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 N.C. A&T – 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.
Ross has won seven Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles with two in men’s indoor track and field, two in women’s indoor track and field, two in men’s outdoor track and field and one in women’s track and field.
In 2018, the Aggies won the men’s and women’s MEAC indoor titles to follow up winning both titles in 2017. It marked the first time a MEAC school has gone back-to-back in men’s and women’s indoor since Delaware State did it in 1986 and 87. A year earlier, the Aggies won all four track and field titles, indoor and outdoor. It was the first time since 2003 a MEAC school accomplished the feat. At the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., the Aggie men finished 14th nationally to secure the highest finish by historically black university since N.C. Central finished fourth in 1974. They were third among schools not in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC and Pac 12.
Seven different athletes have qualified for the NCAA indoor championships under Ross, while nine have qualified for the NCAA outdoor championships. Multiple athletes have accomplished All-American honors in qualifying for NCAA championships. At least one Aggie has earned either first-team or second-team All-American indoor honors for five straight seasons starting in 2014.
Christopher Belcher and Rodney Rowe are the only two Aggies to earn first-team All-American honors in three different events. In 2017, Belcher was a second-team All-American at the NCAA indoors in the 200 meters, then earned the bronze medal at the NCAA outdoors in the 100 meters and 4x100 relay. Belcher finished third in the U.S. 100m final to earn a prestigious spot on the United States Track and Field team and signed professionally with Nike the same year. A combined eight athletes have earned first-team All-American honors in either indoor or outdoor. Four athletes have earned multiple first-team honors. Eight different athletes have earned second-team All-American honors with three of those athletes earning multiple second-team honors.
Ross led a combined 19 athletes to the 2017 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round to set a new school record. The Aggies shattered that record the next season with 24 invites. N.C. A&T's track and field All-American total have grown to a combined 34 student-athletes during his tenure.
N.C. A&T has been dominant in the MEAC under Ross. Thirty different individuals have won MEAC indoor titles. The Aggies have won the men’s 4x400 relay (2016-18) three straight seasons and the women’s 4x400 two straight seasons (2017-18). Thirty-six individuals have won MEAC outdoor titles.
In 2018, women’s sprinter and hurdler Kayla White became the first Aggie to win four different events at the MEAC outdoor championships when she won the 100 meters, the 100-meter hurdles, the 200 and the 4x100 relay. She was named the Most Outstanding Track Athlete. The men's 4x100 relay team of Rowe, Joel Thomas, Michael Bell and Michael Dickson earned second-team All-American honors, along with Trevor Stewart in the 400 meter during the NCAA outdoor championships.
N.C. A&T has also broken six MEAC meet records (indoor and outdoor combined) since Ross became the director of track and field program. The Aggies also gained their first-ever national ranking with Ross at the helm. The Aggies men’s team became the first MEAC track program to reach the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top-25 when they earned the No. 21 ranking on May 8, 2016. A day later, the Aggies top three 100-meter runners were ranked as the No. 1 trio in the nation by USTFCCCA. Two years later, the Aggie men reached No. 18 in the nation.
In 2015, Michael Dickson (60-meter hurdles) and Maurice Eaddy qualified for NCAA indoor nationals to mark the first time in school history the Aggies qualified two male athletes for indoor nationals. Dickson was the first-ever 60mh runner from N.C. A&T to qualify. In 2015-16, Desmond Lawrence became the first Aggie athlete to earn All-American honors as an indoor and outdoor athlete when he advanced to the NCAA finals in the 60 meters.
Cross country has also seen improvements under Ross’ leadership. In 2012, the men finished fourth, in 2013 they finished third and in 2014 and ’15 they finished second. Three N.C. A&T men’s runners earned first-team All-MEAC honors in 2014 and ‘15. Hakeem Mustafaa finished second at the 2015 MEAC Cross Country Championships and he advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional.
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 program's 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 the USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Field Athlete of the Year awards in 2011.
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 1996.
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 110mh 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 110mh. 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 60mh 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 60mh champion. His highest ranking was fifth in the world in 2003.
Ross won the NCAA Championship in the 110mh in 1995 at Clemson. As a Tiger, 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. He completed his master's degree in sports management and physical education from Aspen University in 2016.
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 110mh 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.