East Carolina hired Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery to be its new head football coach, the school announced Sunday night. Montgomery, 37, has been Duke’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past two years. He will coach the Blue Devils in their Dec. 26 Pinstripe Bowl date against Indiana.
“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,” ECU director of athletics Jeff Compher said in a release. “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.”
Montgomery was Duke’s wide receivers coach in 2013 before his promotion to offensive coordinator for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Prior to that, he spent three years as the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach. His coaching career started at Duke, his alma mater, under Ted Roof in 2006. He was the only Roof assistant retained when Cutcliffe took over for the 2008 season. Montgomery is a North Carolina native, hailing from Cherryville, in Gaston County.
Montgomery took over the Blue Devils offense after the program’s most successful season on record. In 2013, the offense averaged 426.1 yards 32.8 points per game under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who left for the same position at Florida. The results: a 10-4 record and a Coastal Division Championship.
Under Montgomery in 2014, with the same quarterback (Anthony Boone) and star wide receiver (Jamison Crowder) and largely the same supporting cast, those averages dipped to 398.3 yards and 32.4 points per game, producing a 9-4 record. In 2015, Duke averaged 431.3 yards and 30.5 points per game and finished 7-5.
Duke’s passing game has become less effective since Roper left, going from an average of 7.4 yards per attempt in 2013 to 6.0 in 2014 and then 6.5 this season. Roper recently joined the staff of new South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, his former boss at Florida.
Montgomery has huge shoes to fill at ECU, where former head coach (and alum) Ruffin McNeill won 10 games in 2013. He was also 3-0 against the ACC in the past two years, beating Virginia Tech twice and North Carolina once. In the same span, Duke finished 1-3 against the Hokies and Tar Heels.