Football Coaching Staff
Associate Head Coach - Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Ron Middleton joined the Duke staff in January of 2008 and serves as associate head coach and special teams coordinator while coaching the tight ends.
Under Middleton’s tutelage, Duke’s special teams play reached new heights in 2012 as both kicker Ross Martin and punter Will Monday received first team Freshman All-America honors. Martin set a school single-season record with 106 total points while Monday led the ACC in punting average at 44.6 yards per kick. At tight end, Middleton directed Issac Blakeney and David Reeves — both playing for the first time in their college careers — and the pair combined for 50 receptions for 412 yards and four touchdowns.
Duke tight end Cooper Helfet twice earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2010 and 2011. In two seasons at Duke, Helfet caught 77 passes for 775 yards and six touchdowns. Duke also has achieved success in the kicking game under Middleton as Will Snyderwine was a first team All-American in 2010 after making a school single-season record 21 field goals.
In the three-year span from 2010-12, the Blue Devils recovered an ACC-best eight on-side kicks while ranking among the top four in kickoff coverage all three seasons. In addition, Duke was second in the ACC in punt return average in 2012 and scored two touchdowns.
Middleton spent one season (2007) on the staff at Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide to a 7-6 overall record and 30-24 victory over Colorado in the Independence Bowl. Under Middleton’s direction, Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin totaled 111 points with a school single-season record 25 field goals. In addition, Javier Arenas ranked among the SEC’s top 10 in both kickoff and punt return average while tight end Nick Walker caught 23 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
The former Auburn letterman and 10-year NFL veteran served three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under head coach Jon Gruden. Middleton coached the tight ends and assisted with special teams and helped Tampa Bay to the 2005 NFC South Division championship.
Middleton spent five seasons (1999-03) on the coaching staff at Mississippi working alongside Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. While with the Rebels, Middleton coached the tight ends for three years (1999-01) and running backs for two campaigns (2002-03) and served as the special teams coordinator. Ole Miss participated in four bowl games during Middleton’s tenure, and the Atmore, Ala., native mentored kicker Jonathan Nichols, who set 15 school records, earned All-SEC honors and captured the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top placekicker in 2003. That season, Nichols booted 24-of-28 field goal attempts and all 45 of his PAT tries en route to scoring an Ole Miss single-season record 117 points.
Also in 2003, Mississippi punter Cody Ridgeway garnered second team All-SEC accolades while the Rebels paced the league in net punting, kickoff returns, field goals and PAT kicking.
Middleton spent two years (1997-98) at Troy, coaching the tight ends, offensive tackles and assisting with special teams. He also spent time in private business, serving as vice president of American Communications.
A four-year letterwinning tight end at Auburn from 1982-85, Middleton helped the Tigers to a four-year ledger of 37-12 with four bowl games that produced three victories. In 1983, Auburn posted an 11-1 record, won the SEC title and defeated Michigan, 9-7, in the Sugar Bowl. Middleton earned a degree in pre-law/history from Auburn in 1988 and later received a master’s degree in sports and fitness management from Troy in 1998.
Middleton’s professional playing career spanned 10 seasons with five organizations. Undrafted out of Auburn, he played two years (1986-87) with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the Washington Redskins for the 1988 campaign. Following one season (1989) with the Cleveland Browns, Middleton returned to the Redskins for a four-year tenure that included a 37-24 victory over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI. He finished his career playing single campaigns with the Los Angeles Rams (1994) and San Diego Chargers (1995).
Middleton, who was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp coaching staff in 2003 as a part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program, was selected by Gruden in 2006 to attend the NFL’s Coaches Career Development Symposium. In addition, Middleton joined with other Tampa Bay coaches to host the 2004 High School Coaching Academy, a one-day clinic designed to elevate the quality of football coaching at the prep level.
Middleton has three children: Desmond, Ron II and Zaria.