Junior outfielder is one of 14 recipients of Spirit of Service Award
2014-15 saw many team and individual success stories
Lady Techsters win 31 games, most since 2008
Lady Techsters face UTSA and game will be broadcast on ESPN 97.7 FM
Lady Techsters wrap up regular season this weekend
Mark Montgomery enters his third season as the head coach at Louisiana Tech after two highly successful head coaching stints at both Centenary and Northern Colorado.
Since his arrival in Ruston, he has brought a philosophy of developing the complete individual both on and off the playing fields. His student-athletes have embraced this culture.
Montgomery received recognition for his coaching style when he was voted as the recipient of the 2013-14 Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Coaches Choice Award. The SAAC Coaches Choice Award recognizes a coach that is committed to fostering student-athlete development and welfare through a positive athletic and academic atmosphere. Each C-USA institution selects a nominee and then voting is done by the conference SAAC representatives during its annual in-person meeting.
"This is a tremendous honor for Coach Montgomery," said Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. "This award represents what coaching on the collegiate level is all about - molding student-athletes into champions on and off the field. We are happy that the Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has recognized Mark's efforts."
Montgomery wasted little time in making an impact in his first year in Ruston as he guided the Lady Techsters to a 27-26 record and the program's highest finish ever in the Western Athletic Conference as LA Tech hosted the league postseason tournament as the No. 3 seed during the 2013 campaign.
Tech posted an 11-10 mark in WAC play, only the fourth time in the 12-year affiliation that the Lady Techsters finished above .500 in the highly-competitive conference.
On the field, Tech recorded its highest team batting average in program history (.289) as six starters recorded batting averages of over .300. Montgomery's first season also saw four players earn all-conference honors as freshman Anna Cross and senior Amanda Krueger were both named first team and senior Melanie Goff and junior Erin Kipp were named second team. Cross was also the first Lady Techster to ever earn the WAC Freshman of the Year award.
Off the field the Lady Techsters were also impressive in the classroom and in the community. Erin Kipp became only the fifth LA Tech softball student-athlete to earn CoSIDA Academic All-American honors while 10 Lady Techsters earned Academic All-WAC accolades.
Following the graduation of a large senior class, Montgomery's second season in Ruston and Louisiana Tech's first competing in the highly-competitive Conference USA was a transition one for the program. Tech posted a 19-33 record with six losses to Top 25 teams, including a 1-0 setback against 7th ranked Kentucky.
One of the highlights of the season was the emergence of true freshman Pauline Tufi, who earned C-USA All-Freshman team honors while breaking the program freshman RBI record (34). Off the field, Louisiana Tech softball received national recognition as eight Lady Techsters earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar Athletes following the season.
Montgomery came to Louisiana Tech after spending two years at NAIA Georgetown (Ky.) College, eight years at Centenary College and two years at Northern Colorado. He has won 357 career games on the college level.
The Kentucky native has led his teams to eight winning seasons during his 13 years, including seven seasons of 30 or more wins, while guiding Centenary to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2005. During his time at Centenary (2003-2010), Montgomery won 216 games, including victories over Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Minnesota, Syracuse, Boston College and New Mexico.
Montgomery led the Ladies to the program's first winning season in 13 years in 2004 and a program record-tying 36 victories as Centenary captured the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament championship and advanced to the school's first ever NCAA Tournament. Centenary led top-ranked Arizona late in the game before eventually falling 2-1 to the Wildcats.
The following season saw Montgomery and the Ladies win 31 games, capture their second straight Mid-Continent Tournament title and return to the NCAA Tournament. One six-year stretch in Shreveport saw Centenary win 30 or more games five times. During his time at Centenary, Montgomery coached 23 all-conference players, two conference newcomers of the year, one conference pitcher of the year, two conference tournament MVPs and several conference all-tournament players.
Following Centenary's decision to drop down to Division III, Montgomery accepted the head coaching position at Northern Colorado where he led the program to back-to-back second place finishes in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division (2nd place) each season while being named the PCSC Mountain Division Coach of the Year in 2011. The 2012 team won a school record 25 games and broke 21 school records, including wins, batting average and extra base hits.
Montgomery's teams have always been highly successful away from the softball diamond as each one of them has registered a team grade point average above 3.0 for the past 12 years. His 2001 team at Georgetown College posted a cumulative GPA that ranked in the top 10 of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Academic Teams. His Northern Colorado team in 2012 finished ranked No. 2 in the country in team GPA.
Prior to his collegiate coaching experience, Montgomery served as the softball coach at Lafayette (Ky.) High School where he won seven district titles, five regional titles and one state championship title while posting a 170-73 record.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky in 1992 and his master's degree from Georgetown College in 2000.
Montgomery and his wife Melanie have three daughters: Bailey, Emma and Adrienne.