The University of the Virgin Islands has a new head coach for its men’s basketball team, hiring veteran coach Alfonzo Duncan to lead the Buccaneers’ program.
Duncan, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., has coached at the high school and college level for more than 30 years. He joins the staff at UVI after serving as athletics director and men’s basketball coach for one season at Clinton College, a U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association program in Rock Hill, S.C.
“I’m elated to get the season underway and mark the beginning of a new era of winning with excellence with UVI Basketball,” Duncan said in a prepared release.
Duncan’s resume at the high school level includes head coaching stops at R.J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, N.C., and St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wis.
In addition to his time at Clinton College, Duncan was also the interim head coach at Florida Atlantic University at the end of the 1998-1999 season when then-head coach Kevin Billerman was fired after four years.
Duncan was also an assistant coach at North Carolina A&T, Virginia Tech and Livingstone College, where he also served as associate athletics director for compliance with the NCAA Division II school.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Winston-Salem State University, and master’s degrees in business education technology from Virginia Tech and in educational leadership from North Carolina A&T.
“Coach Duncan has an incredible track record spanning over 30 years, matched by his ability to recruit and build championship caliber basketball programs of integrity and character,” UVI athletics director Jerel Drew said in a prepared release.
“He brings a new level of energy and passion that will attribute to the success of our men’s basketball program on the court, in the classroom and the community.”
Duncan, who was chosen from 65 applicants for the position, takes over for Jeff Jones, whose contract — along with then-athletics director Wilberto Ramos — was not renewed earlier this year after three seasons as the Buccaneers’ head coach.
The departures of Jones and Ramos came on the heels of the UVI’s athletics programs being suspended by the NAIA from postseason competition for the 2019-2020 academic year, as well as forfeiting all of the Buccaneers’ games, and placed on probation for the 2020-2021 academic year.
The probation, which will still allow teams to participate in postseason competition, also involves the school’s women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s track and field teams.
A letter dated March 3 from the NAIA, obtained by The Daily News through a V.I. Open Records Act request, noted a chief official cited concerns over “blatant disregard for the NAIA bylaws” by UVI athletics officials in issuing the postseason ban and probation.
The NAIA also ordered UVI officials to conduct an audit in all sports over the last three academic years to determine if any ineligible athletes had taken part, and is requiring UVI athletics and other school officials to undergo “required rules education training” once the school has hired replacements for Ramos and Jones.
“It was important for us to conduct this search thoroughly and efficiently for our student-athletes, institution, alumni, community and all UVI stakeholders,” Drew said in UVI’s release.