Mississippi College head women’s basketball coach Paul Allen Duke has announced his retirement. The 25-year head coaching veteran steps down after leading the program to the Gulf South Conference Tournament for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.
“I’ve had a great career here,” Duke said. “I’ve made lots of friends and enjoyed my 30-plus years at Mississippi College. This is a great place, and I’m going to miss all the coaches, players and people who make this a great place. I’ve reached that time in my life when it’s time to step away and retire. I want to thank the Mississippi College administration for their support over the years and letting me lead this Lady Choctaw program.”
Duke, who started his collegiate, head coaching career in Clinton during the 1995-96 season, has compiled a 386-253 record in his tenure. He helped lead the Lady Choctaws to 11 conference tournament appearances, including a run of 10 consecutive in the American Southwest Conference.
During his tenure he tutored 11 all-conference performers, including the 1997 ASC Player of the Year Tina Herron. Duke was named the 1998 ASC Coach of the Year and was a two-time recipient of the ASC East Division Coach of the Year.
Duke picked up its 200th career victory against the Ozarks on Jan. 28, 2006 and grabbed its 300th on Jan. 14, 2012 at East Texas Baptist University.
Prior to becoming head coach, Duke served the university as the assistant women’s basketball coach for seven seasons. As an assistant coach, Duke was part of the Lady Choctaws team that finished in the finals of the Gulf South Conference Championship Tournament. He also served as a graduate assistant under Mike Jones with the men’s program for one year.
“Paul Allen has left an indelible mark on this program that will forever be remembered,” said Athletic Director and men’s basketball head coach Mike Jones. “He has led this program to excellence through hard work, discipline and accountability. We’re not only losing a coach. We’re losing a great man and tireless worker. I’m so proud of what my friend has done for this program and for this school.”
Before arriving at Mississippi College, Duke coached at Woodland Hills in Jackson (1986-1987), at St. Andrews Episcopal School in Jackson (1980-1985), and at Sylva Bay High School before that where he served as the athletic director, head football coach, and head coach for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Duke completed his bachelor of science degree at Mississippi State University in 1976. He received a master of education degree at Mississippi College in 1987.
The Mississippi College athletic department will begin an extensive search for the next head coach immediately.D2 Gulf South Conference Mississippi College