Tennessee State University, hockey

TSU Hires Duanté Abercrombie As First Head Coach For Men’s Hockey Program

In addition to his work as an inaugural member of the Washington Capitals’ Black Hockey Committee and co-creator and lead instructor of the Rising Stars Academy, he was nominated for the 2024 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award by the Capitals for his work on its committee.

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Tennessee State University signed its first hockey player in January, and now it has hired a coach to lead its men’s hockey program.

Duanté Abercrombie is the first head coach of a hockey program at an HBCU and the second Black hockey head coach of a collegiate program, following Kelsey Koelzer in 2021

In a press release, TSU President Glenda Glover and Director of Athletics Dr. Mikki Allen welcomed Abercrombie’s addition to the university.

“I am incredibly excited to embark on building this program, supported by God, my family, TSU students, alumni, and all those eagerly awaiting this moment,” Abercrombie said. “I firmly believe that one day, TSU will be recognized not only as a powerhouse on the ice but also as a program whose student-athletes leave a profound legacy on the world, enriched by the lessons learned at TSU.”

Glover praised Abercrombie’s hiring as another instance of the university’s commitment to breaking barriers in her statement.

“We recognize the profound significance of bringing hockey to an HBCU and providing our students with unparalleled opportunities that will enrich their college experience,” Glover said. “This bold move builds upon the TSU legacy that we had envisioned for the institution as a comprehensive university offering a wide range of academic and extracurricular programs, with a continued commitment to excellence.”

Abercrombie brings an impressive pedigree as a barrier-breaker in the game of hockey himself. In addition to his work as an inaugural member of the Washington Capitals’ Black Hockey Committee and co-creator and lead instructor of the Rising Stars Academy, the Capitals nominated him for the 2024 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award for his work on its committee. He also counts Neal Henderson and Graeme Townshend among his mentors, the first and third Black players inducted into the United States Hall of Fame. 

“Duante will prove to be one of the best hires in College Hockey,” Townshend said in the press release. “He brings a wealth of experience that is rooted in a high degree of character, compassion, and integrity. He will prove to be an incredible role model for ALL members of the Tennessee State University community.”

Allen is also looking to expand the university’s athletic offerings between 2025 and 2028 to encompass baseball, women’s soccer, and women’s swimming and diving. Allen is excited about what Abercrombie represents for the university’s hockey program and the university at large.

“Today is a historic moment for Tennessee State University Athletics, as we welcome our first-ever hockey head coach,” Allen said in the press release. “With Duanté’s extensive experience in player development and coaching, I’m confident in his ability to build a reputable program, along inspire our student-athletes to excel both on-and-off the ice. We’re excited to embark on this groundbreaking journey together!”

RELATED CONTENT: Aced It! Tennis Phenom Sydney Brantley Signs With Tennessee State University