Mark Duncan has also been assistant
at Crest, Richmond County during career
By CHRIS HOBBS
MORGANTON – Mark Duncan, defensive coordinator at Freedom High since 2017, will be Patton’s head football coach as the Panthers head into their 13th varsity season in February.
A press release on Wednesday by the Burke County Public Schools said Duncan will leave Freedom, where he has been as assistant coach since 2002 and weight trainer since 2005, for his first varsity football head-coaching try.
Patton opened in 2007 and played one season of junior varsity only before fielding a varsity team in 2008.
Duncan. 45, moves into his new role to replace Eric Shehan, a Freedom graduate who had been named interim head coach after nine years as an assistant at Patton. Shehan filled that role after last year’s head coach, Jonathan Browning, resigned in early July after two seasons.
The Panthers were 4-7 last year and 3-4 (fifth place) in the Northwestern Foothills 2A. They missed the state playoffs after four straight bids.
Patton’s official 2020 schedule has not yet been released. Schools are limited to seven games due to COVID-19 with the first game on Feb. 26. As an eight-team conference, none of the Northwestern Foothills 2A schools will be able to play any non-league games.
Patton Principal Sara LeCroy and athletic director Jeff Williams announced Duncan’s hiring.
“I would like to thank Mrs. LeCroy and the staff at Patton High School on becoming the next head football coach at Patton High School,” Duncan said in the press release “My vision for the football program will be student-driven with new ideas and opportunities that will link with the already winning culture…
“Upon that vision, I would want to build a strong foundation that is established on leadership, commitment, accountability, toughness, effort and community.
“This foundation can only be established through consistency and hard work. But consistency and hard work of one person does not make a football program successful, it will be my job as the head coach to inspire and motivate players, coaches and people of the community to take a personal ownership attitude for the program.
“When everyone is investing their talents into the program it becomes stronger and is able to sustain.
“Lastly and most importantly, the football program …will have a family atmosphere which will be built on love, trust and respect for each individual.”
Duncan’s coaching background includes stints at Crest and Richmond County, and he was on two staff of state championship teams.
“Coach Duncan has a level of football knowledge, passion for the game and personal intensity that really impressed our hiring committee,” LeCroy said in the press release. “In addition, his personal values, integrity and vision of developing young men of character and as leaders stood out to us.
“His experience in extremely competitive programs has prepared him to be the next head football coach at Patton High School, and I know he will serve our school well in this role.”
Williams said he’s excited about Duncan’s weight-room experience in well-known football programs.
“He presented to our hiring committee a five-month plan to get our student-athletes ready for competition,” Williams said in the press release. “With his coaching experiences, he has worked with some traditional powerhouse programs which makes him more than ready to face the challenges of building character in our young athletes and fielding competitive teams.”
Duncan started his teaching and coaching career in 2002 at West Rockingham Elementary and Rohanen Primary. He’s been at weight trainer at Burns, Richmond County, Crest, Polk County and Freedom.
BROWNING RESIGNS AT PATTON: https://hobbsdailyreport.com/patton-high/breaking-news-browning-resigns-as-head-football-coach-at-patton/
PATTON’S 2019 SEASON PREVIEW: https://hobbsdailyreport.com/high-school-football/northwestern-foothills-2a-football-preview-patton-panthers-3/
BROWNING HIRED TO REPLACE EANES: https://hobbsdailyreport.com/patton-high/high-school-football-patton-promotes-browning-to-head-coach/