Amirah Boyd Makes History as Youngest Head Coach in NCAA History


by Jolie Doggett

March 4, 2024

Amirah Boyd is tumbling her way into the history books!

Just a month after her 22nd birthday and only a few weeks after her college graduation, Boyd headed to Caldwell University to lead their acrobatics and tumbling team, cementing her place in history as the youngest person to coach at the collegiate level in the NCAA

“The biggest challenge has just been people taking me seriously,” Boyd tells Because of Them We Can in an exclusive. “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.”


Boyd has been doing gymnastics since she was three years old, growing up with her family in Georgia. Her coaches noticed she has a knack for leadership, and when she turned 14, she started coaching at her home gym. By the time she reached her sophomore year at Presbyterian College (PC) in South Carolina, she knew she wanted to pursue coaching as a career. She changed her major from biology to devote her studies to athletic coaching.

While studying, Boyd was an active tumbler, splitting her time between the classroom and the gym. Prior to joining the staff at Caldwell, she was a member of the NCATA Academic Honor Roll, competing in Compulsory Acro, Pyramid, and Toss, Acro 6 Element, Open and Synchronized Pyramid, Open and Synchronized Toss, and team events at her alma mater. The Atlanta native reached level 10, the highest level in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics program while a student at PC and is now sharing her skills and expertise with the students in the acrobatics and tumbling program at Caldwell. 

But even with all of her skills and expertise, there are still those who look at her age and doubt she has what it takes.


“I would say the biggest thing is letting people know…I know what I’m doing. How am I gonna gain my respect not only from my athletes, but from the people that I work with who are much older than me, much more experienced?” Boyd admits. “That’s really been the biggest thing for me, just like gaining respect and not letting people talk to me however they want to.”

She may be young, but don’t get it twisted! Boyd is definitely head coach material. She coached her first collegiate meet on February 24th against Stevenson University where she continued to make history by leading her team to victory–the first win in the history of the Caldwell acrobatics and tumbling program. It’s also the first win for any acrobatics and tumbling program in the state of New Jersey.

“I was crying,” Boyd says of 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.”

Amirah and her team celebrate Caldwell University’s first ever acrobatics and tumbling victory. Photo courtesy of Amirah Boyd

Under her leadership, she hopes her team will continue to do big things. In addition to securing the program’s first victory, she’s also given new life to the two-year-old Caldwell acrobatics and tumbling program, taking them to their first competitive meet (and their first victory) and recruiting dozens of student athletes that will carry the team into the future–and Boyd will be there to lead the way.

“My dream from when I started coaching was to [one day] coach Division One or start my own program from the ground up, 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.”

Boyd has a simple philosophy when it comes to coaching: know your why. Her young age has allowed her to relate on a personal level to the students on her team who look to her not only as a leader, but as an inspiration for what they can accomplish while completing their studies. 


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

And what’s Amirah Boyd’s why? She truly loves coaching and wants to help her students be the best they can be. “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,” Boyd says. “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.”

Boyd is inspired by other history-making Black women gymnasts like Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Dominique Dawes, the first African American gymnast to represent the US in the Olympics and the first to win a gold medal at just 15 years old. But more than anything, it’s her parents that push her to pursue her dreams and help make her students’ dreams of success come true.


“Both of my parents inspire me. They always chased what they wanted to, no matter what, never gave up on their goals and that always spoke to me,” Boyd shared about her mother and father. “I didn’t go to grad school. I’m not some surgeon or whatever, but this is what I want to do. They’ve always told me, do what you want to do, do what you love. If you’re doing what you love and you’re happy, everything else comes after.”

Everything is just getting started for Boyd. She hopes to lead her team to more victories at meets and end the season with at least a 50-50 record. She also hopes that her historic achievement will be an inspiration for other young Black women to follow their dreams and believe in themselves, despite what anyone says or thinks. 

“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,” Boyd advises other young dreamers. “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.”


Cover photo: Amirah Boyd Makes History As Youngest Head Coach In NCAA History / Photo courtesy of Amirah Boyd

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