Update: Kent State hires two new coaches, renews two contracts


Jeff Duncan, Kent State’s award-winning head baseball coach, signed a three-year contract extension through the 2022 season.  

Brandon Justice

Jeff Duncan and Mike Birkbeck, Kent State’s head and associate head baseball coaches, recently signed three-year extensions of their original contracts that will carry through the 2022 season. 

Duncan was named MAC coach of the year three years in a row from 2016 to 2018. He was also named the 2018 Chuck Tanner Coach of the Year, led the team to two MAC Tournament titles in 2014 and 2018.

This past season was Birkbeck’s 23rd year as part of the Golden Flashes baseball coaching staff. The team has won 10 MAC regular season titles, 10 MAC Tournament crowns and have appeared in 10 NCAA Regional Tournament during Birkbeck’s tenure. 

During Birckbeck’s tenure, the team has averaged 36 wins per year. 

Last season, KSU baseball finished with a 30-24 record, making it Kent’s 21st consecutive season with 30 or more wins. 

Over the summer, men’s basketball picked up a new assistant coach, Aaron Fuss. 

Fuss graduated from Ohio State University, where he was a student manager, before being promoted to graduate manager by Thad Matta, the winningest coach in Ohio State history. 

Fuss spent nine seasons with the Ohio University Bobcats, first as director of basketball operations, then as an assistant coach. During his OU coaching tenure, the Bobcats reached the NCAA tournament twice, making the Sweet 16 in 2012. 

Fuss is coming to Kent State following two years as an assistant coach under Lamont Paris at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

Kent State’s new Women’s Golf head coach, Lisa Strom, comes with 9 years of coaching experience, as well as 10 years as a professional player. 

Strom, who is replacing former head coach Greg Robertson, spent five and a half seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Ohio State University. She helped guide the Buckeyes to six straight NCAA Regional appearances and four showings at the NCAA Championships. 

Following her tenure at Ohio State, Strom was the head coach for three years at Texas State University, where she led the team to a program record-breaking 2018-19 season. 

Prior to her coaching career, Strom spent four years playing for the Ohio State team, before spending 10 years playing for the Ladies Professional Golf Association where she competed in more than 50 LPGA-sponsored events. In 2007, Strom placed a career-best 13th at the Navistar LPGA Classic. 

The Golden Flashes will play in up to 13 events across the country this season.

Brandon Justice is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]