Kody Duncan shares journey to conference champion coach and media member

Category:  Sports
Thursday, September 30th, 2021 at 4:00 PM
Kody Duncan shares journey to conference champion coach and media member by Nate Steis
Photo credit to Bob Shreve

EDINBORO - Edinboro Head Men’s and Women’s tennis coach, Kody Duncan, has become rather multifaceted in the sports industry over the last several years.

The Venango County product by way of Oil City High School has held the titles of student-athlete, high school soccer coach, assistant equipment manager, assistant tennis coach, head tennis coach, and sports writer, all in his twenties.

“My twenties have been pretty successful in a lot of people’s eyes and I’m very blessed. I am a pretty religious person and I have to thank God for that.”

Duncan got his start coaching collegiate tennis at nearby Allegheny College. Just two months into the role, the Edinboro men’s and women’s tennis head coaching position opened up with his former head coach, Lee Underwood, recommending to the Edinboro athletic department that Duncan, and alumni of the men’s program, take over the programs as head coach.

“It was a blessing in itself to get this position and I believe at the time I was the youngest head coach in all of Division II athletics at just 24 years old. It was a really pleasant surprise getting that call from the athletic administration for sure.”

As a tennis player at Edinboro, Duncan was a scholarship student-athlete who would become a three-time Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete, a three-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Scholar-Athlete, and a PSAC Champion as a player. He earned a degree in Health and Physical Education and since graduating from Edinboro, Duncan has not stopped being around athletics. While Duncan loves the game of tennis, it was baseball that he lists as his first love.

“The first sport I ever played was baseball, and I started with tee-ball at four years old,” said the Venango County native. “I played baseball all the way up until high school and decided I was a better tennis player. I can still remember the first pro baseball game with my brother and one of my good friends in 2000 at Three Rivers Stadium and watching Mark McGwire and company from the Cardinals kick the Pirates behinds.”

From there, he was hooked and has remained a loyal Pittsburgh Pirates fan all of his life despite just three playoff appearances during his time following the team. He has particularly paid attention to the Pirates minor league systems over the years, something that has led him to accept opportunities to write for RumBunter, StillCurtain, and Fansided.com.

What helped him land these opportunities was starting a Twitter account all the way back in 2014 that is now @TalkPirates. For many years, the account lay mostly dormant, but early in 2021, Duncan became more active on the account and expressed opinions and shared knowledge about the Pirates General Manager Ben Cherrington era in Pittsburgh, and the job he has done to make the Pirates a contender in the future.

“My first few tweets this year were talking about the Joe Musgrove and Jameson Taillon trades this past offseason and the returns the Pirates got from those transactions. I talked about the prospect the Pirates received in return and the account has grown from there.”

From using various minor league baseball websites and even finding a few sources from around the United States, Duncan has become an expert on the Pittsburgh Pirates future. He knows players at all the different levels from the Greensboro Grasshoppers all the way to the major league ball club.

His love for sports and his passion for Pittsburgh professional sports have allowed him to even start writing some articles about the Pittsburgh Steelers as of late, something that has him excited about diversifying his knowledge and content.

While he has had no real mentors in the sports media space, there have been a collection of people who have supported him through each venture he has set out on. One of the first people Duncan mentioned was his college tennis coach, Lee Underwood.

“I did not have a father figure growing up and while he was not a father figure per se, having a coach like him was something I really needed in my life. Him being the type of coach he was did not just shape me as a player, but looking back I know it shaped me as a person as well.”

Duncan also expressed a great deal of appreciation for his older brother, Kevin, and his mother, Ronda, for encouraging him to be an athlete and make sports such a big part of his life.

“I was born in and spent some time in Florida as a kid and when we moved to Oil City, my mom encouraged me to get involved with sports to meet people and get acclimated to the area and it truly ended up being the best way possible to meet people.”

Earlier this year, Duncan won his first PSAC title as the head men’s tennis coach. For the 2021-22 school year, the men’s team returns all of their players and also welcomes additional players who can help this team compete to win a second straight conference title.

He believes the women’s team will make great strides this school year as the program returns some key players as well in addition to a large group of first-year college players.

One interesting bit about the tennis programs at Edinboro is that the team’s feature young people from all around the world, something that Duncan says has made him a better person over his coaching career.

“It is great for them to be able to come to the United States and go to a great university and these athletes teach me a lot of things that I did not know of. I definitely appreciate having teams like that.

I also think my most important accolade to date is not a single PSAC distinction, but helping to have my players graduate and become responsible adults. I always want education to come first.

As a young professional, Kody Duncan has already accomplished a great deal and has become truly multifaceted in the world of athletics. Whether it is preparing athletes for a tennis season, writing about professional sports, or even picking up something unique like coaching soccer or becoming an equipment manager; Kody Duncan has proven he will find a way to succeed.

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