HOMECOMING FOR MONTGOMERY

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East Texas Basketball Legend Named Head Men’s Coach at Angelina College

If one of J.J. Montgomery’s future players ever asks about Montgomery’s knowledge of basketball, Montgomery simply can point to a jersey hanging on the wall inside Angelina College’s Shands Gymnasium.

The retired No. 5 belongs to Montgomery.

The East Texas basketball legend on Tuesday was named the new men’s basketball coach for Angelina College, marking a homecoming for the man who established numerous records in his time as a Roadrunner. Among the crowd of well wishers were some of Montgomery’s former teammates, and they held a reunion of sorts on the floor where they once competed.

“Being able to come back home and coach where I played here at Angelina College was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Montgomery said during Wednesday’s ceremony. “I’m happy to be home, and I’m ready to get this thing rolling.”

Montgomery is a familiar face to East Texas basketball fans, having played at Lufkin High School, where he became the school’s career scoring leader with more than 3,000 points. From there, Montgomery played two years at Angelina College under current AC athletic director Guy Davis. Montgomery set the program record for single-season scoring (897 points) and career scoring (1,799 points) from 2001-2002. He is one of three NJCAA First Team All-Americans in Roadrunner men’s basketball program history.

Montgomery completed his collegiate career at Arkansas State University before embarking on a professional career spent playing overseas.

In 2015, AC honored Montgomery in a ceremony retiring his jersey.

Although he arrives late in the recruiting season – the regular season tips off in November – Montgomery said he and his current players are up to the challenge.

“My expectations will always be the same,” Montgomery said, “and that’s to compete at a high level. I can take my bumps and my losses, but my main job is to get these guys out there in great shape and be ready to play here.

“I still think we can do some great things this season. I’ve met with the guys, and they seem committed to giving their very best.”

Montgomery joins his former head coach – and current athletic director at AC – Guy Davis in an effort to launch another successful season.

So just how much of Davis will come through in Montgomery’s personal coaching style?

“I learned so much from Coach Davis,” Montgomery said. “He was a tough coach, but it was tough love, and I needed that. My former (high school) players will tell you, ‘Hey, this guy’s pretty crazy’ with the way I coach. Coach Davis demanded perfection, and he wanted us to work hard. You’ll see a little of Guy Davis in me, I’m sure.

“But the officials will like me a lot more,” he laughed. “I won’t be getting as many technical fouls as Coach Davis did.”

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Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.