As we celebrate Division III week this week, we will feature a pair of accomplished cadet-athletes that are excelling in the Division III environment.
Senior Timbo Duncan is the starting right fielder on the baseball team. As a sophomore, he tied the single-season school record with six homers and was named to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-conference second team.
During his sophomore season, he hit .301 this season led the team with 34 hits, nine doubles, 22 RBI's and a .558 slugging percentage to earn All-conference honors for the first time in his career.
He is currently third all-time at the Coast Guard Academy with 12 homers, three shy of the mark of 15 held by Gregg McHenry ('88).
Duncan, from Heath, Texas, knew two things when he was a senior in high school. He wanted to attend one of the four military academies and he wanted to play college baseball. Once he found out about the Coast Guard Academy was Division III, he knew he could compete at that level and was sold. He was interested in trying to compete at either the Division I and II levels, but no offers really had what any of the military institutions offered.
"Playing Division III means a lot to me. It definitely pushes you to your limit yet at the same time can be very rewarding," said Duncan. "My experience at the Division III level has put me to the test since freshman year."
Duncan attended Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. before arriving in New London.
"Being an athlete at the Coast Guard Academy is important to me because this was my ticket into the Academy and that's the reason I spend a year attending prep school to better myself and be prepared for the everyday challenges of the Academy."
Duncan was injured during his freshman year playing football and had to have reconstructive surgery on his shoulder which caused him to miss his entire freshman year on the diamond "After that, I've experience a lot of success and a lot of failure," said Duncan. "Sophomore year I was fortunate enough to tie the single-season homerun record here at the academy. Then junior year rolled around and I'm pretty sure I set the single season strikeout record (hopefully nobody keeps these stats, so I'll never know). Regardless of the success or failures, I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had for anything in the world."
Being an athlete at the Coast Guard Academy can be very hectic and time management is a big part of everything that an athlete does.
"When the spring season rolls around in New England, you never know when it's going to snow or rain a week of games out and then you have to play a conference games literally all weekend," said Duncan. "This usually consists of a game Friday, doubleheader Saturday, and another doubleheader Sunday. The weather here is what makes it so hectic and time management such an essential attribute to have. With that being said the positive relationships that I have made with my teammates, coaches, and staff throughout my time here is the thing that I'll miss most after the year is over."
Duncan has competed in sports all of his life so being a student-athlete has always been part of who he was. "In my eyes, it's one thing to just attend the Coast Guard Academy but I truly believe that if you can be an athlete and still be successful in the classroom, then it says a lot about your character," said Duncan. "The academic workload is literally one of the hardest things I've ever experienced in my life, but having baseball here to remedy it has been my saving grace. Once it's all over, being an athlete at the academy is another thing that I'll be able to hang my hat on; right up there next to a commission in the United States Coast Guard and a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering."
In Division III, we realize that the classroom is the primary setting for preparing student-athletes. However, Division III also understands that academics are more than just GPAs, test scores and majors; it is a comprehensive learning experience that develops successful leaders and professionals. Work with your FAR and faculty to highlight the academic success of your student-athletes.
Passion and sportsmanship are attributes of the "athlete" in the Division III "student-athlete" paradigm. The "athlete" plays for the love of the game, strives for excellence in all facets of life and perseveres through adversity. So, during Division III Week, celebrate the athletic component of our identity – a true homage to the symbiotic relationship of athletics and higher education- by hosting a banquet for your student-athletes or a clinic for local youth teams.
Citizenship and responsibility are Division III attributes. Student-athletes "giving back" not only adds to the comprehensive learning component of Division III, but also provides a venue for passion and service. While Division III institutions are encouraged to engage in a Special Olympics activity during Division III Week, other possible activations include: organizing a leadership symposium; scheduling a motivational speaker; or engaging with another community service partner or charity.