GREENSBORO - North Carolina A&T Director of Athletics Earl Hilton announced the appointment of Duane Ross as the new director of track and field programs. Ross, a former member of the U.S. Olympic team, will oversee and run the operations of A&T's six track and field programs, 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.
"I am extremely excited about this opportunity and the future of this program," said Ross. "North Carolina A&T State University has a heritage and history that is unmatched. I intend to keep us on that path by building a championship program of which the administration, faculty and staff, student-athletes and alumni can all be proud of. I would like to thank Chancellor (Harold L. Martin) and Mr. Hilton for this opportunity. I would also like to thank the former A&T track and field coaches who have come before me for all of their hard work in laying the foundation for such a great program."
Ross' background in track and field and the Aggies' recent success in the sport seem to be a perfect match. The Aggies are coming off of a season in which the men's outdoor track and field team finished second at the MEAC Championships held at A&T's Irwin Belk Track. The women finished third in outdoor and return most of their top competitors. The program has also produced six (indoor or outdoor) All-Americans in the seven years, and this past season 17 athletes qualified for the NCAA Division I East Regional Preliminary Round.
Ross has spent the past five years serving as the director of track and field programs at Division III Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. During his time there, seven Monarchs have won individual NCAA Championships. Thirty-eight Monarchs have earned All-American honors. On 57 occasions a Monarch has achieved an NCAA qualifying mark, and Methodist has won 71 individual Mason Dixon conference championships on Ross' watch. The last four Mason Dixon Athletes of the Year have been Monarchs, and the last two Cross Country Mason Dixon Athletes of the Year were also from Methodist.
Also under his guidance, women's sprinter Ruby Blackwell was named United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association National Athlete of the Year in 2011. Academically, Ross had 22 scholar athletes and two Academic All-Americans.
"Our track and field programs are well positioned to move toward becoming an elite NCAA Division I program," said Hilton. "It is important we that we build on the excellence we have seen from our track and field programs over the last few years. Coach Ross knows what it takes to obtain our goals as both an athlete and a coach."
In 2011 and '12, Ross earned consecutive USTFCCCA South/Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors. He also earned Mason Dixon Indoor Coach of the Year honors in 2011, which was followed up by him winning the outdoor equivalent the same year. As an athlete, Ross earned a spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. He was a silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Trials in the men's 110 meter hurdles. He finished ninth in the 110 hurdles at the Games in Athens, Greece in '04. Ross is a four-time member of the U.S. World Championship team, where he earned two U.S. Championships and a two time silver medals in 110 hurdles.
In 1995 as a member of the Clemson track and field team, Ross won the NCAA Championship in the 110 hurdles. Ross received his B.S., degree in financial management from Clemson in 1996.