“Most casual fans of Zips football probably didn’t even realize it, but head coach J.D. Brookhart announced last week the hiring of two proven head coaches in Shane Montgomery and Walt Harris to his coaching staff for the 2009 season. With little fanfare and the dissemination of a simple news release, the Zips instantly added 17 years of head coaching experience and gobs of instant credibility to the coaching staff that will roam the newly laid sideline of InfoCision Stadium next year.””
Most casual fans of Zips football probably didn’t even realize it, but head coach J.D. Brookhart announced last week the hiring of two proven head coaches in Shane Montgomery and Walt Harris to his coaching staff for the 2009 season.
With little fanfare and the dissemination of a simple news release, the Zips instantly added 17 years of head coaching experience and gobs of instant credibility to the coaching staff that will roam the newly laid sideline of InfoCision Stadium next year.
Both men have mentored some of the game’s greatest stars. Montgomery mentored two-time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger, serving as offensive coordinator during the star quarterback’s time in Oxford, Ohio. Harris has mentored a litany of college and professional stars in a career that began as a high school football coach in 1970 and has seen him work at all levels of the game.
The coaches’ connections with successful players are not what impress me about the new hires. After all, most former college head coaches can find a successful pupil to which to attach their name.
What impresses me about the new coaches is that both are familiar with the team’s personnel and schemes.
As the former head coach of Miami University, Montgomery is not only familiar with the Zips, but also the rest of the Mid-American Conference. Winning the MAC East twice and the MAC Championship in 2007 during his four years at the helm of the RedHawks, he should be able to help the Zips in their quest to return to the top of the conference as UA’s offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.
While Harris has no prior coaching experience in the MAC, it has been widely reported that the veteran coach was a spectator at more than one Zips’ practice while out of coaching last season. Harris also has a close working relationship with Brookhart, as the UA head coach served as an assistant under Harris for four seasons at the University of Pittsburgh before coming to Akron. Harris will now serve as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator under Brookhart. His experience will not only prove valuable on the field, but on the recruiting trail.
Brookhart praised the past achievements of both coaches.
I always had great respect for Shane’s offenses, Brookhart said of Montgomery in the release. His teams have been extremely explosive and he is exciting to watch running the show. He really manipulates the game really well and I look forward to him calling the shots.
The praise for his mentor revolved around his preparation.
Walt is the most detail-oriented and best prepared coaches with whom I have ever been associated, Brookhart said. We are very fortunate to have him come in and mentor those guys and refine our passing game.
The Zips will enter the 2009 season with the most decorated coaching staff in the MAC, only escalating the already-lofty expectations.
While the result of these hires won’t be known until after the conclusion of the inaugural season of InfoCision Stadium, there appears to be little downside to the hires and they add an element of excitement to the usually mundane routine of spring practices.
The Zips will begin spring practice March 3.
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