The last time Delaware Hayes had an open head coaching position for its football program, it went with an external hire.
The time before that was an external hire as well. Ditto for the time before that, too.
In fact, of all the football coaches Hayes has hired since 1960, just two have been of the internal variety. The first was in 1985 and the second, well, the second was just announced this week as Ryan Montgomery, an assistant with the Pacers for each of the past 10 seasons, will take over the reigns as the new head coach.
“I’m sitting on cloud nine a little bit right now,” Montgomery, who has been Hayes’ defensive coordinator for each of the past four seasons, said. “I’m excited. I’m eager. I’m truly grateful to the administration here at Delaware Hayes for entrusting me to take over the very coveted job of head football coach. I’m pretty pumped … I’m ready to go.”
For a program which has struggled to find stability, Montgomery — a guy who Hayes athletics director Steve Glesenkamp said basically lives at the school no matter the season — was the perfect fit. He’s familiar with the players and the players are familiar with him.
“You always have candidates from the outside when you do searches,” Glesenkamp said. “But we felt we had some candidates that have been assistants here who were qualified for the job.
“At the end of the day, when we met with players and gathered feedback, Ryan rose to the top as the internal candidate that we were comfortable with to lead our football program moving forward.”
Part of that, Glesenkamp said, stemmed from the fact Montgomery is already a head coach at Hayes as he’s led the baseball team since the spring of 2014.
“The young man has been around and he’s been shaping his mojo,” Glesenkamp said. “He has head coaching experience. That’s invaluable. Even though it’s not in football, when you’re a head coach you have a leg up because you’ve been there, done that. You know what it takes to run a program. That is certainly something we thought was important as well.”
Having played at Olentangy Liberty and Wittenberg before landing in Delaware, Montgomery has learned how to run a program from some of the best over the years.
He was a first team All-OCC and All-State performer at free safety and receiver for Steve Hale and the OCC-champion Patriots back in 2004. He then went on to play collegiately for Joe Fincham and the Tigers before serving as an assistant for Hayes coaches Mike LoParo (now with Hilliard Bradley), Zebb Schroeder (now with Olentangy Orange), Mike Golden and Scott Wetzel.
“Going back to my playing days (as part of the first graduating class at Olentangy Liberty), I had a unique opportunity to create culture and build a program,” Montgomery said. “I got to see firsthand what Steve Hale did and has built through the lessons he taught to his players. Same with Joe Fincham at Wittenberg. Football goes beyond the field. I’m trying to create leaders in the classroom and in the community, and when we do that we’re gonna have success on the field.
“The lessons I’ve learned from those guys — and Scott, Zebb and Mike Golden — I’m going to try and take some of those lessons and grow these young men into great adults.
As far as what the Pacers will look like on the field, Montgomery said look for an aggressive group next fall.
“That’s the mentality I have as a coach,” he said. “I’m highly energetic. I like to get the guys revved up and motivated for games and that’s the way we’re going to approach our offense and defense … with high energy.”