Former Southport High School football and baseball standout Steve Montgomery was posthumously inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame during a touching ceremony before Friday's game between the Cardinals and Chatard. Montgomery, who died of pancreatic cancer May 2, 2016, graduated from Southport in 1972 and from Indiana Central University (now UIndy) in 1976.
He played football and baseball and still holds several records at both schools. As a running back he helped lead the Greyhounds to their first playoff berth. He began his teaching career in Perry Township, spending 30 years as a physical education teacher at Southport, where he launched the softball program and served as head coach for 22 years, winning numerous county and sectional titles.
Montgomery also taught physical education and coached football and wrestling at Perry Meridian Middle School before returning to Southport to serve as an assistant softball coach for his son, Scott Montgomery, who still leads the program.
The two coached against each other when Steve was at Southport and Scott was at Whiteland, but Steve's wife, Judy, cannot recall who won. In addition to his accolades in sports, Montgomery is credited with saving the life of Southport sophomore Joseph Jake in the spring of 1998.
With Jake suffering a severe asthma attack and going into cardiac arrest, Montgomery and school nurse Karen Melick administered CPR until paramedics arrived. "Steve was a dedicated teacher and coach who got the best out of his students and athletes," said Peggy Warner, administrative assistant of the Southport Athletic Department.
"He expected a lot out of his kids, and he always seemed to get it. He taught his kids about respect, values, discipline, confidence and being a good teammate. Steve was a good friend to so many, and he was so much fun to be around."
Southport graduate Steve Harnedy, who coached Montgomery in the Perry Pony baseball league, said he sensed that Montgomery was going to be a great athlete.
"He was a quiet leader and was very good in baseball and football, but he never bragged about it. He did everything that was asked of him. I think he is the best athlete to ever graduate from Southport. He was an all-around great guy."
Montgomery's legacy and warm heart will be remembered by Perry Township for years to come.