DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke football standout and assistant coach Scottie Montgomery will return to his alma mater to serve as the program’s Associate Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator/Passing Game while coaching the Blue Devil wide receivers, head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Monday.
Montgomery, who starred as an All-ACC wideout at Duke from 1996-99, re-joins the Duke program after serving the last three seasons (2010-11-12) as an assistant coach with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cleveland County, N.C., native spent four seasons (2006-07-08-09) on the Blue Devil staff under head coaches Ted Roof and Cutcliffe.
“When myself and Kurt Roper and the offensive staff got together and looked at the possibilities across the country to replace two coaches, we started in one place,” Cutcliffe said. “We wanted to hire the best football coach that we could hire and who we thought was the best football coach in America. That came to Scottie Montgomery – it started there; nowhere else.”
Coaching the wide receivers, Montgomery helped the Steelers to a three-year regular season record of 32-16 including the 2010 AFC North division championship and an appearance in the Super Bowl XLV, where Pittsburgh fell to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25. The Steelers also reached the playoffs in 2011. Among the wideouts mentored by Montgomery were Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. A four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Ward finished his career as the organization’s all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yardage (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Wallace earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2011 after catching 72 passes for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns while Brown was the Steelers’ team MVP in 2011 after becoming the first player in NFL history to amass 1,000-plus yards both receiving and on kick returns.
“I am extremely happy to be at Duke University,” Montgomery said. “We have the best football program in college football because of, first and foremost, David Cutcliffe. And when I had the ability to come back and work for him, it made things a lot easier than a lot of people might think.
“When I went to Pittsburgh, my ideal was to become a better coach,” Montgomery continued. “When I came back to Duke, it’s the same deal – I came back to be a better coach. Not only are our players striving for excellence, but one of the things Coach (Cutcliffe) has always pushed on me is that ambition would drive us to another level. And my ambition is to become a better coach, and that’s why I’m here.”
During his four-year coaching tenure at Duke, Montgomery mentored several of the finest wide receivers in school and ACC history. Eron Riley was a two-time All-ACC selection in 2006-07 and ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in receptions (9th; 144), receiving yards (4th; 2,413), yards per reception (4th; 16.77) and touchdown receptions (3rd; 22). Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon both were recruited to Duke by Montgomery out of Miami and enjoyed outstanding careers in Durham. A first team All-ACC pick in 2009, Varner caught 207 passes for 2,660 yards from 2008-11 while Vernon, a three-time (2010-11-12) all-league selection, became the ACC’s career leader in both catches (283) and receiving yardage (3,749).
As a wide receiver for the Blue Devils from 1996-99, Montgomery paced Duke in receiving three straight seasons (1997-98-99) and twice earned the program’s Carmen Falcone Award (1998 & 1999) as the Most Valuable Player. He joins Howard Pitt (1951-52-53), Stan Crisson (1961-62-63) and Conner Vernon (2010-11-12) as the only Duke players to lead the program in receptions in three straight years and is one of just six two-time team MVPs in school history.
On Duke’s all-time pass receiving charts, Montgomery ranks fourth in receptions (171), sixth in receiving yards (2,379) and tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns (13). He caught 51 passes in both 1997 and 1999 and registered a career-high 60 receptions as a junior in 1998.
Montgomery’s name also is etched into the Duke record book for longest plays, ranking tied for third for pass completions with an 88-yard catch from Bobby Campbell against Vanderbilt in 1998 and fourth under kickoff returns with a 99-yard return versus Wake Forest in 1999. Montgomery ranks fifth on Duke’s all-time chart for both kickoff returns (63) and kickoff return yards (1,515), while his 4,188 career all-purpose yards rank as the fourth-highest total in school history.
During his senior campaign in 1999, he established the school standard for all-purpose yards in a season with 1,565 — a mark that was broken in 2001 when Chris Douglas amassed 1,849 yards. Montgomery continues to hold two of Duke’s top 12 single-game totals for all-purpose yardage with 262 versus Vanderbilt in 1998 (8th) and 250 against Virginia in 1999 (12th). In the Vanderbilt contest, he registered 243 receiving yards, a total that stands fourth on Duke’s chart for single-game performances.
Montgomery played professionally with the NFL’s Denver Broncos (2000-02) and Oakland Raiders (2003). He is married to the former Ebony McDuffie of Detroit, Mich., and the couple has one son, Cassius.
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