Shane Montgomery, one of the top play callers in the FCS, is in his ninth season as Youngstown State's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. While at YSU he has coached the top quarterback and some of the best running backs in the programs history.
In his eight years with the program, the Penguins have consistently put up impressive offensive numbers. In each season, YSU has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 2,000 yards. The program has accomplished the feat 16 times in school history and Montgomery has been at the helm for half of them. The top four total offensive seasons in program history (2011, 2016, 2010, 2017) have come with Montgomery as the play caller.
In the past eight seasons: YSU has scored more than 27 points on 60 occasions; had more than 400 yards of total offense 51 times; the Penguins have scored 216 rushing touchdowns and 141 passing touchdowns; YSU has thrown for more than 2,000 yards and rushing for more than 2,000 yards in each campaign since 2010; completed nearly 60 percent of its passes and YSU has attempted more than 448 rushing attempts in each year.
Montgomery has done a masterful job the past two years getting all the quarterbacks ready for gameday.
In 2017, YSU started three different quarterbacks and on three other occasions, a starter was hurt on the Penguins’ first offensive drive of the game. Despite all the ups and downs, the position was ready to handle all the adversity.
Hunter Wells started the season opener and the season finale but was hurt on the first possession of two other games in between. Nathan Mays came off the bench to lead wins over Robert Morris and South State Dakota State when Wells suffered early injuries. Mays started a team-high five contests during the season. Later in the year, Ricky Davis started in road wins at Indiana State and Southern Illinois. YSU’s backup late in the year was tight end turned-QB Chris Durkin.
All three produced when called upon during the season. Wells threw for 311 yards in the season opener at Pitt. In three home games against playoff teams, Mays rushed for 96 yards vs. Central Connecticut, 81 yards against North Dakota State and 65 vs. South Dakota State. He had a season-high 188 yards passing against the Bison. Davis had one of the best all-around QB performances in school history at Indiana State. He completed 10-of-12 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 98 yards and two scores on 14 carries. All three QBS passed for more than 500 yards led by Mays who had 905.
As a unit, YSU averaged 29.7 points and 411.1 yards per game. The Guins dominated time of possession keeping the ball for 31:55. On the year, the Penguins had 19 scoring drives of nine-or-more plays.
The 2016 season was one that showed Montgomery's talents and patience. YSU started three different quarterbacks and had four win games for the Penguins. After a strong start to the campaign, the offense worked through a rough patch, but by the end of the year the unit was one of the hottest and most productive in the nation.
In the playoffs, YSU scored 30 points or more in the four wins. In three of the five games, YSU rushed for more than 200 yards and passed for more than 200 on three occasions.
At Missouri State in the final game of the regular season, YSU set a school record with 747 yards of total offense, including a school-best 572 yard rushing. In the first four games against playoff teams, YSU had 431, 520, 413 and 506 total offensive yards. The two 500-plus yard efforts came on the road against Jacksonville State and Eastern Washington, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the playoffs. YSU won a wild 40-38 decision at EWU when Kevin Rader caught a Hunter Wells pass with one second left for the victory.
One of the more memorable wins of the season came at home against UNI. YSU trailed 10-0 and was down two quarterbacks because of early injuries. Mays, who played scout-team QB during the week, led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives in a memorable 14-10 win over the Panthers.
Wells did not play the first seven games of the season before returning to start the final nine. He completed 135-of-216 passes for 1,714 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the playoffs he was 77-of-123 for 1,120 yards and eight TDs. His best effort was a 290-yard performance at JSU. He spearheaded the comeback at EWU with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in freezing cold temperatures.
YSU had two tailbacks rush for more than 1,000 yards as Jody Webb led the way with 1,342 yards. TB Martin Ruiz finished his career second in school history with 4,306 yards rushing while Webb was seventh at 3,259. The duo combined to score 71 touchdowns as well.
For the season, YSU averaged 422.9 yards per game (second most in school history) and time of possession 33:52, also second best.
In Montgomery's first year on Bo Pelini's staff in 2015, the offense continued its run of success. YSU had 2,198 yards rushing and 2,117 yards passing in just 11 games. The Penguins averaged 392.3 yards per game of total offense and 29.4 points per contest.
Tailbacks Martin Ruiz and Webb combined for 1,569 yards rushing, wide receivers Andre Stubbs and Andrew Williams had 71 receptions for 1,054 yards and Wells passed for a career-high 1,975 yards.
In 2014, Wells was the runner-up for conference Freshman-of-the-Year accolades while finishing sixth in voting for the Jerry Rice Award, which honors the FCS's top freshman. Wells threw for 1,772 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 121-of-202 passes. YSU's two quarterbacks during the year combined for 2,556 yards, completed 171-of-293 passes and had 20 touchdowns. The 2,556 yards passing was the second most in school history behind the 1999 season in which the Guins had 2,722 yards.
Wells threw for more than 200 yards on five occasions while Dante Nania also had a 200-yard plus passing game. In his starting debut, Wells threw four touchdown passes in a win over Butler. YSU had a TD pass in each of the final 11 games.
Montgomery helped four-year starting quarterback Kurt Hess (2010-13) rewrite the Penguins' record books in his first four campaigns as the coordinator. Hess, who started 45 consecutive games, finished his career as the school-record holder in completions (706), attempts (1,135), yards (8,925), touchdown passes (75), yards per game (198.4), 200-yard passing games (24), passer rating (144.96), TDs responsible for (87), four-touchdown passing games (six), total offensive yards (9,459) and total offense per game (210.2).
Tailback Jamaine Cook finished his career in 2012 with 4,052 yards rushing. He became just the second player in school history to rush for more than 4,000 yards in a career. Cook rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Ruiz picked up right were Cook left off running for 1,094 yards as a freshman in 2013 and 1,320 yards as a sophomore in 2014.
Despite replacing a four-year starter at quarterback in 2014, the offense continued to have success under Montgomery.
YSU averaged 213.0 yards passing and 202.2 yards rushing per contest in 12 games. It was just the second time in school history that YSU averaged more than 200 yards rushing and passing per game. The Guins threw for 2,556 yards while rushing for 2,427. The Penguins had 21 touchdown rushes and 20 touchdown passes during the campaign.
Ruiz had a career-best 1,320 yards on 265 attempts while junior wide receiver Andrew Williams had the best year of his career with 54 receptions for 976 yards and six scores. Ruiz and Webb combined for more than 2,000 yards on the ground and scored 19 touchdowns.
In 2013, the Guins had a very-balanced offense averaging 204.8 yards passing and 195.8 yards rushing to post an 8-4 overall record, which included a six-game winning streak and 5-0 conference start. Hess - a second-team All-MVFC pick - passed for 2,229 yards marking the fourth straight season he eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark.
YSU had 31 rushing touchdowns and 23 passing scores on the year. It was just the third 30-20 campaign in school history joining the 1999 and 1979 squads in the department. The 31 rushing scores were the most since 2006 while the 23 passing scores were the second most in school history. Impressive, seven players caught at least two touchdown passes, a first for the program.
Also, YSU threw just seven interceptions - the fewest since 2007 - and tied the school-mark with three 50-plus point performances. For the campaign, YSU averaged 33.8 points per game, scoring 405 for the year. The Penguins set a school record for total offensive with 718 yards in a win over Morehead State. Amazingly, YSU had 359 yards rushing and passing in the contest.
In the red zone, YSU was 43-of-47 (91.5 percent) and finished second in the FCS in that category behind Coastal Carolina.
While 2012 wasn't a record breaker, the numbers were still impressive. YSU averaged 28.9 points per game, 198.8 yards passing per contest and 187.3 per game on the ground. The Penguins had 22 scoring drives that lasted 10-or-more plays. YSU had 25 scoring drives of 70-plus yards, including eight of 80-or-more yards. YSU tied the school-record for 3rd-down conversion percentage at 51.9 percent (1989). Cook had 1,279 yards rushing while Hess had 2,112 yards passing for the year.
In 2011, the Guins had one of the best offensive units in school history.
The offensive unit set school records for total yards per game (458.6), points per game (36.2) and touchdown passes (27). In the 11-game regular season, YSU was the lone FCS program to rush and pass for more than 2,500 yards. The Penguins scored 53 offensive touchdowns and racked up a total of 398 points.
Youngstown State ranked third in passing efficiency nationally (FCS), was fourth in first downs per game, fifth in total offense per game, sixth in red-zone offense and seventh in per game scoring and time of possession. Additionally, the Penguins ranked fourth in fewest fumbles lost, fifth in turnovers lost, seventh in tackles for loss allowed, 10th in rushing offense (231.1 yards per game), 10th in fourth-down conversion percentage, 11th in sacks allowed and 14th in third-down conversion percentage.
Hess became the first Penguin quarterback to be named first-team All-MVFC since YSU joined the league in 1997. Hess was just the second sophomore in the 30-year history of the conference to be a first-team all-league pick at quarterback. Hess set the school record for single-season touchdown passes (26), completion percentage (64.5), 200-yard games (eight), touchdown passes in consecutive games (11) and touchdown passes in a game (5 vs. Missouri State).
For the first time since 1979 (and only the second in school history) the Penguins had a quarterback throw for at least four touchdowns in a game (Hess did it three times) and have a player score four times in a game (Cook vs. Saint Francis). Cook was a first-team All-MVFC selection, finishing with eight 100-yard rushing performances and had at least 90 yards in 10 contests on the year.
In 2010, YSU set a then school record with 412 total offensive yards per game, and the 31.3 points per game ranked fifth. The Penguins showed good balance with 215 yards coming on the ground and 197 via the air.
Hess, a redshirt freshman in 2010, became the first player in school history to pass for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games as he did it five straight weeks during the season. Hess set school freshman records for yards, attempts and completions. His 2,117 yards were the eighth most by a quarterback in school history. For his efforts he was selected as the MVFC Freshman of the Year.
Montgomery has coached at the Division I level his entire 20-plus year career. Before coming to YSU he spent nine seasons in the Mid-American Conference. Montgomery's tenure at Miami was highlighted by an appearance in the MAC Championship Game in 2007 and a share of the East Division title in 2005. Overall, he was 17-31 as the head coach from 2004-08. He took over the program prior to the 2004 Independence Bowl.
While at Miami from 2001-08, he coached the two most prolific quarterbacks in school history in Roethlisberger (2001-03) and Josh Betts (2004-05). The two signal callers combined for 17,845 yards, 1,395 completions and 138 touchdowns.
He joined the YSU staff after spending a season as the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Akron.
Montgomery served as the RedHawks' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2001-04. While serving in that capacity, he was a two-time finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, which annually goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
During his time, mentoring Roethlisberger, an All-American and two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, Miami's passing offense was ranked no lower than 27th, while the RedHawks ranked second in the NCAA in total offense in 2003 (501.14 yards per game).
The RedHawks posted a 7-4 mark and a share of a third-straight MAC East Division title in his first full season as Miami head coach. That squad won five of its last six games, placed 11 on the All-MAC first and second teams and saw seven sign NFL contracts.
In 2006, wide receiver Ryne Robinson was a fourth-round selection of the Carolina Panthers. Robinson, a two-time All-MAC pick, finished his career as the program's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
In 2007, Miami used a 17-14 win over BCS member Syracuse to start a run, winning four of five MAC games en route to a 5-2 league scoresheet and 4-2 record in the East Division. Two of those four wins were over Bowling Green and Buffalo, each of whom were also 4-2, giving Miami the tiebreaker and the right to play in the MAC Championship game. That season the RedHawks led the MAC in scoring defense and placing second in total defense.
In 2008, MU had four first-team all-conference selections, boasting the top punter and placekicker in the league.
Montgomery was there for the start of Roethlisberger's career and, three years later, the MAC Player of the Year finished his three-year career as Miami's all-time leader in passing yards (10,829), completions (854) and passing touchdowns (84).
In addition to ranking second nationally in total offense in 2003, Miami shattered the MAC record for total yards in a season (7,016) and most combined touchdowns with 74.
Betts stepped in to keep the offense rolling for the RedHawks upon Big Ben's departure. In just two seasons, Betts ranked among the nation's top 20 in passing twice and finished as Miami's second all-time leading passer with 7,029 yards. He also threw 54 career touchdowns and completed 58.2 percent (541-of-929) of his passes all-time. He signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts.
Montgomery has a strong familiarity with the Football Championship Subdivision after coaching as an assistant at Chattanooga from 1993-2000.
He began as quarterbacks coach and saw his role expand to wide receivers coach, co-offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. During his time as offensive coordinator with the Mocs, he oversaw the development of NFL All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens.
In Montgomery's final two years at UTC, the Mocs ranked fourth nationally in passing (326.5 avg.) and 19th in total offense (452.91 avg.) in 1999, while ranking second in passing (339.09 avg.) and eighth in total offense (453.55 avg.) in 2000.
Mocs quarterback Chris Sanders rewrote the school's passing record book in just two seasons during those campaigns. Sanders threw for 7,230 yards, including 22 200-yard passing games and a dozen 300-yard passing contests. He completed a school-record 584 passes and set the mark for career TD passes with 49.
Wide receiver Cos DeMatteo ranked second in school history in career receptions (166) and touchdown catches (23). He had 11 touchdown grabs in both 1999 and 2000. In 2000, Richmond Flowers caught a then-school record 86 passes for a then-best 1,035 yards.
Montgomery was a standout quarterback at North Carolina State from 1986-89.
He was a three-year starter at quarterback and led the Wolfpack to two straight bowl berths, earning Offensive MVP at the 1988 Peach Bowl and the 1989 Copper Bowl.
Montgomery was a second team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a senior and finished his career completing 421-of-746 passes for 5,298 yards and 31 touchdowns. He still owns the N.C. State record for most passing yards in a game, 535, set versus Duke in 1989.
He played one year with the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football in 1991 following his NCSU career.
He served as a graduate assistant for Coach Dick Sheridan in 1991 and 1992.
A native of Newark, Ohio, he led Newark Catholic to the Ohio Division V State Championship in 1984 under Coach J.D. Graham. In 2001, he was inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame.
Shane and his wife, Sandy, have two sons, Tanner and Trent. Tanner is a catcher on the Youngstown State baseball team.