A year ago this week, Jon Montgomery and his family were making a trip from their home in Ruston, La., to Oklahoma City to visit family and friends.
During their stay, Montgomery wanted to find a place where his son could lift weights. Mildren Montgomery was slated to be the starting left tackle at Ruston High School for his upcoming junior year, and he wanted to keep up his workout regimen.
So Jon called an old friend — Douglass coach Willis Alexander, who gladly opened his weight room.
But when the Montgomerys met up with Alexander, Jon felt something stronger at work.
“I call it my ‘ears from heaven,' and they were going off — ding, ding, ding, ding!” Jon said. “Ruston was a good school, a 5A football program, but I wasn't sure Mildren was getting everything he needed to accomplish his dream of playing Division I football.
“After we talked to Willis that day, I felt like Douglass was the place where Mildren needed to be. I told my wife, Andrea, that day that we needed to step out on faith and do what we needed to do to give him the best chance to reach that dream.”
A couple weeks later, Jon and Mildren were living in Oklahoma City, with Andrea to join them later.
Jon was never afraid of moving. A longtime college football coach, he held jobs at places such as Cincinnati and Grambling and a dozen other schools, and his family moved all over the country with him.
One of those jobs was as an assistant at Langston University in the 1980s. One of his players there? Willis Alexander.