HEAD COACH ROSS DUNCAN
Ross Duncan has been at Central Arkansas for nine seasons. During his time at the helm, he has reshaped the Bears, culminating in the program’s first –ever NCAA Tournament appearances in both 2017 and 2018, along with a regular season MVC title in 2018.
Duncan, who spent his first two seasons in Conway as an assistant coach in 2010 and associate head coach in 2011, was chosen to lead the program in a new direction in 2012.
A 2004 graduate of Oregon State, where he was a four-year letter winner while starting on the back line and at outside midfield for the first two OSU squads to make the NCAA Tournament (2002 & 2003) and earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors as a senior in 2003, Duncan began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Vermont in 2007, serving as an assistant coach with the Catamounts for three seasons and helping guide them to a second-round appearance in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
His time in Conway has seen the Bears transition from a Division I Independent to a member of the Missouri Valley Conference and now on to the Sun Belt Conference. During his first two seasons on staff, Central Arkansas won just five games overall and one in conference play, leading Athletic Director Dr. Brad Teague to hand the keys to the program to Duncan following the 2011 season.
His first season at the helm saw the Bears turn in their best season since moving to Division I in 2006, winning eight games and making the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the first time. After winning just seven matches over the next three seasons while rebuilding program following the 2012 season, the Bears appear to have turned the corner. In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, combining for 24 wins and collecting multiple MVC wins in each season, the only three times in program history that the Bears have collected more than a single win in Valley play. They have gone 13-7-2 since 2016.
The 2016 season saw Central Arkansas go 5-0-2 over its final seven games, including 4-0-2 in MVC matches to lock up the fourth seed in the Missouri Valley Tournament, where they played host Missouri State to a 1-1 but were edged out on PKs 5-4. After a slow start to the 2017 season, the Bears again finished strong, closing out with a 7-4-1 record over their final 12 regular season matches to earn the second seed in the MVC Tournament. Central Arkansas again found itself headed to PKs after a 1-1 draw with the host, in this case Bradley, but was able to flip the result, edging out the Braves 8-7 to advance to the title match against top-seeded Missouri State, where a 1-0 extra-time win put them in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The 2018 season put the Bears in a position on the last day of the season to win on the road against Missouri State and lock in their first ever regular season MVC title. A 1-0 victory was enough to lift the trophy. They then went on to beat Missouri State on penalties in the semifinal and beat Loyola 2-1 to win the conference tournament for back-to-back years and head once again to the NCAA tournament.
Under Duncan’s guidance, the Bears have had earned 30 All-MVC honors, 10 MVC All-Freshman honors, placed eleven players on the MVC Scholar-Athlete team, and seen Niklas Brodacki earn MVC Freshman of the Year honors in 2016, MVC Offensive Player of the Year honors three times (2016, 2017 $ 2018), and MVC Player of the Year honors in both 2017 and 2018. In addition, Duncan and his staff were named the MVC’s Coaching Staff of the Year in 2017 and 2018.
A native of Corvallis, Oregon, Duncan received his bachelor's degree from Oregon State in 2004 and his master's degree from Central Arkansas in 2013. Following his graduation from Oregon State, he played for two seasons in Australia for the Queensland Lions and the Brisbane Strikers. He returned to the U.S. in 2005 and spent that season as an assistant coach at Corvallis High School before a brief stint with the Baltimore Blast of the MISL in 2006.
Duncan and his wife Lindsey have two children, Taylor (7) and Lincoln (5).