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Pirates practice as BOT meeting looms

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East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery looks over to defensive coordinator David Blackwell, front, during their game against North Carolina on Sept. 8, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

As East Carolina’s Board of Trustees is set to meet Wednesday afternoon for a special called meeting in closed session, intrigue is centered around Scottie Montgomery’s status as ECU’s football coach and the Pirates’ vacant athletics director position.

An ECU campus official would not comment on the specifics to be discussed at the meeting, but it is believed to be a meeting related to athletics.

Montgomery, who has a 9-26 career record heading into Saturday’s matchup at N.C. State for the Pirates’ final game of Montgomery’s third season, was asked after Tuesday’s practice if he had any insight or thoughts about the BOT meeting.

“I don’t have any thoughts on it,” he said.

The Pirates have been without an AD since Jeff Compher’s ouster in March. Dave Hart, special athletics adviser to Chancellor Cecil Staton, is leading the Pirates’ search for a new athletics director.

Southern Miss AD Jon Gilbert remains a leading candidate for the position, according to sources. He worked under Hart at Alabama and Tennessee before taking over as the Golden Eagles’ director in January of 2017.

Another AD at a similar school is Rick Hart, who is the son of Dave Hart and has been SMU’s athletics director since July of 2012. SMU and ECU both are members of the American Athletic Conference.

The long-term outlook of the football program is tied to the athletics director position in many ways. There is plenty of uncertainty and opinions from fans about whether or not Montgomery should remain with the Pirates beyond Saturday’s noon kickoff in Raleigh.

“It’s part of Division I football,” offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and have been on a staff where the head coach has been let go or the head coach took another job, and really you can’t do anything until something has been done. … If someday they come in and say I have to go find another place to work, then that’s what I’ll do.

“Right now, I am a Pirate and am here and ready to go play a good game on Saturday. That’s all you can do as an assistant coach.”

Players also were asked Tuesday about potential distractions they face this week.

“We are just focusing on this week,” starting quarterback Holton Ahlers said. “They are our coaches for this week and (Montgomery) is our coach for this week. All we are worried about right now is beating N.C. State.”

Offensive lineman Garrett McGhin added that motivation for the seniors for the Pirates (3-8) is mainly about ending their careers with an upset of the Wolfpack (8-3).

“It would mean everything because this season didn’t really go the way we expected, but beating N.C. State at their house would be a pretty good feeling,” McGhin said. “Going out with a win and leaving that lasting taste in my mouth would be pretty cool.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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