Montgomery names four to staff

Published 4:10 am Thursday, December 24, 2015

GREENVILLE, N.C. – First-year East Carolina Head Football Coach Scottie Montgomery, who was appointed to the position on Dec. 13, officially announced the addition of four new members to his initial Pirate staff and the retainment of veteran secondary coach Rick Smith on Wednesday.

The group includes two key defensive hires from the Southeastern Conference, a wide receivers coach with strong National Football League ties and an operations chief who offers familiarity after a six-year tenure in a similar role on the Duke staff. Montgomery also confirmed that Smith, who has been a part of two conference championships and six bowl appearances in eight years with the Pirates, has agreed to remain and coach ECU defensive backs.

Montgomery named former Vanderbilt associate head coach and linebackers coach Kenwick Thompson as defensive coordinator, while also tabbing former South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams to the same position at East Carolina. On the offensive side of the ball, Phil McGeoghan will serve as the Pirates’ wide receivers coach after working with the Miami Dolphins’ pass catchers since 2012.

Administratively, Montgomery reported that Terrell Smith will assume the title of assistant athletics director for football operations.

Montgomery indicated the remaining positions will be announced when the hiring process for each individual has been formally completed.




EAST CAROLINA – Named Kenwick Thompson defensive coordinator, Deke Adams defensive line coach, Phil McGeoghan wide receivers coach and Terrell Smith assistant athletics director for football operations.




Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach


Kenwick Thompson will take over the ECU defense after two seasons at Vanderbilt where he served as associate head coach and mentored all Commodore linebackers in 2015 after directing outside linebackers a year earlier during his first campaign in Nashville.

Last fall he helped Vanderbilt to Top 25 FBS statistical rankings in redzone defense (6th), first down defense (16th), most fumbles recovered (17th) and scoring defense (22nd) by allowing only 21.0 points per game. His star pupil Zach Cunningham earned Associated Press First-Team All-SEC honors – a first for a Commodore linebacker since 2005 – after ranking among league leaders in tackles for loss (16.5), solo tackles (69), overall stops (103), forced fumbles (4) and recovered fumbles (3).

A year earlier, Thompson was responsible for developing Stephen Weatherly into one of the team’s most productive defenders. Moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, Weatherly finished the 2014 season by racking up a team-leading 12.5 tackles for loss.

Thompson joined the Vanderbilt staff after spending the 2013 season as defensive coordinator at San Jose State in the Mountain West Conference and the six preceding years as an assistant at the University of California in the Pac-12 Conference under Jeff Tedford.

While coaching the Spartan linebackers at San Jose State, Thompson helped senior captain Keith Smith to become just the second player in school history to earn All-MWC honors for four years after leading the nation in total tackles with 159.

In addition to Smith, Thompson also tutored First-Team All-MWC defensive back Bene Benwikere at SJSU. Benwikere matched the Spartan career record with 14 interceptions, including five picks as a senior. He also ranked among NCAA leaders with 16 passes defended.

From 2007 to 2012, Thompson worked as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at California, playing a key role assisting the Golden Bears to four bowl appearances. In 2012, he was elevated to associate head coach status.

In 2011, Thompson’s linebacker corps helped the Golden Bears lead the Pac-12 in both total defense (332.9 yards) and pass defense (204.2 yards) during a 7-6 regular season that concluded with a Holiday Bowl appearance. Cal also topped the Pac-12 in total defense during the 2010 season.

Several of Thompson’s linebackers at California earned all-conference accolades. Among his top players was Mychal Kendricks, who earned All-America honors and was selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 2011 before starring for the Philadelphia Eagles.

During his first tour of duty at San Jose State from 2001 until 2006, Thompson served in a variety of coaching roles under head coaches Fitz Hill and Dick Tomey. His positions included linebackers coach (2001-03), defensive line coach (2004), defensive tackles coach (2006), recruiting coordinator (2001-2004) and head strength and conditioning coach (2005).

From 1994 to 2000, Thompson was on the coaching staff at Texas Southern University, including the last five seasons as defensive coordinator. During the summer of 2000, he was a participant in the prestigious National Football League Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Oakland Raiders, working with the linebackers and defensive line.

As a collegiate player, he was a defensive standout and team captain at Harding (Ark.) University, earning all-conference honors as a senior and finishing his career as the school’s all-time sack leader. Thompson earned his undergraduate degree in marketing and sales from Harding in 1992.

Thompson’s first coaching position came in a player-coach capacity in the Italian-American Professional Football League in 1990. The following season, Thompson was named as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.

Thompson and his wife, Monica, have two sons, Jaxson and Jacob.




“We are extremely fortunate and happy to have someone of Kenwick’s caliber as our defensive coordinator. Not only does he possess an outstanding defensive mind, he’s a great man, teacher and motivator both on and off the field. Kenwick is a tireless recruiter who will impact our program in an immeasurable manner.”




Defensive Line Coach


Deke Adams, who has played a key role in the development of six National Football League draft picks since 2013, including two first-round selections, will direct the Pirates’ defensive line following a three-year tenure on the South Carolina staff.

Following his appointment as the Gamecocks’ defensive line coach in 2013, tackle Kelcy Quarles and end Jadeveon Clowney each earned first-team All-America honors under Adams’ tutelage. In addition, both players garnered first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the Associated Press and the league’s 14 coaches. Quarles led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss, including 9.5 sacks, while Clowney was the first overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft.

One of Adams’ top 2015 performers, tackle Gerald Dixon Jr., accepted an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Game after completing an 84-tackle career.

Before helping Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina program to a pair of bowl wins in 2013 and 2014, Adams spent the 2012 season as Larry Fedora’s defensive line coach at North Carolina after serving the three previous seasons in the same capacity under Fedora at Southern Miss.

During his one-year stint in Chapel Hill, Adams had the opportunity to coach All-America tackle Sylvester Williams, a first-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.

In his final year in Hattiesburg, Adams, a former Southern Miss letterman, provided leadership for a front four that allowed just 112.6 rushing yards per game in 2011, which ranked 22nd nationally. He helped the Golden Eagles to the Conference USA title and an eventual 12-win season after a Hawai’i Bowl win over Nevada.

Among the players he mentored at USM were First-Team All-Conference USA end Cordarro Law and 2013 second-round NFL draft pick Jamie Collins.

In his initial campaign at Southern Miss in 2009, Adams inherited a young, but talented unit that progressively improved as the season continued. The Golden Eagle defense finished the year No. 18 nationally in sacks and No. 24 in tackles for loss after standing 93rd and 68th, respectively, in those two defensive categories a season earlier.

Adams came to Southern Miss after spending the previous year as linebackers coach and coordinator of player development at Louisiana-Monroe. Prior to his stint at ULM, he worked for two seasons at North Carolina A&T.

During his first season in Greensboro, Adams was elevated to interim defensive coordinator status after two games before earning the job on a permanent basis following the final contest. He coached the Aggies’ defensive line in 2006 and had responsibility for the linebackers in 2007 in addition to his coordinator duties.

Adams spent the previous four years at Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) University, coordinating the defense and coaching the defensive line in his last season (2005).

He began his career in 1997 as the defensive line coach at Jacksonville (Ala.) State before moving on to Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, where he first served as the linebackers coach and later was named co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. In 2001, he became the defensive coordinator and continued his duties as recruiting coordinator.

A three-year letterman, Adams was a pivotal part of the Golden Eagles’ “Nasty Bunch” defense who wrapped up his linebacking career in 1994 with 76 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and one interception.

In the classroom, Adams was a four-year member of the Southern Miss Dean’s List during his time as a student-athlete. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and sports administration in 1995 before following with a master’s degree, also from USM, in 1996.

He is married to the former Alexis Hall, a member of the 1,000-point club and four-year letterwinner for the Southern Miss women’s basketball team. The couple has two boys, Jaylen and Jordyn.




“While Deke’s unparalleled track record developing talent speaks for itself and is easily recognizable in the number of NFL Draft picks and All-Americans he has coached, his ability to lead and motivate young men is synonymous with the foundation we want at ECU. He is a tremendous addition to our program.”



Wide Receivers Coach


Phil McGeoghan (pronounced muh-GAY-gehn) has spent the last four seasons in the National Football League with the Miami Dolphins, beginning as assistant wide receivers coach in 2012 before earning a promotion to wide receivers coach in November, 2015.

Under McGeoghan’s direct leadership, standout second-year pass-catcher Jarvis Landry recently set a single-season franchise record with his 97th reception to pass O.J. McDuffie’s mark of 90 set in 1998.

Working along with receivers coach Ken O’Keefe, he helped the LSU product headline a unit in 2014 with 84 catches, which not only ranked fourth overall in club history, but set a Dolphins standard for most by a rookie and stood as the sixth-highest total in the NFL annals for a first-year player. McGeoghan helped Landry hit his stride in December with 35 receptions, the second-most catches in any month in Miami history.

In 2013, McGeoghan assisted in guiding a receiving corps that featured a pair of players with 70-plus receptions in Brian Hartline (76 for 1,016 yards) and Mike Wallace (73 for 930). Additionally, Hartline became the fifth receiver in team history to tally consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, while Wallace finished third in both receptions and receiving yards for a Dolphins player in his first season with the team.

McGeoghan helped coach a young group of wide receivers in 2012 that included a breakout performance from Hartline, who set career highs at the time in receptions (74), reception yards (1,083) and 100-yard receiving games (three). The former Ohio State star also had one of the most prolific games for a receiver in club history, tallying 12 receptions for 253 yards and one touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals on September 30. The 12 grabs served as the second-highest single-game total in the storied franchise’s history, while the 253 yards established a new Dolphins standard.

Before accepting a position in the NFL, McGeoghan spent three seasons as wide receivers coach at South Florida beginning in 2009 under head coach Jim Leavitt before working two years with former East Carolina coach Skip Holtz.

During his final season at USF in 2011, three Bulls’ receivers – Sterling Griffin (43), Victor Marc (33) and Deonte Welch (31) – each tallied more than 30 receptions. A year earlier in 2010, senior Dontavia Bogan produced one of the best seasons in school history with 685 yards and six touchdowns on 47 receptions to earn All-Big East honors.

In his first season with the Bulls, USF wide receivers were constant big play threats, as both Carlton Mitchell and A.J. Love each averaged more than 17 yards per catch, with  Love’s 18.8 clip ranking third all-time at USF. McGeoghan also played a key recruiting role for signing classes that earned Top 25 rankings by various publications during his time in Tampa.

In 2008, McGeoghan worked as the offensive coordinator for the Naval Academy Prep School, which oversees the professional and athletic development of midshipmen and cadet candidates. He began his coaching career at alma mater Maine in 2007 as wide receivers and tight ends coach after a four-year playing career in the NFL that included roster positions with the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets, in addition to playing in NFL Europe for the Berlin Thunder.

McGeoghan earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Maine and starred as a wide receiver for the Black Bears, standing fourth in career receiving yards and fifth in receptions. In the classroom, he earned Academic All-America honors and was recognized as an Arthur Ashe Jr. and Dean Smith Sport Scholar. McGeoghan also served in a leadership capacity as UM’s student-athlete president.




“Phil’s successful background at both the NFL and collegiate levels made him an individual we identified immediately during the search process. He has a tremendous rapport with players and coaches that is clearly evident by the respect he has earned across the country.”



Assistant AD/Football Operations

Prior to his appointment at East Carolina, Terrell Smith served as director of football operations at Duke under head coach David Cutcliffe during the 2015 season. His latest tenure at his alma mater also followed a combined five years in player development and recruiting roles under Cutcliffe and Ted Roof spanning from 2006 to 2011.

Smith was the Blue Devils’ top liaison with the school’s academic support, admissions, financial aid and housing departments, while also managing program budgets for meals and recruiting. He also coordinated all logistical facets of Duke’s team travel operation, serving as the key contact regarding air and bus transportation as well as the establishment of road lodging headquarters.

Before rejoining the Blue Devils’ staff in July, 2015, Smith was in Chapel Hill as North Carolina’s assistant director of player personnel for five months after spending two years at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where he served as the assistant director of admission for multicultural recruitment.

In addition to his earlier stay at Duke, he worked in various football administrative and coaching capacities at Oklahoma State and Lenoir-Rhyne.

Smith was assistant director of football recruiting for head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys in 2011 and 2012, which followed player development and football relations positions in Durham beginning in 2006.

Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke in 2004 before adding a master’s in humanities in 2006.

A native of Wingate, N.C., Smith co-captained the Blue Devils as a senior in the fall of 2003 and earned co-team MVP and second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors after recording 140 tackles from his safety position. In 40 career games, Smith racked up 321 stops and netted three interceptions.

After completing his undergraduate work, Smith worked one year on the coaching staff at Lenoir-Rhyne before returning to his alma mater. He initially served as a graduate assistant coach in 2005 before making the move to the player development office.




“Terrell’s organizational skills and experience are matched by very few in this business. His attention to detail, professionalism and ability to effectively communicate with all constituencies will not only benefit everyone in our football program, but ECU as a whole – especially during this time of transition.”



“Rick’s reputation in college football is held in such high regard and I consider it a privilege to have him on our staff, both from a continuity standpoint and for the values he possesses. It became quite apparent after speaking to many people in and outside our program that Rick is an asset East Carolina could not afford to lose. My discussions with him directly strongly confirmed that we are headed in the same direction.”