Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser

Auburn offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery will not return for a second season leading the Tigers offense, the program announced on Friday. Montgomery was hired shortly after Hugh Freeze accepted the Auburn coaching prior to the 2023 season. 

"I informed Philip today he would not be retained as our offensive coordinator," Freeze said. "Philip is a good coach and a good man. Decisions like this are never easy, however, I decided this is best for our program moving forward. I'm appreciative of his efforts this past year and wish him nothing but the best."

The Auburn offense struggled in 2023 as it finished 10th in the SEC in total offense (351.2 yards per game), 11th in offensive yards per play (5.50) and 11th in scoring offense (26.2 points per game). Quarterback Payton Thorne arrived to Auburn after two successful seasons at Michigan State but struggled mightily in Montgomery's lone season on the Plains. Thorne averaged just 135 yards per game through the air at just 6.6 yards per attempt and finished 12th in the SEC in passer rating (129.14). 

The offense was a big factor that led toward a disappointing 7-6 record in Freeze's first year at the helm. It was bad enough that Freeze was asked who was actually calling the plays midway through the season.

"[Montgomery] is calling the plays. I obviously have input," Freeze said on Oct. 23. "I'm never one to sit up here and place blame on coaches. It's a combination. It's all of us. I certainly listen to the plan and evaluate it, but it's harder for me than I thought with the verbiage to be involved in every area. I paid a lot of attention to tight red zone. We've been pretty good in the red zone at times, but we're not getting there enough to find out if our plans are really good or not. So, it's a combination. I'll jump in from time to time, as do the O-Line coaches and others, but [coach Montgomery] is the play-caller currently."

Montgomery was hired at Auburn after serving as Tulsa coach from 2015-22, where he compiled a 43-53 overall record. He immediately turned around the Golden Hurricane offense in his first season when they finished second in the AAC in total offense (507.4 yards per game) and followed that up with the conference's best offense in 2016 (527 yards per game). However, they finished outside the top five in the AAC in total offense in four of the next six seasons.