BY Dollita Okine, 12:00pm March 11, 2024,

Meet Amirah Boyd, NCAA’s youngest coach doing wonders at Caldwell University

At 14, her gym trainers encouraged her to take on leadership roles after recognizing her natural leadership abilities. Photo Credit: Caldwell Athletics

Amirah Boyd is the NCAA’s youngest coach, mentoring Caldwell University’s acrobatics and tumbling team. A few weeks following her college graduation, the 22-year-old accomplished this remarkable feat.

She hasn’t always received the most approval, though. She told BOTWC, “The biggest challenge has just been people taking me seriously. Not only because I am Black, but also because I am a female, and I’m 22 years old. So, I kind of have like three things working against me. But, I know what I’m doing. The fact that I’m young or the fact that I am a woman or whatever, like that has nothing to do with anything. I’m in this position for a reason.”

Growing up with her family in Georgia, she began her gymnastics experience at the age of three. At 14, her gym trainers encouraged her to take on leadership roles after recognizing her natural leadership abilities.

The Atlanta native switched from biology to athletic coaching as her major in her sophomore year at Presbyterian College (PC) in South Carolina after realizing she wanted to become a professional coach.

Boyd continued to maintain an active gym routine, regularly participating in tumbles while attending school. Before working at Caldwell, she competed in team competitions, open and synchronized pyramid, compulsory acro, open and synchronized toss, and Acro 6 Element. She was also on the NCATA Academic Honor Roll.

While a student at PC, the trailblazer advanced to level 10, the top level of the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics program. 

Today, she is imparting her knowledge and abilities to the students of the Caldwell acrobatics and tumbling program. 

Boyd just made history by coaching her first collegiate match on February 24 versus Stevenson University. She did this by inspiring her squad to win—the first-ever victory in the Caldwell acrobatics and tumbling department. Additionally, it’s the first victory for any New Jersey tumbling and acrobatics program.

“I was crying,” Boyd recounted about the landmark victory. “It was the most riveting experience. I felt like so much hard work from me and from the girls had paid off. Then, everything was just kind of like coming to me like ‘holy crap!’ This is bigger than what it seems.”

Breathing new life into the two-year-old Caldwell acrobatics and tumbling program, Boyd will be leading the way in recruiting dozens of student-athletes who will carry the team into the future.

She said it has always been her desire to become a Division One coach or launch her own team but “I’m very confident that I’ll be here at Caldwell for a while. I really do like it here. I leave a mark here, I leave a mark everywhere.”

She said, “The biggest thing for me was to instill the love that I have for the sport into other people.”

“[I say] to these girls…always know your purpose, always know your reason, right? I always say to them like, know your why and stick to that.” 

Boyd was motivated to pursue her goals by her parents and notable gymnasts like Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Dominique Dawes, the first African American to represent the United States in the Olympics and the first to win a gold medal at the age of just fifteen.

She reiterated that she is confident in her choice of profession, regardless of others’ opinions. “In my heart of hearts, I knew that this is what I wanted to do and even if some people look at me crazy for going into a coaching world or whatever, I know it’s what makes me happy. If just one person [says] like, ‘Coach Amira, she was the best, she changed my life or she helped me through whatever times I was going through,’ that’s something that you can’t trade ever. Just making sure I can help someone’s life in some way.”

She believes that her historic accomplishment will serve as an example for other young Black women, encouraging them to follow their passions and have confidence in themselves regardless of what others may say or think.

“I just hope to give people who are maybe scared of making that step or doing something new or scared of having a huge job out of college… you can do it. People are gonna doubt you, but it’s 1000 percent doable.

“Four years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I would be able to be in the position that I am right now, especially like at this moment straight out of college. But I put my mind to it and I did it. So anyone else can do the same thing.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 11, 2024


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