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Kent State names Jeff Duncan as Head Coach

JeffDuncanJeff Duncan, former associate head coach at Purdue, was named the new head baseball coach at Kent State on Tuesday, as announced by Kent State Director of Athletics, Joel Nielsen.

“One year removed from the College World Series, this head coaching position was very attractive and it was evident throughout the search,” said Nielsen. “In no particular order, we set out looking for someone that could coach and motivate our current players and incoming class, a dynamic recruiter, a person familiar with successful college baseball in the North, a serious commitment to academics and a good role model. Needless to say, we’re excited to introduce Jeff Duncan to the Kent State community, along with his wife Lauren and son Bryce, and I’m looking forward to building on our success. Kent State baseball is in good hands moving forward.”

“Today is the most exciting day of my coaching career,” said Duncan. “The opportunity to be the next head coach at Kent State, a storied program with tradition, 21 major leaguers, 12 regional appearances and a trip to Omaha in 2012. The program has great former players, a fantastic alumni base and a great University and community behind it. I look forward to replicating and building upon the great program that Scott Stricklin and the coaches before him have built.

“I would like to thank Joel Nielsen and Janet Kittell for their professionalism during the search and their confidence in me to lead Kent State into the future. I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming days and getting to work.”

Duncan spent four seasons at Purdue, helping lead the team to a school-record 45 wins in 2012, including a Big Ten Regular Season Championship, Big Ten Tournament Championship and a NCAA Regional Host. He was named associate head coach in September of 2012. Duncan was named the assistant in the Big Ten most ready for a head coaching job by College Baseball Insider and was listed as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation by Baseball America.

While a part of the Boilermakers program, Duncan served as the hitting, base running and outfield coach and also as the recruiting coordinator. He signed three recruiting classes that were ranked nationally by Collegiate Baseball Magazine. He helped lead the Purdue program to 133 wins in his four years on staff.

Prior to Purdue, Duncan was an assistant coach at Auburn University from August 2008-September 2009 where he served as the third base coach and assisted with the team’s offense and outfielders. While there, he coached nine position players that were drafted by Major League Baseball and helped the team set a single-season record of 103 home runs.

Duncan played baseball professionally for nine seasons in the Mets, Padres, Blue Jays and Dodgers organizations. He spent two of those years at the Major League level with the Mets during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Duncan was also a three-time All-Star selection while in the Minor Leagues. He was drafted twice: in the seventh round by the Mets in 2000 and in the 1997 MLB Draft by the Cubs out of high school.

Before going pro, Duncan played baseball at Arizona State. Batting .360 in his career as a Sun Devil, Duncan was captain of the 2000 team that went on to win a PAC-10 Championship.

Duncan and his wife Lauren have one son, Bryce, who is eight months old.

What They Are Saying About Jeff Duncan:

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to work side-by-side with Coach Duncan as we move this program to greater heights. Jeff was a terrific player in his collegiate and professional careers and has transitioned into a highly respected coach who has demonstrated a tireless work ethic in regards to evaluating, recruiting and developing student-athletes. He has a strong passion for baseball and I am very excited about the future of this program with Coach Duncan as the head coach”
Mike Birkbeck
Kent State associate head coach

“I am thrilled that Kent State has decided to hire Jeff Duncan as their next head baseball coach. He was an excellent player and I believe he is an even better coach. The Golden Flashes will continue to be championship contenders under the direction of Coach Duncan.”
Scott Stricklin
Georgia head coach
Kent State head coach, 2005-2013

“Jeff will do an outstanding job leading the Kent State baseball program. He has a wealth of baseball experience, is a tireless recruiter, and one of the best persons and competitors that I have been around.”
Doug Schreiber
Purdue head coach

“Jeff’s track record recruiting high quality student-athletes and developing them on the field speaks for itself. I have seen first-hand the outstanding work he has done at Purdue University. The coach in me knows this is a great hire and the alum in me is excited to see that the history and tradition of Kent State Baseball in good hands.”
Greg Beals
Ohio State head coach

“I think he’s one of the finest young assistant coaches in college baseball. He is very deserving of this opportunity and will make a fine head coach for Kent State.”
Mac Seibert
Regional Scouting Supervisor, New York Mets

“Jeff Duncan will join a long list of outstanding coaches at Kent State. I believe he will do a tremendous job and continue the great tradition of their baseball program.”
Dave Keilitz
Executive Director, American Baseball Coaches Association

“Jeff is a guy who reached the highest level as a player, and as good of a player and coach as he is, he’s an even better person. Everyone who’s known him as a coach knows what a great job he’ll do.”
Mike Rooney
College baseball analyst, ESPNU
Arizona State assistant coach, 1998-2004

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