Robert Duck, whose tenure as an assistant coach with both the Seminole men’s and women’s golf teams has coincided with the greatest period of growth in the history of the two programs, is in his sixth season at Florida State. Under Ducks’ tutelage, both Seminole teams have become perennial leaders in national rankings and course statistics as well as in the production of All-Americans and All-ACC performers, as he has helped raise the profiles of both programs to the levels necessary to compete as top collegiate programs on an annual basis.
Duck plays an integral role in the successes of both programs including the men’s national ranking of No. 1 and the women’s national finish of 15th during the 2016 season. Duck has helped coach both programs into the NCAA Tournament in each of his first five years while working with All-Americans and All-ACC honorees on both teams.
In his first five seasons at Florida State, the men have produced seven All-Americans, 12 All-ACC selections, two ACC Golfers of the Year (Brooks Koepka in 2012 and Hank Lebioda in 2016) and two ACC Freshmen of the Year while the women have produced two All-Americans and seven All-ACC performers.
During each of his five seasons, the Seminole men and the Seminole women have appeared in the NCAA Tournament five times each with the men finishing in ninth in the team standings in the 2012 NCAA Championship finals and 11th in the 2015 NCAA Championship finals and the women finishing in 15th at the 2016 NCAA Championship Finals. The men have finished in second (twice) and third once and the women have finished third once and have earned two fourth place finishes in their respective ACC Championships.
Duck’s work with Florida State’s players has led to incredible individual success in his first five seasons in Tallahassee. His teaching abilities and coaching philosophies have helped accelerate the careers of two of the top men’s players in school history – Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger – as well as four of the top performers on the women’s team – Matilda Castren, Lydia Gumm, Maria Salinas and Jessica Negron. Koepka was named the ACC Golfer of the Year in 2012 and was a three-time All-ACC selection while Berger earned All-ACC honors and played for the United States’ Palmer Cup team in 2013. Duck also worked with Seminole All-America Hank Lebioda – who earned All-America honors in 2015 and 2016, was the 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year, a four-time All-ACC selection and was a member of the 2014 United States Palmer Cup Team. Castren earned All-American honors in 2014, is a two-time All-ACC honoree and holds the record for lowest stroke average in school history. Gumm was an All-ACC selection in 2015, Salinas finished in a tie for first in the NCAA Central Regional and earned All-America honors in 2012 and Negron earned All-ACC honors in 2013.
Duck has helped coach the Florida State men to 13 tournament championships in his first five seasons in Tallahassee. The Seminoles won four consecutive tournaments, earned six overall team championships and were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Golf championships in 2015. Duck helped the Seminole women win three team championships and finish in second place at the 2016 NCAA Shoal Creek Regional.
The Seminoles – both the men and the women – have been ranked among the nation’s top 30 teams throughout his first four seasons at Florida State. The men were ranked as high as No. 1 in 2015 while the women were ranked as high as No. 16 in 2016.
Duck is one of the rising stars in collegiate coaching. He was the acting head coach at Augusta State in 2002, served the Jaguars as a volunteer assistant coach during the 2001-02 season and was an assistant coach for the program during the 2002-03 season. During his tenure as the acting coach at Augusta State, the Jaguars were ranked as high as No. 9 nationally.
COLLEGIATE PLAYING EXPERIENCE
Duck enjoyed a standout career at Augusta State (1998-01) where he earned All-America honors as a sophomore (1999) and led the Jaguars to three NCAA Championship appearances (1998, 1999, 2001). He is one of the top golfers in the storied history of the Augusta State program and remains listed prominently in the record book 15 years after his playing career ended. Duck is ranked second in school history for lowest stroke average by a freshman (73.22) (which stood as the school record for nearly 15 years). It is an average that still ranks in the top 15 in school history. His career stroke average of 73.86 is ranked 14th in school history. During his career he earned 12 top-10 and 28 top-20 individual finishes.
COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE
Duck’s ability to communicate with the players he coaches is illustrated by the success those players have earned on the golf course. In in first five seasons at Florida State he has worked with 10 All-Americans, 19 All-ACC honorees, two ACC Golfers of the Year and three ACC Freshmen of the Year. Each of the ten teams (five men’s and five women’s) he has helped coach at Florida State has played in the NCAA Tournament and both teams have been ranked in the nation’s top 20 during the first five years of his tenure in Tallahassee.
2016 WAS A SPECIAL YEAR FOR THE SEMINOLE WOMEN
Duck helped the Seminole women finish the 2015-16 season ranked 19th nationally by Golfstat, 24th nationally by Golfweek, finish 15th nationally in the NCAA Division I Championship Finals, finish second at the NCAA Division I Shoal Creek Regional, win team championships at the fall 2015 Jacksonville Classic and the spring 2016 Florida State Match-Up, finish in the top five of nine of its 13 matches, have two players earn NCAA Shoal Creek All-Region honors (Matilda Castren and Kim Metraux) and have two players earn All-ACC honors (Castren and Metraux).
2015 WAS ONE OF THE BEST IN PROGRAM HISTORY
Duck helped the Seminole men’s golf team to the best season in program history in 2015. The Seminoles finished 11th in the final standings at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, finished in second place in the ACC Championships, earned a program-best national ranking of No. 1 during the season, were the No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s Golf Championship tournament, had three players earn All-American honors (third time in school history three players earned All-American honors in the same season) and set a single-season school record with six tournament wins.
2014 WAS A BANNER YEAR
Duck’s coaching efforts in 2014 helped the Seminole men to a second place finish in the ACC championship, a fifth place finish in the NCAA Raleigh Regional and an appearance in the NCAA Championship Finals for the third consecutive year. He helped coach one All-American, the ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC selections Jack Maguire and Hank Lebioda. The Seminole men won the USF Invitational as they posted the best single round team and tournament score in team history in winning the championship. Duck helped coach freshman Matilda Castren who earned All-American Second Team and All-ACC Honors and who was the runner-up for ACC Player and Rookie of the Year honors as well as All-ACC selection Alex Milan.
SUCCESS OF BROOKS KOEPKA
Duck worked with All-American Brooks Koepka during his final season as a Seminole (2011-12). He was named the ACC Player of the Year and led the Seminoles to a ninth place finish at the NCAA Championship finals in 2012. Koepka earned his PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season as he finished in a tie for fourth place at the 2014 U.S. Open – a finish which also earned him an invitation to play in the 2015 Masters Championship. Koepka enjoyed his best professional season in 2015 as he finished in the top 10 at both the Open Championship (tied for 10th) and the PGA Championship (tied for fifth) and set a record for a Florida State player with a 13-under par score in finishing in a tie for fifth at the 2015 PGA Championship. Koepka won the championship of the 2015 Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour victory.
SUCCESS OF DANIEL BERGER
Duck coached Daniel Berger, the 2016 FedEx St. Jude tournament champion on the PGA Tour, during his stellar two-year career as a Seminole. Berger won two individual titles (the spring 2013 Gator Invitational and the spring 2013 Seminole Invitational), was a two-time First-Team All-American, was named to the All-Nicklaus Team, the All-ACC Team and the Ping All Region team as a sophomore during his career at Florida State. He led the ACC in stroke average and carded his career low score of 65 during the spring of his sophomore season. Berger was named the 2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
ON COURSE COACHING
Because he has played and coached at such high levels, Duck is known as a players’ coach. His ability to help each student-athlete create long-term training schedules and encourage them to work towards those goals on a daily basis has helped create a teaching environment that has fostered the recent successes of both the Seminoles’ men’s and women’s programs.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY AS A PLAYER
Duck led Augusta State (now Georgia Regents University) to three NCAA Championship tournament appearances and helped the Jaguars to a seventh place finish as a senior. The seventh place finish was the best in program history at the time. With the foundation put in place by Duck and his teammates, the Jaguars won the NCAA Titles in 2010 and 2011.
SUCCESS IN PROFESSIONAL WORLD
Duck enjoyed a successful career as a manager of professional golfers for the Hambric Sports Group (2003-2012) before accepting his current assistant coaching position at Florida State. Based in London, Duck was the supervisor of the European Division of Hambric Stellar Golf. He was a player manager who oversaw public relations and marketing for seven clients including 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle, 2005 European Tour Rookie of the Year Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, former Augusta State All-American Oliver Wilson and Francesco Molinari.
Duck is married to the former Michelle Digsby. The couple has two daughters, Annabel (nine) and Hannah (six). He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Augusta State in 2001. A native of Northampton, England, he represented Great Britain-Ireland as a member of the 1998 Palmer Cup team. Duck played in the 1997 European Amateur Championship and finished tied as the runner-up with Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.