East Carolina

What fans, coaches, students are saying about ECU’s new and old football coaches

On Monday, East Carolina introduced Scottie Montgomery as its 21st football coach. Here’s what some had to say about the hiring of Montgomery and the firing of coach Ruffin McNeill:

“(Montgomery) seems like a very good guy. He was hyped up, juiced up about coming in and getting the team right. He seems ready to do what has to be done. He seems very down to Earth, like he’s got his head on and he knows what he’s doing. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do with the program.

“I talked to some of the other players and they seemed very happy. They seemed like they could get into him and it seemed like everybody was going to be able to get along with him and accept him just like family.”

Chris Hairston, ECU senior running back

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“It was heartbreaking. You can’t replace a Ruffin McNeill. It’s going be hard but you have to just keep moving on and continue where you left off and focus on the program. It was hard for everyone. Still is. But you just have to move on and do what you have to do.”

Hairston on McNeill’s firing

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“They chose (Montgomery) out of a lot of good prospects so he probably has a lot to offer ECU. It’s sad to lose a coach like Ruff, but maybe new coach will be help this team in the future.”

Shaunna Campbell, 22, public relations major at ECU

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“(Montgomery) is a good offensive coach and focused on the run. Maybe we’ll get in a bowl game this year.”

Ben Blackburn, 26, Pirates fan

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“I welcome him to Eastern North Carolina and hope he and his staff continues to recruit the state of N.C. as thoroughly as the previous staff.”

Asim McGill, football coach in Riverside High School in Williamston

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“I personally got to meet Ruff and he was a sweet man and I was sad to see him go, but I’m exciting to see what the future brings with ECU football and the new coach.”

Haley Bidgood, 18, health services management major at ECU

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“I heard a lot of great things about (McNeill) from the football players but I personally never got to meet him, but we can see what this new coach has to offer and give him a shot.”

Courtney Cash, 18, bio major at ECU

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“I was a little surprised at the timing (of McNeill’s firing). Like a lot of people I thought that he may (have deserved) another year, but I certainly understood the rational for making a change this year. I was excited about this year. Everything that I’ve read (about Montgomery) has been very impressive. He seems like a young, successful coach.”

L.W. Cox, ECU class of 1983

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