HEAD COACH JEFF DUNCAN
Since taking the reigns of the KSU Baseball program in the summer of 2013, Jeff Duncan has continued the winning ways of each of his predecessors. Duncan, who was at Purdue in 2012 when the Golden Flashes swept the field at the NCAA Gary Regional hosted by the Boilermakers, has guided KSU to one MAC Tournament title (2014) and back-to-back regular season conference crowns in 2016 and 2017.
Duncan's teams have beaten perennial powerhouses such as Arizona, Baylor and Coastal Carolina during his tenure to keep Kent State a national threat. The program has gone 8-5 against Big Ten opponents over the past four years. The Flashes split four games with ACC competition in 2017.
The Golden Flashes have run roughshod over their Mid-American Conference rivals during the past two campaigns under Duncan. Kent State dominated Mid-American Conference regular season play in 2016 and 2017. The 2016 Flashes finished 20-4 – just slightly off the insane pace and school record of 24-3 set by the 2012 squad. Kent State’s nearest threat in 2016 was Ball State, which finished five games off the pace. Last year, Kent State posted an 18-6 league mark, two games better than second place Central Michigan. In the last two seasons, KSU has not been swept in a MAC series and has lost two out of three only once.
In nine years of college coaching, Duncan has worked with 19 position players who have been selected in the MLB Draft, including 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year Kevin Plawecki who was drafted in the first round and currently plays for the New York Mets.
The 2016 season went down as one of the most successful, not just in Duncan's reign, but in program history. The team compiled a 44-14 record, tying the third-most wins in history, and a 20-4 conference record en route to a regular season MAC title. Eric Lauer was named the National Player and National Pitcher of the Year as well as a consensus All-American while he was joined by two teammates on the All-MAC First Team. Lauer was also named an Academic All-American, making it back-to-back seasons that Duncan has mentored a top academic student achiever. A record 11 student-athletes garnered Academic All-MAC honors in 2016. Lauer, Andy Ravel and Conner Simonetti all had their name called in the 2016 draft.
Duncan guided the Golden Flashes to a 31-21 record in 2015 including a Mid-American East Division title as the Flashes went 18-9 in conference play. Three of his players earned All-MAC recognition while two were named All-Region. Additionally, the team had eight Academic All-MAC students, the most for the program since the award was first given out in 1972. Sophomore Jared Skolnicki led the way in the classroom as he earned Academic All-America honors, just the third student to be named such in program history.
In his first year at the helm, Duncan led Kent State to a 36-23 season and a NCAA postseason apperance after a four-game sweep of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. His offense belted 22 triples, tying the most in any single season dating back to 1970. Four Golden Flashes earned All-MAC honors while two were named All-Region. Duncan also developed senior Cody Koch into a MAC Tournament MVP and NCAA All-Tournament honoree. Three three-year players were drafted in the 2014 MLB Draft.
In the classroom, Kent State continued its academic success. Six student-athletes were named Academic All-MAC. Duncan also had a student earn All-District Academic honors while the team maintained a cumulative grade point average above 3.1. The team posted its third-best spring semester GPA in recorded history.
Before coming to Kent State, 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, who is signed through the 2020 season, resides in Streetsboro with his wife Lauren, son Bryce and daughter Shea.