Burleigh is the first and only coach of the soccer program since its inception in 1994. In 25 seasons at the helm of the UF soccer team, Burleigh has led UF to an NCAA Championship, two NCAA College Cup appearances, 14 Southeastern Conference titles, and 22 NCAA Championships berths. She has been named National (1998) and SEC Coach of the Year (2012, ‘10, ‘08, ‘00 & ’96). She ranks No. 6 among the NCAA Division I Active Coaches in winning percentage and is one of two females (and only in DI) in NCAA soccer history with 500 career wins and her 507 wins is No. 2 among NCAA Division I active coaches.
In 1998, in the Gators soccer program’s fourth year of existence, Burleigh coached the Gators to their first NCAA national title by defeating the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels 1–0 in the final. The 1998 Gators finished 26–1, their only regular-season loss coming to the same North Carolina team that the Gators defeated in the NCAA championship final. Players from her 1998 national championship team included All-Americans Danielle Fotopoulos, Heather Mitts, and Erin Baxter.
Prior to coaching at Florida, Burleigh was the head coach at Berry College, located in Mount Berry, Georgia. She was offered the Berry job within weeks of her own college graduation, at the age of 21. From 1989 to 1993, Burleigh compiled an 82–23–6 overall record during her five seasons at Berry, and her Lady Fury teams won two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championships in 1990 and 1993.
Burleigh has coached 22 United Soccer Coaches All-Americans, 11 NAIA All-Americans, 51 All-SEC players, 159 student-athletes on the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll, seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans with 11 honors, and 16 student-athletes honored as United Soccer Coaches 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 letter-winner. 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.
She recently announced her retirement and we are thrilled and honored that she’ll stop by the show to talk about her long career and tell us what’s next for Gators soccer and herself.