In 2016 Pirate Nation has already said their goodbyes to 6 year head coach Ruffin McNeil and welcomed in Scottie Montgomery as the new leader of the ship.
The decision to fire Coach Ruff was made public towards the end of last year and took the unpopular vote among players and fans. #FreeRuff was the trending hash tag on twitter and people used every social media platform to express their deep disappointment on the decision.
It was a very emotional time being as I know Ruff personally. I knew how much he meant to the players after seeing their posts with personal pictures with him and their heartfelt captions.
There was even a petition to get Ruff back as Head Coach with over 3,000 signatures.
Athletic director Jeff Compher was the one who pushed the button on the firing of Ruff, he certainly took some heat from just about everyone in the city of Greenville and there were even some tense moments between he and the players when he held a team meeting (the ones who even showed up). It was tense because they found out they would no longer be under Ruff through text message. It was said from a little birdie that one of the players made a comment, “would you break up with your girlfriend over text?” Ouch.
After the band-aid was so suddenly ripped off , 10 days later there was the big announcement of a new Head Coach in town, Scottie Montgomery.
Montgomery is a young coach from Duke where he was the offensive coordinator, and he was previously the wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Prior to his coaching career, Montgomery played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raider. Not too shabby.
If he can win games this season like he won over his first press conference, then the Pirates will surely have a future and hopefully great season. Montgomery made it clear he understands and can feel the passion of Pirate Nation and the love for Coach Ruff and though it won’t be easy, he hopes he can win over this Purple and Gold community.
As a husband and a father of 3, family is a very important value in his life. East Carolina University also holds great value to him, so I think if he can just be a wholesome good genuine man as Ruff was Pirate fans will begin to open their arms to the new, uncertain change.
There is nothing like Pirate Nation and though Ruff will always be in our hearts we will stand together through this change and remain loyal to purple and gold no matter what and we look forward to what the 2016 season has in store!