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Montgomery mastering living rooms

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ECU's coach Scottie Montgomery during ECU vs SMU at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, November 12

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, January 12, 2017

In his second year as a head coach, Scottie Montgomery is still ironing out some of the fine details of the job.

When it comes to selling East Carolina and its football team to potential recruits, however, Montgomery said success is made just as much by the name and reputation of the school as it is by him. Montgomery is trying to battle back from a rough 3-9 debut season with the Pirates, and a big part of the team’s future relies on his ability to land the best new players possible on the Feb. 1 National Signing Day.

The team still appears headed for a full complement of 25 signatures, but Montgomery and his staff are still in the throes of recruiting, including the head coach’s all-important in-home visits with potential players and their families. Perhaps every coach does things a little bit differently in accordance with his own personality, and ECU’s head man is no different in the living room, putting his no-nonsense, detail-driven ideals to work.

“You don’t walk into the room of a kid. You walk into the room of a family,” Montgomery said in his office on Wednesday afternoon. “You’ve got to have an appeal to every single person in there, and that’s what we do. We have the ability to do that because we’re backed by East Carolina. If I was walking in there with something else on my shirt, it would be a little bit harder, but the main thing that we do when we go into homes is we’re honest.”

It is no different than the ECU coach’s approach with his current players in that he unfailingly tells it like it is.

But Montgomery also said getting that all-important nod from a prospect is about much more than just the living room. Because of that, his in-home visits go far beyond a quiet hour spent in front of family portraits.

“I talk to everyone at the school and I want the parents to hear it,” he said of his visits to recruits’ hometowns, homes and high schools. “I talked to the guidance counselor. I talked to the custodian. I talked to the lunch lady. I talk to all these people, and this is what they said about your son. So as confused as you may be about who your son truly is because your son can play football, they are not, and neither am I.

“Usually when we get through that there are some eyebrows raised, but they also know at that point in time that I’m not going to sugarcoat anything that I give them.”

As tireless as Montgomery is, even he admits his daily grind last season of grueling days and nights and a scant amount of sleep is not a good thing. Energy drinks and early wake-up calls were a part of his daily routine, and he said this year probably needs to be different.

So from a personal standpoint, the coach said he is trying to adopt a strategy that will be at least slightly less taxing than his first season.

“I think this year I need to sleep more. I have to learn how to say no probably a little bit more to some of the things that pull on you, because we’re all better when we’re rested,” Montgomery said. “I feel great right now, probably sleeping six and a half hours a night, which is fantastic because we’re right in the middle of recruiting, so when I go into homes at 9:30 or 10 o’clock at night, I need to be great.”

It is the perfectionist in Montgomery that caused his frenetic first year.

The coach said his drive to make sure every detail of the team was covered is what left him frequently with a just a few hours of rest out of every 24.

“Last year, I just had to get a hand on every single situation,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I gave our kids every opportunity to be great players and great people, great students. And now I’ll know some of the staff better, and I’ll know some of the people in the building better and in the department better. I know (reporters) better. I know everyone better. So now I can really get to what I love doing most a little bit more and that is coaching kids.”

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 or follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

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