GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Scottie Montgomery was introduced Monday as East Carolina University’s new head football coach.
Director of Athletics Jeff Compher introduced Montgomery at a morning news conference at the Murphy Center on campus, presenting Montgomery with a No. 1 jersey, alongside East Carolina chancellor Steve Ballard. Montgomery is the 21st head coach of the Pirate football program.
Montgomery, who joins ECU from Duke, will remain with the Blue Devils through their bowl game, the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. He takes over the Pirate football program, officially, on January 1st, 2016.
“ECU has the best football culture in the state, possibly in the entire country,” said Montgomery.
ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher Introduction:
“This is an exciting day for Pirate athletics and Pirate Nation. Football is the engine that drives and pulls our athletics train. This is the message I give our coaches and team before we start fall practice each year. For most university athletics programs that statement is true, but here at ECU it is an understatement.
“At East Carolina, football truly matters. Football defines our history and sets the course for our future. It also defines all of our athletic teams and the chip on our shoulder exhibited by not only our players but also anyone associated with our university. Football can both unite and divide us. Football stirs our emotions throughout the year, especially on gameday. It embodies the passion that describes ECU.
“Eleven days ago I set out to find the next leader of our football program knowing full well that the passionate eyes of Pirate Nation were watching. I did not enter into this crucial task alone as I had the help and support of many people. Several of those people are in this room today.
“Chancellor [Steve] Ballard helped me and trusted me to find the right fit for this university. Our board of trustees chairman Steve Jones also provided a great deal of help and many members of the board reached out to me during this process. I also want to thank my executive team who worked tirelessly to assist me through the search but also prepare for the new coach’s arrival and transition.
“Additionally, I want to thank Todd Turner and the many fine folks at Collegiate Sports Associates for making this a timely, thorough and professional search as well as the members of the interview committee who took a full day out of their busy schedules during a busy time of year to sit and speak with our final candidates. I would also like to express my appreciation to our university administrative team and the good folks with our human resources department, especially our university attorney Donna Gooden Payne, as we rallied together during the weekend and fast tracked the details to make today happen. I also want to thank my wife Cathy and my family who have shown great support and confidence in me throughout this search.
“Finally, I want to thank the current members of our team – specifically the ones who took the time to meet with me a week ago. These 18 men sat in my conference room and shared their emotional thoughts with me regarding what it will take to move forward. I left that meeting knowing we have 18 leaders who care about each other and the team and were committed to finishing what they started. They want to win and win right away.
“The process to find the next coach was gratifying because the interest in becoming East Carolina’s next head football coach was extremely high. We heard from coaches at every level who wanted to lead the Pirates. The search narrowed over the past week with face to face and phone interviews with those candidates interested and qualified to be our next head coach. However, I knew it would take someone very special to lead our program.
“Those qualities we looked for in our next head coach were developed by me and the many people with whom I met prior to the start of the interview process. Some of the most valuable feedback, however, came from those student-athletes with which I met in that meeting I described that took place one week ago.
“They told me they wanted someone who would continue the family atmosphere and build on the positives that already exist; someone who could run a similar type of offense and defense; someone who was smart, organized and experienced; someone who would enforce leadership and discipline within the team; someone who will have an individual relationship with the players and understand this is an emotional time; someone who wants to be at ECU; someone who is a great recruiter and will hire a great staff. In the end, they said go hire the right guy and I could not agree more with them.”
“At one point in speaking with the interview team, one of them said ‘We are looking for Superman.’ I guess that is about right. We are looking for Superman. We are because football matters at ECU. As I look at our next coach, I don’t see a cape or an “S” on his chest, but I do see a man that meets and exceeds the qualities we are looking for in our next football coach. I offered one person the job and he is the right fit for ECU. We are fortunate that he accepted our offer.
“Scottie Montgomery represents the good in the game of football. He has coached and played at the highest levels and has risen quickly in the world of Division I football. He is a North Carolina native who excelled as an offensive player at Duke where he was also the play-caller and offensive coordinator. He has coached in conference championship games as well as the Super Bowl. He has outstanding mentors who he can call on for advice.
“Without stealing his thunder, he is a family man first. Cathy and I were fortunate enough to drive to his home and offer him the job. During the visit, we had the opportunity to meet his wife Ebony and their three boys. Rest assured, we are getting more than just a head football coach. We are getting an extraordinary family.
“He is committed to education and the balance necessary to be a collegiate football player and student-athlete. He is a family man because he comes from a great family. He understands what it is like to play at Dowdy-Ficklen [Stadium]. As a member of a visiting team he experienced that and, according to him, it did not work out too well.
“He knows this great state of North Carolina because he is from here. He has recruited throughout the state and has built lasting relationships with high school coaches who respect him. He is a man who is organized and ready to lead our football program.
“He is an exciting leader who will take us to championships and celebrate with our student-athletes and their families. He did an outstanding job at our meeting with the players this morning.”
“I could not be more excited to introduce the 21st head coach of the East Carolina football program – Scotty Montgomery.”
Coach Scottie Montgomery’s Opening Statement:
“I am going to start by saying ‘Wow’ because this here is a wow factor. Pirate Nation is the real deal. I could not be happier than to be in Greenville, North Carolina this morning.”
“I want to thank the entire university, Chancellor Ballard, the board of trustees and Jeff [Compher]. I appreciate the process. The process was real, clearly communicated and I had the chance to sit and speak with some of the best people in the world.
“What is most important to me is my family and you all will see that as we get this thing rolling along. I walked into a house at Duke University and met the most beautiful person I had ever seen – my wife, Ebony. She is fantastic. Not only did I outkick my coverage but she is also an attorney so I never win an argument at the house. My family means the entire world to me. I have been truly blessed. The one thing that is keeping this moment from being entirely perfect is the fact that my mother and father are not here. They have passed on but I believe I was raised by two of the greatest people in the history of the state of North Carolina. They understood education and sacrifice. Now that I am a parent and a husband, I understand that. I want to uphold the name Montgomery to the utmost.
“Next, I would like to thank the men that guided and mentored me along the way. Ron Green was the first coach I ever had in football. He was my high school coach and taught me that you a business a certain way. Everything has its place and is organized. He painted the field, cut the grass and even took us home at the end of the evening if we did not have a ride. He was big time and I love him for that.
“I would say the next person who is important to me is Ted Roof. He gave me my first coaching job and I appreciate him for that.
“I owe a lot to David Cutcliffe at Duke University because he believed in me as a young coach. When I was 27 or 28 years old, he said to me ‘You are going to be a head coach.’ I was more worried about him yelling at me during practice but he began to mentor me and put me in a situation to where I could be tutored by the greatest coacher of coaches I have met.
“Mike Tomlin could relay and articulate an idea to our players like no one else. He gave me the confidence to tell my players not what they want to hear, but to help them become the best players and men they can be.
“Last, I have to give Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians a lot of love. I got a call from him this morning telling me how proud he was. I learned organization of a football club, specifically offense, from him. We would go to dinner and I would write everything he said down on napkins and take those with me.
“Getting down to business, we want to win and win championships now. The first order of business is recruiting. I am not talking about recruiting the state of North Carolina, South Carolina or Georgia. I am talking about recruiting our building. The most important thing to me over the next two or three weeks are the men that are already playing for us. We are going to recruit them like they have never been recruited before.
“I told them this morning that there are two languages I understand. Those are character and production. The first aspect that I am going to focus on is their academic production. When they leave Greenville and ECU, I want them to have a degree and an education. I want Pirate Nation to see the very best that we can produce. I want the nation to see what we can produce from an educational standpoint. In terms of the other aspect, if they want me to show them love and talk to them a little more each day, they need to produce on the field. Its plain and simple – come to work every day. Don’t complain. Don’t look for excuses. Find solutions. If that happens, we will be fine. Everyone needs to understand the players are absolutely first to me. They go out there and sweat and bleed. Football is the one game where one small mistake can cost so much from an injury standpoint. There is a lot of stress and pressure that comes with that so I am very appreciative of our players.
“Pirate Nation has navigated through some tough and rocky waters but it is starting to settle. Our ship is docked right now. I want us all, including myself, to row in the same direction. Our goal is to put the best product we can on the field next year. We will be ready to do that.
“I am very happy to be here and love everyone in Pirate Nation. ECU has the best football culture in the state and possibly the entire country. Coming down here on the opposing team in 1999, we spent too much time looking at tape. What we did not know is what we couldn’t see on that tape. We got intimidated even walking through the parking lot. When I get on the field, I will be looking right into the Boneyard [student section]. I want people to be scared to look down there. When I played in the NFL and we went to Oakland, they had a section called the ‘Black Hole’ and our players wouldn’t even look that way. When we move from the third to fourth quarter, our team will show ‘No Quarter.’ We are going to work as hard as we can for all four quarters to put the best product on the field. I can’t wait for the fall season to start, but I understand that we have to live in the moment and understand the now. The now is that we are going to work hard to put together a staff that works hard and exhibits tremendous character.”
On The Challenges As A First-Year Head Coach And Hiring A Staff:
“We have started the process but you do not know who you will finish with. I can’t quite speak to who will end up on that staff. One of the biggest challenges of being a head coach is managing your time. I found that out when Pirate Nation came alive yesterday. I had friends who went to East Carolina I had not spoken to in a while call me yesterday so time management is definitely the biggest thing right now.”
On Finding Out About The Job Opening And Assessing Interest In The Position:
“I was out recruiting when I was told the job came open. As a recruiter on the road, you are locked into what you are doing at that moment. I believe I was in the western part of the state and had no idea the job was available. I was thrilled and excited to be among the other names considered for the position.”
On Knowing When You Were Ready To Be A Head Coach:
“I have always been the guy that has had to work a little harder, do more, put myself in the right position at the right time and exceed expectations when the time came. I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school so that put a chip on my shoulder early. When I got around coaches, I wanted to make sure they knew I was there for one reason only, which was to get better every single day. That has not changed. I don’t think there is one head coach in the National Football League or even collegiate ranks that would say they are ready to be a head coach because it is a continual learning process. The thing I like about it is being right there in the middle of everything and being very hands on. I have built a great index of support I can turn to in order to fix a situation before it even starts.”
On Remaining Responsibilities At Duke And How That Affects East Carolina:
“I am taking the entire Pirate Nation with me to New York City. I will call plays for Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl but I will also try to get as much publicity for East Carolina as I can while up there. I am the head football coach at ECU. I guess I will just not sleep as much over the next two weeks. I want to work as hard as I can for my team but stay loyal to the guys I have coached over the last year. I owe it to them to finish what we started. I talk to my children all the time about leaving a place better than you found it. We are going to work our tails off to make sure everything in Greenville is the way it should be.”
On The Timing Of The Search Process:
“It has been a blur. There has been so much going on in the landscape of college football. The first time I got excited about becoming a part of Pirate Nation was when I spoke with Jeff [Compher]. I knew that the same passion with which he spoke could continue to be molded into the greatest football culture in the state of North Carolina. I knew that could help propel us past some of the people who thought they were ahead of us in that aspect. That passion is unique and I really thought that this could be the place for me. What remained to be seen was if I was right for ECU.”
On Bringing In A Coordinator To Run The Offense:
“I am going to be a head football coach. I will have a lot of influence on the plays that we call, but I will not call the plays exclusively. I am going to bring in a coordinator I know and trust. I will let him do his job. It is important for me to be the CEO of the program and it is beneficial to let play-callers be play-callers.”
On David Cutcliffe’s Advice:
“There are not many things we do not talk about. He called me and we spoke about the situation. He was happy to help in any way he could. He made it very clear that [ECU] was a special place and he did not want me to be the guy constantly searching for other jobs. I value his opinion highly and he has coached me to be a head coach over the last nine or 10 years. He told me that this was a fantastic opportunity and we went from there.”
On The Player’s Response To His Hiring:
“The most anticipation I’ve had outside of the birth of my children and playing in the Super Bowl was this morning. It had nothing to do with the press conference part of things. It all had to do with meeting the players. I have been through a situation exactly like what happened to them. In 1999, going into my senior year at Duke, I lost my coach. This morning’s meeting was forthright, to the point and consistent. I think they respect that. I saw some of these guys back during the recruiting process and Coach [Connors] has done a great job with them in the weight room. They look like men now. I am glad we never had to play against them. I am 100 percent with them and look forward to learning a lot about what matters to them. We will have not only football meetings, but meetings about life. Winning is an all-encompassing thing – on and off the field.”
On Personnel And Schemes:
“We want to concentrate on fitting our schemes offensively and defensively to our personnel. There will be some differences in what you have seen but what we do schematically will be closely connected to what we have here already. We want to put our players in a position to succeed without changing to much of what they are built to do.”
On Training The Quarterbacks Currently On The Roster:
“I am going to lean a lot on the training I received at Duke. There is a consistency in the way we develop our players. We were able to bring in Peyton and Eli [Manning], Antonio [Brown] and Emmanuel [Sanders] to work with our kids in Durham. You have to develop a quarterback in two ways – from the neck up and the neck down. No matter who came through our system at Duke, we were able to get production. I know what we have here and I want to bring those talents to the forefront. I am looking forward to watching tape of not only our quarterbacks but some of the skill guys as well.”
On What He Knows About The Current Roster:
“The guys we have here are already good. They do not need me to tell them that. We have a good football club. I know that we can throw the football, run the football and stop the run. We will of course miss Zeke [Bigger] and Montese [Overton] but I know our guys we have now have the passion and will to win. Aside from our talent, I am also learning about the tradition we have here. Someone is introducing me to something new about East Carolina every day. I am excited about what we can do here.”