SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State head football coach Jody Sears officially completed his coaching staff with the additions of Samuel Lawanson and James Montgomery, it was announced today. Lawanson will serve as the Hornets' running backs coach while Montgomery will be an offensive assistant. Jason Pollak, who was the offensive assistant in 2013, was elevated to wide receivers coach.
Lawanson has coached on both sides of the ball during his career. Most recently, he was the manager of player development in 2013 and the defensive quality control coach in 2012 at Arizona State. Lawanson began his collegiate coaching career in 1999 as the running backs coach at Cal Poly. After two seasons, he moved to the University of Tulsa where he coached linebackers from 2000-2002 and the secondary in 2003.
"We're excited to have Sammy join our staff," Sears said. "He's highly qualified, profession and well respected. He has roots in the Central Valley and has earned valuable experience at Arizona State over the last couple of years."
From May of 2004 through February of 2012, Lawanson was a defensive coordinator for three high schools in Texas. He was the co-defensive coordinator at Hillcrest in Dallas from 2004-05. He then took the reins of the defense at Haltom HS for the 2006 season before moving to John Horn HS in Mesquite (2007-2011). During the 2010 season, he helped guide the team to a berth in the quarterfinals of the state 5A playoffs and a final ranking on 20th in the state.
Lawanson was a two-year starter at outside linebacker at San Diego State in 1995 and 1996. He was an honorable mention all-WAC selection following his junior season. Prior to attending SDSU, he played two years at Fresno City College.
Montgomery is no stranger to Sacramento or Coach Sears. The Cordova High School graduate rushed for more than 4,900 yards and 82 touchdowns for the Lancers. He was a Parade Magazine All-American and a first team all-state selection from CalHiSports.com. As a senior, he rushed for 2,183 yards and 39 touchdowns and was the Sacramento Bee's Player of the Year.
Following his prep career, Montgomery attended Cal where he redshirted in 2006 before rushing for 171 yards and two touchdowns the following year. He transferred to Washington State in 2008 and after sitting out a season, rushed for 180 yards in 2008 campaign which was limited to only three games due to injury. As a senior, he amassed 536 yards and five touchdowns for a Cougars team in which Sears was the defensive coordinator.
After earning his bachelor's in social science in 2011, Montgomery returned to Sacramento and was an assistant coach at Del Campo HS. In 2013, he moved to Weber State where he was a quality control coach on Sears' staff.
"James has a bright future in this profession and I'm glad to have him back on my staff," Sears said. "I recruited him to come to Washington State and think the most of him."