Brookhart hires new offensive coordinator

“Coaching is a fickle profession. One moment you’re the hottest coaching commodity and the next you’re on the proverbial hot seat and on the verge of being sent packing. On Nov. 29, a day after the Miami RedHawks football team finished the 2008 season with a 2-10 record, head coach Shane Montgomery knew his days in Oxford, Ohio, were numbered and resigned.”

Coaching is a fickle profession. One moment you’re the hottest coaching commodity and the next you’re on the proverbial hot seat and on the verge of being sent packing.

On Nov. 29, a day after the Miami RedHawks football team finished the 2008 season with a 2-10 record, head coach Shane Montgomery knew his days in Oxford, Ohio, were numbered and resigned.

Montgomery left town one year removed from taking the Mid-American Conference East school to the conference championship game, and after completing his eighth year in the program.

Shortly after his resignation, the ousted coach had preliminary conversations with Akron head coach J. D. Brookhart about the possibility of joining the Zips’ coaching staff and joining one of the RedHawks’ biggest rivals.

He (Coach Brookhart) knew he was going to have to hire at least couple of coaches, Montgomery said of the two’s initial conversation. There was some interest in me coming here, but at the same time, he wanted to see who all was leaving, because that was going to make a difference.

When offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead followed fellow assistant coaches Bill Bleil and Mike Dawson in taking similar positions at higher profile schools, Montgomery knew he’d likely be given the chance to fill the void.

When the position became open, I was very excited about it, Montgomery said. I was excited about it because of where this program is headed.

The 42-year-old coach said he didn’t know where he’d land after leaving Miami, but views coming to Akron and staying in the MAC as an ideal situation.

As a coach, you never know where your life’s going to take you, Montgomery said. I didn’t know if I’d end up in this conference, I really didn’t, but I think it worked out real well.

On a single day in February, Brookhart hired Montgomery as UA’s new offensive coordinator and veteran offensive mind Walt Harris as the team’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, giving the Zips the most decorated offensive staff in the league.

After completing spring practice, quarterback Chris Jacquemain said UA’s offense won’t be much different next season from the one it has run in recent years.

Schematically, it’s pretty much the same thing as last year, Jacquemain said. I think the biggest thing for us is just getting used to their coaching styles, and the things they’re correcting us on and the things they want us to do.

UA had the third-highest scoring offense in the MAC in 2008, averaging 30 points per contest.

Off the field, Montgomery will look to use the relationships he developed during his tenure at Miami while on the recruiting trail in Southwest Ohio.

That’s an area right now that’s hard to recruit, he said. Cincinnati’s doing a good job down there and a lot of MAC schools recruit down there.

There are a lot of good players on that side of the state.

One aspect of the new job that Montgomery’s glad he won’t have to draw upon his experience for is against his former team – at least initially.

For the second-straight year, the Zips and RedHawks won’t meet in 2009.

Obviously, all those guys I recruited, so it would’ve been really tough looking across the ball and seeing those guys, he said. I look forward to playing them in the future.

While the majority of attention this spring is focused on the head coaching experience of Montgomery, Harris and new linebackers coach Vince Okruch, Montgomery said he’s excited to narrow his focus and concentrate on calling UA’s offense.

Sometimes, when you don’t have as much success as you want, it’s good to get a change and get re-energized, Montgomery said. I’m excited about coaching a position again and coordinating again.