Just over a week after surprisingly firing coach Ruffin McNeill following 5-7 season, East Carolina is expected to name Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery as its new coach, according to FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman.
A former Duke player who played in the NFL as recently as 2005, Montgomery, 37, has quickly risen up the coaching ranks. He was Duke's wide receivers coach from 2006-2009, before jumping to the same position with the Pittsburgh Steelers for three years. He returned as the Blue Devils' wide receivers coach in 2013, before coming the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014.
Duke's offense has ranked 76th and 91st in the past two years, respectively, according to the S&P+ ratings. The Blue Devils ranked 84th and 79th, respectively, in yards per play.
This hire could be a tough sell in Greenville, where McNeill had a lot of support. He's two years removed from a 10-2 season — the Pirates' best season since 1991 — and he is a former player who helped lead the team to its first modern bowl game in 1978. The attitude around the fan base is summed up by SB Nation's Matt Brown:
So, ECU let go of a coach who dunked on local power-conference rivals, had ties to the university, was loved by nearly everybody and won a lot of football games. All because he had one bad season and didn't win the conference yet. What the hell are the Pirates thinking?
Much-maligned athletic director Jeff Compher apparently feels that ECU isn't getting the results it should get.
People like Ruffin a lot so they'll bash ECU but bottom line, Compher thinks he's got a top-3 AAC job and he wasn't getting those results.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 4, 2015
East Carolina does not have an agreement w/anyone to replace Ruffin McNeill. "Just trying to upgrade the program," source told @ESPN— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 4, 2015
Now that Montgomery is the replacement, he'll have to win over the fan base and, apparently, win pretty quickly on the field. He hasn't put together an outstanding resume as a coordinator, and now he'll have to do it as a first-time head coach.