It will be Alfonzo Duncan, and not Duane Mlachnik, who will lead St. John's Northwestern Military Academy's athletics department as head varsity basketball coach and athletics director.
The school hired Duncan, who begins Monday in his new role, after Mlachnik withdrew from the dual position. SJNMA announced Mlachnik's hiring June 15, a maneuver that indicated the school would not be retaining the services of previous AD Jay Wayland and basketball coach Tim Richert.
Duncan has 20 years of basketball coaching experience, most recently when he also served as athletic director assistant for six years at Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, N.C. From 2003-05, Duncan wore several hats for the Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va., where he was the post-graduate assistant, high-school men's hoops coach, admissions officer and English instructor. He has also served as associate director of athletics for the Oakridge Military Academy in Greensboro, N.C.
Duncan was also an assistant men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech, an NCAA Division 1 program, from 2000-02 and was associate men's head basketball coach at Florida Atlantic in the 1990s.
“Alfonzo Duncan is one of those individuals who when first met leaves an indelibly positive mark in your memory,” said SJNMA president Jack H. Albert, Jr. in a school-issued release. “Several months ago, I began considering adjustments in the Academy’s athletic staff. Alfonzo was introduced to me and visited our campus twice. His background, his demeanor, as well as his quick assessment of our program, convinced me that he could be a key element for the direction of our athletic strategic efforts.
"Even with that knowledge, I chose to delay and go in an equally positive direction, hiring one of our alumni, Duane Mlachnik, whose positive talents, attitude and leadership skills rival any in the field. After some reflection, Duane decided not to take the position and Alfonzo was fortunately still available.
Some may conclude that Duncan is second best. That is not so. Both of these men bring tremendous leadership attributes to athletic programs like the 128-year-old process we enjoy and both have skill sets that make them candidates for athletic positions anywhere they choose to go.”
Duncan holds a Master of Science in business education technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institution and State University, a Master of Science in educational leadership from North Carolina AT&T State University and a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Winston-Salem State University.