GREENVILLE, N.C. – Scottie Montgomery, who has played an integral role leading Duke and the Pittsburgh Steelers to divisional championships and postseason play, has been appointed head football coach at East Carolina University according to an announcement Sunday by director of athletics Jeff Compher.
Montgomery, a North Carolina native with a documented history of balanced success on the offensive side of the ball, will be formally introduced as the Pirates’ 21st head coach at a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Monday and begin his official duties at ECU on Jan. 1.
His acceptance of the East Carolina position officially ends a two-year tenure as the Blue Devils’ associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Overall, Montgomery has served on the Duke staff for seven seasons under head coaches Ted Roof (2006-07) and David Cutcliffe (2008-09, 2013-15) – five as receivers coach. He has helped guide Duke to three-straight bowl appearances, including an upcoming matchup against Indiana in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 26.
Montgomery’s coaching experience in the National Football League spanned three seasons under Mike Tomlin’s leadership. His work with the Steelers’ receivers in 2010, 2011 and 2012 resulted in two playoff appearances, the 2010 AFC North Division championship and a spot in Super Bowl XLV.
“Ten days ago I said that I was looking for someone who will be a fierce competitor, who will lead our football program to championships, while equally demanding academic success. As we worked through the entire search process, it became overwhelmingly clear that Scottie Montgomery possesses every attribute necessary to put our football program in a position to win championships and graduate our student-athletes,” Compher said. “His foundation is his family and his character is exhibited through his reputation built by his unparalleled work ethic and the truly special relationships he develops with his players and coaches.
“While there was great interest by many during our search, the only offer we extended was based on Scottie’s success, vision and desire to be a part of Pirate Nation. That made our decision a clear and resounding one.”
The 2015 campaign marked Montgomery’s second as both primary offensive play-caller and quarterbacks coach at Duke, a program in which he starred as an All-Atlantic Coast Conference wide receiver from 1996 to 1999. Tasked with grooming a new starting quarterback following the graduation of the school’s all-time winningest signal-caller and All-ACC selection Anthony Boone, Montgomery encouraged balance to a unit that continued to display a consistent level of production.
Behind protégé quarterback Thomas Sirk, the Blue Devils rank among the nation’s top 40 squads in rushing offense (143.4 ypg), passing offense (253.4) and total offense (431.3). Its 30.5 points-per-game clip and 5,176 yards of total offense marks the fourth-straight season Duke matched or eclipsed a 30.0 scoring average and surpassed the 5,000-yard milestone – a first in school history for both categories. The Blue Devils also stand third in the ACC and 30th at the FBS level with a 43.9 third-down conversion percentage and have suffered only seven interceptions all season, a number which currently stands 17th in the country.
Sirk is one of only four Power 5 quarterbacks to lead his team in both rushing and passing during his first full-time season orchestrating the Duke offense.
Montgomery was recognized for his efforts as a one of three finalists for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award earlier this month. In addition, he was listed by Athlon as one of “College Football’s 20 Best Coaches Under 40” – ranking among the top 13 coordinators in the country.
During his first year as offensive coordinator in 2014, Montgomery had oversight of an attack that tallied 421 points, the second-highest single-season total in program history. Only the 2013 squad, which Montgomery served as Duke’s wide receivers coach, owns a better point total. In addition to a 32.4 scoring average, the Blue Devil offense also racked up 5,178 yards of total offense on the way to a 9-4 overall record and an appearance in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Over Montgomery’s two-year stint as Duke’s offensive coordinator, the Blue Devils featured two All-America selections along the offensive line (guard Laken Tomlinson in 2014, center Matt Skura in 2015), the ACC’s all-time leader in pass receptions (Jamison Crowder) and record-setting running back Shaun Wilson, who, in 2014, rushed for a school single-game record 245 yards against Kansas and finished the season with the highest yards per rushing attempt average (7.67) in school history. In the 2015 NFL Draft, Tomlinson was selected in the first round by the Detroit Lions while Crowder was a fourth-round choice of the Washington Redskins. Crowder currently ranks third among rookies in pass receptions.
In 2013, Montgomery guided a Duke receiving unit that included Crowder, a first-team All-ACC pick, who set a conference single-season record with 108 pass receptions for 1,330 yards and eight touchdowns. The Blue Devils rolled to a 10-4 mark and captured the ACC’s Coastal Division championship with a 6-2 ledger before falling to Texas A&M in a 52-48 shootout at the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Duke stood 22nd and 23rd in the final USA Today/Coaches and Associated Press polls, respectively, while ranking 24th in the last BCS listing.
Montgomery helped the Steelers to a three-year regular season record of 32-16, mentoring receivers such Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. A four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Ward finished his career as the organization’s all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yardage (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Wallace earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2011 after catching 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns while Brown was the Steelers’ team MVP in 2011 after becoming the first player in NFL history to amass 1,000-plus yards both receiving and on kick returns.
During his earlier four-year coaching stay at Duke, Montgomery directed several of the finest pass-catchers in school and ACC history. Eron Riley was a two-time All-ACC selection in 2006-07 and caught 144 career passes for 2,413 yards and 22 touchdowns. Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon both were recruited to Duke by Montgomery out of Miami and enjoyed outstanding careers in Durham. A first-team All-ACC pick in 2009, Varner caught 207 passes for 2,660 yards from 2008-11, while Vernon, a three-time (2010-12) all-league selection, became the ACC’s career leader in both catches (283) and receiving yardage (3,749).
As a wide receiver for the Blue Devils from 1996 to 1999, Montgomery paced Duke in receiving three-straight seasons as a sophomore, junior and senior, and was a two-time winner of the program’s Carmen Falcone Award as the Most Valuable Player in 1998 and 1999. He became just the third player in school history to lead the team in receptions in three straight years and was only the sixth Blue Devil to earn multiple team MVP honors.
Montgomery closed his collegiate career with 171 catches for 2,379 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught 51 passes in both 1997 and 1999, and registered a career-high 60 receptions as a junior in 1998.
Montgomery’s name is etched into the Duke record book for longest plays with an 88-yard pass from Bobby Campbell against Vanderbilt in 1998 and a 99-yard kickoff return versus Wake Forest in 1999. Montgomery finished his career ranking among Duke’s all-time leaders in kickoff returns (63) and kickoff return yards (1,515) and all-purpose yardage (4,188).
During his senior campaign in 1999, Montgomery established the school standard for all-purpose yards in a season with 1,565 and he still holds two of Duke’s top single-game totals for all-purpose yardage with 262 versus Vanderbilt in 1998 and 250 against Virginia in 1999. In the Vanderbilt contest, he registered 243 receiving yards, a total that at the time, marked the fourth-highest single-game performance in school history.
He played professionally with the NFL’s Denver Broncos (2000-02) and Oakland Raiders (2003).
Montgomery, 37, was born in Shelby, N.C., and graduated from Burns High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Duke in 2000.
He is married to the former Ebony McDuffie of Detroit, Mich., and the couple has three sons – Cassius (6), Moses (2) and Mangus (8 months).