Jacksonville Sports Day

Brian Duncan Looking Forward to Starting Flagler Men’s Lacrosse

ST. AUGUSTINE – Many college coaches do not get a chance to start a program from the ground up. They generally have to inherit a program from the previous coach.

Brian Duncan, Flagler College’s first head men’s lacrosse coach, will be able to start his program from scratch. The Saints debut in the spring of 2022.

This is not the first time Duncan, who has coached for over 20 years, has been part of a new collegiate program.

He was part of the inaugural staff at Jacksonville University. In 2010, the Dolphins posted a 6-7 overall record in their first season.

Jacksonville knocked off two NCAA Division I Tournament teams in the University of Denver and Mount St. Mary’s University. That next season, the Dolphins became a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and made the conference tournament semifinals.

Not only does Duncan have collegiate experience, he has coached on the professional level. He served as the offensive coordinator for the Florida Launch (2017-18) and helped guide the team to its first final four appearance in Major League Lacrosse.

Duncan is very familiar with Flagler having served as its club coach since 2016. Making the transition from a club sport to varsity is a challenge he embraces.

“I love being challenged,” said Duncan. “Right now I am excited because this has changed from what I have always wanted since I’ve been here, to now, what my vision was from the beginning of where we want to go.’

His selling of the program to recruits becomes that much easier now than what it had been in the past. No longer does Duncan have to say, “Hey, we might. It is here’s our plan.”

The sport has blossomed in the high school ranks in the State of Florida. Duncan has been in the Sunshine State for a decade and has seen the high school ranks swell from 90 teams to now where there are close to 300 programs (boys and girls) in the FHSAA.

“There is a lot of talent coming out of Florida,” said Duncan. “There are a lot of good coaches that have moved here, so I believe our base has become stronger as a result.”

Although the deeper the talent pool gets in Florida, Duncan knows he needs to recruit nationally to bring in the best talent he can to the Ancient City.

“I will look at all of the players in Florida, but we are not focusing only on Florida kids,” said Duncan. “We will have a nationwide scope to get the right kind of guys into our program.

Duncan, a former midfielder in his playing days at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC), has his collegiate experience and a wealth of experiences at various levels as a coach to form what his coaching philosophy will be at Flagler.

He won a national title in 2004 at the Community College of Baltimore County Essex and was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year.

“We are up tempo,” said Duncan. “We are going to push the ball, especially with the new shot clock (80-seconds). We are going to be very aggressive with our defensive players pushing the ball early. People will like watching us play”

Right now, NCAA Division II has 70 member institutions playing men’s lacrosse over two regions – the North and the South.

The South Region is comprised of four conferences (Conference Carolinas, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the South Atlantic Conference, and the Sunshine State Conference) as well as six independent team.

Geographically, Flagler sits in an ideal location as it is close to the eight Sunshine State Conference schools and not too far from other schools, including Peach Belt Conference members Lander University and Young Harris College.

The PBC does not sponsor men’s lacrosse at this time. Shorter University (Rome, Ga.) and Montevallo University (Montevallo, Ala.) are two more schools in the Deep South.

Scheduling games is not a concern for Coach Duncan.

“I have a lot of friends who are coaches in the Carolinas who have already reached out to schedule us for 2022,” said Duncan. “I want to play all of the Florida schools, go up to the Carolinas for a couple of games, and then get some of the northern and western schools as they come through to play. We will look to play around 14-16 games every year.”

A second major priority for Duncan, outside of recruiting players, is fundraising for the new lacrosse facility to be located at the Flagler College Athletics Complex on Old Moultrie Road.

This facility will include a state-of-the-art synthetic playing surface, grandstand, locker rooms and concessions. The anticipated completion date for the new facility is August 2021.

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