Duane Ross joined North Carolina A&T as the director of the track and field programs on July 11, 2012. Ross is responsible for six programs at A&T including men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. All six programs have made tremendous strides under Ross’ leadership.
The 2014-15 indoor and outdoor seasons saw the men’s team finish second at the respective MEAC championship meets by a combined deficit of 2.5 points. It marked the second straight year (2014 & ‘15) the men’s indoor and outdoor teams finished second at the conference championship. Five Aggies took gold during the MEAC indoor meet including Desmond Lawrence breaking the MEAC record in the men’s 60 meters (6.64) and Todd Townsend taking the heptathlon for the second straight year. The Aggies also won gold in the men’s triple jump, the men’s long jump and the women’s 60-meter hurdles. Lawrence also became the first Aggie in school history to be named an All-American as an indoor and outdoor athlete when he advanced to the NCAA finals in the 60 meters.
The Aggies had five first-place finish at the outdoor conference championship thanks to wins in the men’s 400 meter relay, men’s long jump, decathlon, women’s 100, women’s pole vault and the women’s 400 meter relay. In addition, 11 Aggies advanced to the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla., and the men’s 400 meter relay advanced to the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. Among the athletes who doubled in winning gold in indoor and outdoor conference were Townsend (decathlon/heptathlon) and Frank Quarles (men’s long jump). One of Ross’ most recent recruits, Morgan Knight won the conference 60-meter hurdles, 100 and pole vault in 2015.
National recognition has also come in A&T’s direction under Ross. During the 2014 indoor season, the Aggies had four athletes qualify for the USATF Championships. Lawrence broke the school mark in the men’s 60-meter preliminaries at USATF by recording a time of 6.60.
At the 2014 MEAC indoor championships, an Aggie – Townsend – won the men’s heptathlon for the first time in two decades. Individual Aggies also won the women’s 60 meter hurdles, the men’s 60 meters, the men’s long jump and the men’s triple jump. Lawrence broke the MEAC indoor record in the 60 at the championships with a time of 6.64. Four Aggie men earned first-team all-conference honors, while four men earned second-team honors and seven Aggies earned third-team honors including the men’s distance medley relay. Eleven females earned all-conference honors with four third-team honors, three second-team and a first-team recognition.
Ross also led the men’s outdoor team to an outstanding season in 2014. Six Aggies earned first-team honors and the Aggies took gold in three events. There were also two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes which earned those athletes second and third-team All-MEAC honors. Six Aggies including the 100 meter relay team qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round. In the process, Lawrence put together one of the best seasons in school history.
Lawrence became the 11th All-American in school history by finishing seventh in the national NCAA 100-meter finals. In qualifying for the NCAA finals, Lawrence ran a 10.12, four-tenths of a second off the school record.
Cross country has also seen improvements under Ross’ leadership. Men’s cross country has improved its standing in the conference each year with Ross as the head of the program. In 2012, the men finished fourth, in 2013 they finished third and in 2014 they finished second. In addition to the Aggies second-place finish, three runners earned All-MEAC honors by finishing in the top-15 individually. Three cross country runners on the women’s side finished in the top-30 at the MEAC championships despite all three being middle-distance runners.
The Aggies 400 meter relay team finished sixth on national television in the Championship of America college men’s final at the 2013 Penn Relays. Four Aggies which included Lawrence, Christian Harrison, Nakita Gray and Kennan Smith competed in the 2013 NCAA East Division I Track and Field Preliminary Round.
Ross came to A&T after serving as the track and field director at Methodist University, a Division III program, in Fayetteville, N.C. for the past five years. During his time at Methodist, the Monarchs won nine individual NCAA Championships and earned 46 All-American honors. On 62 occasions, a Monarch achieved an NCAA qualifying mark and Methodist has won 84 individual Mason Dixon Conference Championships under Ross' direction. The last four Mason Dixon Conference Athletes of the Year have been Monarchs, and the last two Cross Country Mason Dixon Athletes of the Year were also Methodist student-athletes.
The Monarch women captured both the indoor and outdoor Mason Dixon Conference Championship titles in 2011 and the outdoor title again in 2012. Their conference championship was the first in the programs history. In 2011 the Monarchs finished fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championship before going on to finish third at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2012 the Monarchs finished fourth at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships and fourth again at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Under his tutelage, sprinter Ashlynn Chavis won numerous National Championships, set NCAA all-time bests in the 100 meters, Long jump and as a member of the 4x100 meter relay, while sprinter Ruby Blackwell was named the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Year in 2011.His athletes took the USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Track Athlete of the Year and also the USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year awards in 2011. Ross also amassed 25 scholar athlete honors, two Academic All-American honors, three Methodist University Scholar Athlete of the Year awards and 43 school records in his tenure at Methodist.
Ross garnered numerous Coach of the Year awards during his time at Methodist: Two consecutive USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors in 2011 and 2012, Mason Dixon Indoor Coach of the Year in 2011 and Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2012, and Methodist University Coach of the Year in 2011.
Ross began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Clemson University, his alma mater, in 2006.
Ross joined Methodist University after retiring from his professional career as an Olympic athlete and world class sprinter. Ross competed on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2004, and earned a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Trials in the men's 110 meter hurdles. He finished ninth in the 110 hurdles at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. He is a four-time member of the U.S. World Championship team, where he earned two U.S. Championships and two silvers medals in the 60 and 110 meter hurdles. He also earned the bronze medal in that event in the 1999 World Championships. He was consistently ranked in the top 10 in the world in his event throughout his professional career.
He made his debut in world track and field events at the 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships, where he finished fourth in the 60 meter hurdles event. He also finished fourth in the 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 1999 IAAF Grand Prix Final. Ross was the 1998 USA Indoor 60 meter hurdles champion. His highest ranking was fifth in the world in 2003.
Ross won the NCAA Championship in the 110 hurdles in 1995 as a member of the Clemson University track and field team. At Clemson, he became a seven-time All-American and five-time ACC Champion in addition to his national title. He received his bachelor's degree in financial management in 1996 from Clemson.
Ross is from Dallas, N.C., and attended North Gaston High School. He was a football standout in high school, and joined the track and field team to rehabilitate an ankle injury before the next football season. He found immense success in the hurdles, and won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state title in the 110 meter hurdles in his first season.
Ross holds a USA Track and Field Level 1 coaching certification and is also a certified USA Track and Field official. He's the former Vice President for USA Track and Field for the state of North Carolina.
|Position:||Director of Track and Field Programs|