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ECU fires Montgomery as football coach before final game against NC State

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 — East Carolina University officials announced Thursday that head football coach Scottie Montgomery has been fired after a lackluster 9-26 record over the past three seasons.

The move comes two days before the Pirates face North Carolina State University in Raleigh in the season finale. Defensive coordinator David Blackwell will lead the 3-8 team for the game and during the upcoming recruiting period, officials said.

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“As much as we would have liked the outcome to be different, the progress of a program is ultimately measured by its competitiveness, win total and championships,” Chancellor Cecil Staton said in a statement. “It is our decision to move in a different direction with new leadership.”

“He cared deeply for his players, was an outstanding mentor and always focused on the word ‘student’ in student-athlete. We wish him all the best,” he said.

Montgomery has two years left on his contract, which includes a base annual salary of $400,000, plus additional compensation for promotions and broadcast obligations. The buyout clause in his contract is for the base salary only, which isn’t paid out of taxpayer funding.

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The Pirates posted a 4-20 mark in American Athletic Conference play under Montgomery, which included a pair of fourth-place finishes in the East Division in 2016 and 2017 and a fifth-place finish this year.

Montgomery previously spent three years on Duke University’s staff, the last two as the Blue Devils’ assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He also coached receivers at Duke, his alma mater, from 2006 to 2009. In between the Duke stints, he spent three seasons as wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

ECU is still searching for an athletics director, and that person will hire the next football coach, officials said.

Montgomery is the second area football coach to be fired in the last week. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill let coach Larry Fedora go on Sunday after seven seasons.

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