Funeral services will be at 3 pm Tuesday, Aug. 14, at Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home for Navarro College Athletic Director Roark Montgomery III, 65, who died Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018 after a brief battle with cancer.
Visitation will be 6 to 8 pm Monday, Aug. 13 at Griffin-Roughton Funeral Home.
Montgomery came to Navarro College as a golf coach/instructor and Director of the Professional Golf Management Program in 1988. Before employment here, Montgomery was involved with the Professional Golf Association in a variety of roles.
In 1998, Montgomery was appointed Athletic Director due to his extensive experience and knowledge in sports. Dr. Richard M. Sanchez, District President at Navarro College said, “The decision to appoint Montgomery Athletic Director was based upon the notion that an Athletic Director must understand the psychology of coaches and athletes as a prerequisite to success. Montgomery displayed a solid understanding of coaches and athletes and was therefore appointed to the position of Athletic Director.”
During his tenure, he provided effective leadership to six intercollegiate sports at the NJCAA Division I level: football, men’s basketball, baseball, women’s softball, volleyball, soccer and a cheer program. All three women’s programs were added on his watch.
His ability to communicate, work with and understand all coaches in a ‘family’ culture led to program-wide successes and perpetuation by promoting young assistants experienced in ‘The Navarro Way’ through the hiring process.
Montgomery served on many NJCAA committees, and chaired the NJCAA Football Committee for years. He also served as Region XIV Men’s Athletics Director.
“Roark was the face of Navarro College Athletics for more than two decades,” said Michael Landers, Assistant Athletic Director. “His name was synonymous with Navarro College. He was the leader of our department and did so with class and integrity. He loved being a Bulldog and everything about Navarro College.”
During Montgomery’s time as athletic director, coaches here developed programs into instant successes. Some of those highlights, by sport, include:
— Football, which appeared in seven straight Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) title games, won three consecutive SWJCFC Championships, made eight appearances in 10 seasons at the Regional Playoffs, finished six times among National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Top 5 and secured a National Championship in 2010;
— Basketball, which includes 20 Region XIV Tournament appearances, with a stretch of six Region XIV finalists in seven seasons, plus three appearances in the NJCAA Tournaments;
— Baseball, which won 14 outright conference titles among 16 total, and won the 2011 National Championship among two JUCO World Series appearances within a three-year period;
— Women’s Softball, which claimed 10 Conference Championships, three Region XIV Championships, seven Region XIV Runners-up and four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament appearances;
— Volleyball, which took a conference championship and four Region XIV Runners-up;
— Soccer, which won eight Region XIV Championships, seven NJCAA District Championships, seven National tournament qualifiers, two NJCAA Semifinalists and an NJCAA Runner-up; and,
— Cheer, which has won the National Cheerleader Association Titles 13 of last 15 years with five Grand National Championship honors.
Monica Aldama, Cheer Coach said, “Roark had a heart of gold. He grew up in Corsicana and put everything he had into Navarro College and the athletic department. He was our fearless leader and led us through difficult times and joyous times. I will cherish the many memories we share, from winning a football national championship in 2010 in Kansas and our first ever baseball national championship in 2011 in Colorado.”
Montgomery’s service as Athletic Director was exceptional. He was very conscientious and detailed in managing his role as Athletic Director. He gained the respect of coaches he supervised and the athletes participating in the intercollegiate athletic program at Navarro College. He was an admired colleague to many and he consistently presented himself in a professional manner. He was very consistent in managing himself in all aspects of his assigned responsibilities.
“Individuals like Mr. Montgomery are rare and he will be sorely missed,” Sanchez said. “I will miss him terribly as he was not only a colleague, but a treasured personal friend.”