA national championships (1990 and 1993) and was also named NAIA National Coach of the Year during the same two seasons. Burleigh was named NAIA Regional Coach of the Year in her first season as head coach at Berry in 1989, when her squad finished as the national runner-up. At Berry, Burleigh compiled a 76.6 win percentage, as she lost only seven games to NAIA opponents during her five seasons of coaching the Lady Fury.

Did You Know?

Nine top-10 national finishes have been achieved all-time by the Florida soccer program.

In 23 seasons of coaching, Burleigh has compiled an overall record of 401-108-33 (.770) and her 401 wins already places her No. 4 among Division I coaches (all-time and active) for career victories. Burleigh earned her 200th career win with Florida's 2000 SEC Tournament semifinal win versus Kentucky, making her the second-fastest active Division I coach to reach the 200-wins milestone. The 300th win came at Mississippi in 2007. With Florida’s win versus Florida Gulf Coast in the 2012 NCAA Opening Round, Burleigh earned her 400th win. Her 26 wins in 1998 marks a career high in single-season wins.

Burleigh has coached 17 NSCAA All-Americans, 11 NAIA All-Americans, 33 All-SEC players, 113 student-athletes on the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll, five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans with seven honors and 11 student-athletes honored as NSCAA Academic All-Americans.

As a student-athlete, Burleigh played her collegiate ball at Methodist College in Fayetteville, N.C., where she was a four-year letterwinner. In her senior year, the Tarpon Springs, Fla., native served as team captain and was named to the All-South team as well as the team’s Most Valuable Player from her goalkeeper position. Burleigh graduated Magna Cum Laude from Methodist in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In the fall of 1999, Burleigh was inducted into the Methodist Hall of Fame. She earned her master’s degree from Georgia State University in 1993.

 

The Burleigh File

Full Name: Rebecca Lund Burleigh

Birth Date: October 13, 1967

Hometown: Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Began at UF: Named coach of Florida's inaugural soccer team on June 28, 1994

Education: B.S. Biology (Magna Cum Laude), Methodist College, 1989; M.S. Exercise Science, Georgia State, 1993

Coaching Experience: University of Florida, 1995-present; Berry (Ga.) College, 1989-94

Coaching Record: overall (23 seasons): 401-108-33 (.770); University of Florida (1995-present): 319-85-27 (.771); Berry College (1989-94): 82-23-6 (.766)

 

Coaching Honors: 1998 NSCAA/adidas National Coach of the Year; 1998 College Soccer Weekly Coach of the Year; 1998 Soccer Buzz Coach of the Year; 1998 NSCAA/adidas Southeast Regional Coach of the Year; 2012 NSCAA South Region Coach of the Year; 2012, 2010, 2008, 2000 & 1996 SEC Coach of the Year, 1990 and 1993 NAIA national Coach of the Year; 1989 NAIA regional Coach of the Year

All-Americans: 17 NSCAA All-Americans with 28 honors; five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans with seven honors; 11 NSCAA Scholar Athletes All-Americans with 15 honors; 11 NAIA All-Americans; four NAIA Academic All-Americans

National Champions: 1998 NCAA Division I champions (Florida); 1990 and 1993 NAIA national champions (Berry)


Burleigh’s Career Coaching Record

Year School Wins Losses Ties Percentage Notes
1989 Berry (Ga.) 19 3 2 .833 NAIA National Runner-up
1990 Berry (Ga.) 16 5 2 .739 NAIA National Champions
1991 Berry (Ga.) 18 5 0 .783 NAIA third place national finish
1992 Berry (Ga.) 11 6 1 .639 Advanced to NAIA Southeast Regional
1993 Berry (Ga.) 18 4 1 .804 NAIA National Champions
1995 Florida 14 4 2 .750 SEC Eastern Division - 2nd
1996 Florida 22 3 0 .880 NCAA Quarterfinal (T-5th); SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
1997 Florida 20 3 1 .854 NCAA Second Round (T-9th); SEC Tournament Champions
1998 Florida 26 1 0 .963 NCAA Champions; SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
1999 Florida 21 2 0 .913 NCAA Second Round; SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2000 Florida 16 8 0 .667 NCAA Second Round; SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2001 Florida 21 4 1 .808 NCAA Semifinals (T-3rd); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2002 Florida 10 10 2 .500 SEC Regular Season – T-3rd; SEC Tournament Final
2003 Florida 19 4 2 .800 NCAA Quarterfinals (T-5th); SEC Regular Season – T-3rd, SEC Tournament Final
2004 Florida 16 4 3 .761 NCAA First Round; SEC Regular Season - 3rd, SEC Tournament Champions
2005 Florida 13 6 1 .675 NCAA First Round; SEC Regular Season - T-3rd
2006 Florida 14 6 5 .660 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season Champions, SEC Tournament Final
2007 Florida 17 5 3 .740 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2008 Florida 19 4 1 .813 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division Champions; SEC Tournament semifinal
2009 Florida 16 6 2 .708 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division Champions; SEC Tournament semifinal
2010 Florida 19 2 3 .854 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Regular-Season, Tournament & Eastern Division Champions
2011 Florida 17 8 0 .680 NCAA Second Round; SEC Regular Season – T-3rd; SEC Tournament Final
2012 Florida 19 5 1 .780 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season and SEC Tournament Champions
23   401 108 33 .770 No. 4 on DI Active Coaches Chart for number of wins
 

Burleigh’s Record at Florida

Year School Wins Losses Ties Percentage Notes
1995 Florida 14 4 2 .750 SEC Eastern Division - 2nd
1996 Florida 22 3 0 .880 NCAA Quarterfinal (T-5th); SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
1997 Florida 20 3 1 .854 NCAA Second Round (T-9th); SEC Tournament Champions
1998 Florida 26 1 0 .963 NCAA Champions; SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
1999 Florida 21 2 0 .913 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2000 Florida 16 8 0 .667 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2001 Florida 21 4 1 .808 NCAA Semifinals (T-3rd); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2002 Florida 10 10 2 .500 SEC Regular Season – T-3rd; SEC Tournament Final
2003 Florida 19 4 2 .800 NCAA Quarterfinals (T-5th); SEC Regular Season – T-3rd, SEC Tournament Final
2004 Florida 16 4 3 .761 NCAA First Round (T-33rd); SEC Regular Season - 3rd, SEC Tournament Champions
2005 Florida 13 6 1 .675 NCAA First Round (T-33rd); SEC Regular Season - T-3rd
2006 Florida 14 6 5 .660 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season Champions, SEC Tournament Final
2007 Florida 17 5 3 .740 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division & Tournament Champions
2008 Florida 19 4 1 .813 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division Champions; SEC Tournament semifinal
2009 Florida 16 6 2 .708 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Regular-Season, Eastern Division Champions; SEC Tournament semifinal
2010 Florida 19 2 3 .854 NCAA Second Round (T-17th); SEC Regular-Season, Tournament & Eastern Division Champions
2011 Florida 17 8 0 .680 NCAA Second Round; SEC Regular Season – T-3rd; SEC Tournament Final
2012 Florida 19 5 1 .780 NCAA Round of 16 (T-9th); SEC Regular-Season and SEC Tournament Champions
18   319 85 27 .771  
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