Tigers add to staff

Hugh Freeze adds Offensive, Defensive Coordinator
Hugh Freeze addresses Media during his introductory press conference
Hugh Freeze addresses Media during his introductory press conference(WAFF)
Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 11:09 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Philip Montgomery, who was the University of Tulsa head coach for the last eight seasons, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn, head coach Hugh Freeze announced Wednesday.

Considered one of the brightest offensive minds in college football, Montgomery also spent five years at the University of Houston and seven at Baylor University, helping with several high-powered offenses during his tenure at both schools.

A 20-year coaching veteran at the collegiate level, Montgomery has tutored several award-winning quarterbacks, including Big 12 Player of the Year Bryce Petty, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Baylor All-American Nick Florence, Conference USA MVP Kevin Kolb and Houston standout Case Keenum.

“Philip is one of the brightest offensive minds in college football and has had experience developing and coaching some great quarterbacks in the last 20 years, including a Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin III,” Freeze said. “He does a tremendous job schematically and has had success being multifaceted in both the running and passing games.  I’ve known Philip for a long time and am excited to finally work with him.”

In eight seasons as head coach at Tulsa, Montgomery led the program to four bowl games, including a 10-3 record in 2016 and back-to-back bowl appearances in 2020 and 2021. During his tenure, he coached 44 all-conference performers and three All-Americans.

The 2020 and 2021 seasons marked the first time since 1993 and ‘94 that a Tulsa coach has had back-to-back NFL draft picks and in 2020 he became the first coach in school history to defeat two Top 20 teams in the same season – No. 11 UCF and No. 19 SMU.

“I have been fortunate to work with several great offensive coaches in my career and can’t wait to work with another in Coach Freeze,” Montgomery said. “We want to bring an exciting, up-tempo offense back to Auburn. This is a tremendous football school with a history of some of the greatest talents to play the game. Our goal is to add to that tradition and help restore Auburn football to a championship caliber level.”

Montgomery’s 2021 team posted a 7-6 record against a schedule that featured four teams that finished the season among the final Associated Press Top 25 poll and ended the season by winning the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

In 2020, he led Tulsa to an undefeated 6-0 regular season conference record, an appearance in the AAC Championship Game against No. 6-ranked Cincinnati and a return to a bowl game.

Montgomery brought excitement back to Tulsa with his potent offensive style in his first year, transforming a previous two-win team into a squad that won six games in 2015 and led his first two teams to consecutive bowl game appearances.

In year one, Tulsa ranked among the nation’s leaders the entire season for passing, scoring and total offense, while appearing in the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl. Tulsa completed the 2015 season ranked 11th nationally in passing, 13th in total offense and 21st in scoring.

Montgomery’s second team took a giant leap by posting a 10-3 record, finishing in second place in the American Athletic Conference West Division and claiming a 55-10 victory over Central Michigan in the 2016 Miami Beach Bowl. The 2016 Tulsa squad finished the season fourth nationally in total offense (527.0), seventh in scoring offense (42.5), eighth in rushing offense (261.7) and 30th in the country in passing (265.3).

Tulsa’s offense also established an NCAA record in 2016, becoming the first team in FBS/DI history with a 3,000-yard passer (Dane Evans), two 1,000-yard rushers (James Flanders and D’Angelo Brewer) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Keevan Lucas and Josh Atkinson).

Tulsa established 11 individual school records on offense in 2016, including nine career records, one single-season and one single-game record. It was also an offense that set a school record with eight 300+ rushing games.  Quarterback Dane Evans completed his career in 2016 as the school’s all-time passing, total offense and TD passes leader under Montgomery’s tutelage.

The Hurricane fielded a young squad, both offensively and defensively, during the 2017 campaign and suffered setbacks against three Top 25 teams, while also losing two games on last-second field goals. Tulsa’s offense finished the 2017 campaign ranked 14th nationally in rushing with a 247.3 average per game, while D’Angelo Brewer became the school’s and AAC’s all-time rushing leader.

The 2020 season saw the Hurricane play in its first AAC Championship Game in the school’s first seven seasons as a league member. Tulsa defeated two nationally ranked opponents for the first time in school history and the play of Zaven Collins propelled him into being honored as a consensus All-American and the national defensive player of the year, winning both the Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski Trophies.

In his tenure as a collegiate coach, Tulsa’s 2021 season marked the 13th time that Montgomery helped take a team to a bowl game when the Hurricane appeared in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

Before coming to Tulsa, Montgomery logged nearly two decades of coaching experience, including seven seasons (2008-14) at Baylor University, where he served as the offensive coordinator in his final four years for the Big 12 powerhouse. The Bears posted 10 or more wins in three of his last four seasons, including 11 victories in each of his last two years there. In 2014, Baylor produced an 11-1 record and ranked as high as No. 4 in the Associated Press poll.

An Eastland, Texas native, Montgomery jumped from the high school level to the collegiate ranks in 2003 when he became the running backs and quarterback coach at the University of Houston. He then moved with head coach Art Briles to Baylor in 2008.

Following Baylor’s record-breaking 2013 Big 12 championship season, Montgomery was honored as the Offensive Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.com and was named a finalist for the Broyles Award. In 2011, Montgomery was selected as the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com and was named Quarterback Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com

Montgomery called plays for an offense ranked among the nation’s top two in each of his final four seasons at Baylor. In 2014, Baylor’s 581.3 yards per game and 48.8 points led the nation, while the Bears also led the nation in total offense in 2013 (618.8) and ranked second in 2012 (572.2) and 2011 (587.1).

Ron Roberts, a 31-year coaching veteran, has been named defensive coordinator at Auburn, head coach Hugh Freeze announced Wednesday. Roberts, who has 11 years of experience as a collegiate head coach at Delta State and Southeastern Louisiana, was the defensive coordinator at Baylor the last three seasons.

“Ron has been a very successful defensive coach spanning three decades and multiple stops,” Freeze said. “His defenses have always been aggressive and put a lot of pressure on opposing offenses. Ron is a great fit for what we are wanting to do on both sides of the ball, and we are excited to have his experience and expertise leading our defensive unit.”

During his three years at Baylor, Roberts’ defense helped the team to one of the most successful seasons in program history in 2021, capturing the program’s third Big 12 Title and its first BCS/New Year’s Six bowl win in the modern era.

The 2021 Bears defense buoyed Baylor’s success, leading the conference in interceptions (19), turnovers gained (27), turnover margin (0.93) and defensive touchdowns (3). Additionally, Baylor finished second in the Big 12 run defense (118.4 ypg), scoring defense (18.3 PPG), pass efficiency defense (121.54) and sacks per game (3.14).

“I want to thank Coach Freeze for the opportunity to join his staff at Auburn and want to help bring championships to Auburn,” Roberts said. “Historically, Auburn has been known for tough, hard-nosed defenses and we want to create that mindset with our defense unit. We want to be aggressive, put pressure on opposing offenses and fly to the football.”

Baylor’s defense was one of just three units in the country to limit every opponent to 30 points or fewer. En route to the Big 12 title, BU held Oklahoma to its lowest scoring (14) and yardage (260) outputs in five years under Lincoln Riley. Baylor became the first Big 12 team to hold OU without a passing TD since Nov. 22, 2014, which snapped a 65-game streak for the Sooners.