December 14, 2015

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Scottie Montgomery has already helped do what once was seemingly thought impossible: Duke regularly receiving bowl invitations.

That success helped earn the 37-year-old his first head coaching job, putting him in charge of an East Carolina program that he says is in much better shape than those old Blue Devils teams.

''The one thing that I know about the process is that we were eventually going to be very successful (at Duke) because we're going to do everything right,'' Montgomery said Monday. ''This situation is totally different because some of the pieces are already in place, and (at Duke) we had to work to get it that way.''

The Duke offensive coordinator received a five-year contract worth $1 million annually plus incentives, athletic director Jeff Compher said.

Compher said Montgomery interviewed for the job last Thursday and effectively won it during a follow-up interview two days later. His hiring was announced Sunday night after a meeting of the school's board of trustees.

''I think he was destined to be a head coach,'' Compher said. ''These are people you want to get on their way up.''

There's little doubt Montgomery - a former receiver with the Blue Devils who served two stints on their coaching staff - will add a Duke flavor to a proud Pirates' program he described as having ''the best football culture in the state.''

Montgomery says Duke coach David Cutcliffe ''coached me to be a coach for the past 9-10 years.'' He says Cutcliffe encouraged him to try for the East Carolina job because ''he made it very clear to me that this place was a special place.''

He takes over for Ruffin McNeill, a popular former East Carolina player who was fired after the Pirates went 5-7 - their first losing season since 2011. They spent five weeks in the Top 25 in 2014 and went 10-3 the year before that.

That's a far better situation than Montgomery faced when he first got into coaching at Duke in 2006.

In his first year as an assistant to Ted Roof, the Blue Devils went winless for the fourth time in 11 years. Montgomery was the only assistant retained by Cutcliffe when he took over after the 2007 season.

After coaching the Pittsburgh Steelers' receivers from 2010-12, Montgomery came back to Duke in 2013 and was placed in charge of the offense a year later.

Duke averaged 32 points in his first season as the offensive coordinator and 30.5 points this season, while the Blue Devils (7-5) earned their fourth straight bowl berth.

That makes for a pretty busy next few weeks for Montgomery. In addition to getting familiar with his new school, he also plans to call Duke's offensive plays in the Pinstripe Bowl against Indiana on Dec. 26 at Yankee Stadium.

He says that's partly an attempt to generate some national buzz for the Pirates - and also because he feels a sense of duty to the Blue Devils.

''I am going to call plays for Duke, but I am going to be the head coach for East Carolina,'' he said. ''I'm just not going to sleep over the next 2-3 weeks. I'm going to work overtime. ... It shows you a loyalty to the guys that I just coached. I really owe it to them to finish what we started, and ... leave a place better than you found it. We're going to finish it the right way.''

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org

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