Alumnus Thanks Coaching Greats for Career Growth

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Now working for hall of fame coach Larry Brown, alumnus Jay Duncan thanks Coaches Rollie Massimino and Jay Wright for their roles in the opportunity.
Jay Wright, Jay Duncan and Billy Lange

Jay Wright, Jay Duncan and Billy Lange

In a February, 2010 game, Massimino, his coaching team and Duncan listen to a call by the referee.

In a February, 2010 game, Massimino, his coaching team and Duncan listen to a call by the referee.

June 15, 2012

Many at Northwood University fondly recall Jay Duncan as the Florida Seahawk 2008-2010 starter and team captain from Australia who, under Coach Rollie Massimino, helped guide the men's basketball team to consecutive NAIA national tournaments and a 2009 Sun Conference title. However, it's Duncan's postgraduate success that also makes one take note.

After graduating in 2010, Duncan landed a graduate assistant position at Villanova University under Coach Jay Wright thanks to Coach Massimino. Duncan was able to earn his Master's in Education maintaining a 3.8 GPA while working at Villanova, and recently moved onto a position at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas working as a Video Coordinator under legendary coach Larry Brown.

"Coach Massimino was instrumental in helping me move into the coaching profession. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. Coach Wright was an assistant for Coach Mass at 'Nova, so when Coach Mass called him for me shortly before I graduated from NU, it was a done deal. I had the job. Now at SMU working for Coach Brown, I have the opportunity to learn from a hall of fame coach who is the only coach to ever win both an NBA and NCAA Championship. Having won the NBA title with the Detroit Pistons and an NCAA Championship with the Kansas Jayhawks, the opportunities to learn from his experiences are endless," he said.

With the ultimate goal of one day becoming an NCAA Division One Head Coach, Duncan doesn't take for granted the opportunities that have shaped his path to career growth. "Coach Massimino and Coach Wright over the past four years have taught me more about basketball than I learned in my entire playing career. Their basketball IQs are off the charts. I really try to pay close attention to how and why they do certain things as a coach to help their teams be successful, in the hope that one day I can pass these same lessons onto my teams," he smiled.

"We knew Jay would be a tremendous success not only as a student but also as an athletic leader. His ability to communicate with his fellow teammates has put him in a position to be an outstanding coach," said Massimino.

Still fondly recalling his time at Northwood Florida and the people who played a role in his current success, Duncan will never forget his Seahawk family.

"The time I had at NU was special. I was able to be a part of a great school and a great basketball program. Coach Massimino has developed Northwood into one of the very best basketball programs in the entire NAIA. I am proud to have played for the Seahawks, and still remain very close with Coach Mass, Ken Gabelman, Ken Sullivan, and the entire basketball team," he said. "I would tell anyone who wants to get involved in coaching basketball, to work extremely hard and to be a student of the game. Study great coaches and apply the tools that they used to be successful. When I had to get back surgery following my senior season at Northwood and was not able to sign and play professionally back home in Australia, I was extremely thankful for my professors, advisors and coaches for their help and advice academically. Without them, I may not have been accepted to Villanova grad school, and would not have had the same opportunities to coach," he added.

Prior to Villanova, Duncan spent two seasons (2008-10) as a starter and team captain for Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Fla. His teams went 54-13, made consecutive NAIA national tournaments and won the 2009 Sun Conference title. Duncan was selected the 2009-10 Northwood Student-Athlete of the Year and was a two-time NAIA Champion of Character honoree.

Duncan played his first two collegiate seasons at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was a two-year starter. Duncan was selected All-Region IX first team and was named an NJCAA Academic All-American. He earned a bachelor's degree in business at Northwood in 2010 and a master's in education from Villanova in 2012.