A Shelby, N.C., native, the 37-year-old Montgomery has held his positions at his alma mater the last two seasons. He returned for a second coaching stint with the Blue Devils in 2013 as wide receivers coach.
In September, Montgomery was blunt with The Inside Read about his coaching future. “I want to be a head coach,” Montgomery said.
Before his return to Duke, Montgomery was wide receivers coach for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010–12. During that time, he worked with then up-and-coming wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
Montgomery got his start in coaching as wide receivers coach at Duke from 2006–09. He was a star wide receiver for the Blue Devils from 1996–99 and later spent four seasons playing in the NFL, along with a season in the Arena Football League.
Montgomery had been viewed as potentially an eventual successor to current Duke coach David Cutcliffe. Montgomery’s offensive philosophy centers around the inside zone, which he learned while playing for the Denver Broncos from 2001–02.
He’s also added the zone read and exterior runs to his scheme. Under him, the Blue Devils are 40th this season in the FBS in total offense (431.3 yards per game).
Montgomery replaces popular former East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill, who was abruptly fired last week. It was an unpopular move by Pirates athletic director Jeff Compher, one that inspired an online petition to rehire McNeill that’s received more than 7,000 signatures.
An East Carolina alum, McNeill had a 42–34 record in his six seasons, including a 5–7 mark this season after losing starting quarterback Kurt Benkert to a season-ending injury in late August.
Fox first reported that Montgomery was set to be hired by East Carolina.