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College Bound: Montgomery challenges students to test their limits

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ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery addresses PCC students at the Goess Student Center on April 25, 2017.

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Sharieka Botex
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WINTERVILLE — East Carolina head football coach Scottie Montgomery on Tuesday encouraged a group of minority male high school students to challenge their limits and turn obstacles into opportunities.

Montgomery, entering his second year with the Pirates, was the keynote speaker for “College Bound, Here We Come 2017” in the Goess Student Center Multipurpose Room at Pitt Community College. The event brings minority males to PCC to get a glimpse of the college experience, said Jasmin Spain, assistant vice president of student development.

About 130 students are involved in the program this year.

“(We) paint a picture of what the school has to offer to get them engaged at an early stage and let them know they have the resources to be successful,” Spain said.

Montgomery told students to look at every obstacle as an opportunity.

“Every now and then I have to challenge my limits,” he said. “(I) wake up at 5 a.m. and ride that stationary bike for 40 minutes. Then I need to spend time with my wife that I haven’t been able to spend. ... That’s challenging my limits because I know at the end of the day, I am going to be stressed. I am going to be tired, fatigued, so every single day you need to add something.”

He encouraged students to be the best students they can be now and later aim to be the best spouses and fathers they can be. He said even the smallest things can make a huge difference.

“I eat great, I don’t eat bad, certain times of the year I eat vegan,” Montgomery said. “That’s challenging my limits ’cause I like pork, fried chicken, bacon, grits, all of that, but for about 22 days straight I don’t eat any of that, not milk, not cheese.

“When my coaches come in there with Bojangles’ and smack it on my desk, I won’t falter,” he said.

Montgomery also said having fun is a key ingredient to success. 

“Laughter is like a windshield wiper,” he said. “It doesn’t stop the rain. It just makes sure the rain doesn’t stop you.”

He then urged students to take advantage of opportunities and be resilient.

“The next four years is a weeding-out process for the weak,” he said. “... At 3:30 in the morning, you’re going to be four pages short on a paper that you have to do. Either you turn the paper in at 8:30 a.m. or you don’t turn the paper in. What’s your purpose?”

Montgomery said he overcame obstacles before becoming a standout player at Duke and then rising through the coaching ranks before landing his first head coaching job at ECU. He lost his father at a young age, then his mother later in life.

Family is foremost for him, he said, as he balances being a public figure and a father and husband.

Armani Moore, an 18-year-old senior at J.H. Rose High School who plans to attend Pitt Community College in the fall, said he thought Montgomery’s message was inspirational.

“It made me think about what I am going to do in life after I’m done with college,” said Moore, who would like to pursue a career in electrical engineering. “He wants us to try harder every day instead of not being able to grow as a person.”

Students also heard from Gen. James Gorham earlier this week. Spain said Montgomery and Gorham provide positive role models for young black males in Pitt County.

“Research shows that black males connect with those who look like them, so seeing images of success changes the narrative of black males that are given the negative stereotype,” she said.

Contact Sharieka Botex at 252-329-9567 and sbotex@reflector.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShariekaB. 

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