Neile's Hometown Heroes: Meet Mama Monty, the matriarch of the Golden Hurricane
Ask anyone in Tulsa about the Golden Hurricane and they'll know who you're talking about.
But did you know the team has a secret weapon? A woman who goes above and beyond what you might expect to fulfill her role, and then some.
On the field, University of Tulsa football players take tough hits, make big plays and stand tall representing the Golden Hurricane. But they're also a family, and in every family there's a matriarch.
TU player Jesse Brubaker says, "She is like a mother figure to a lot of the guys on the team."
And Ashli Montgomery wouldn't have it any other way. She says she wants the players to know, "They are loved as part of a family, that they are more to us than just a football player that makes plays on the field."
And it shows. Ashli says every week during the season there's a family tradition.
"Sunday night family dinners," she said. "So all of the football team all of the coaches and all of their immediate family we have dinner together every Sunday night during football season."
For players like Brubaker, that environment translates both on and off the field.
"Personally, she's been a great motivator and times get tough she's always right there to pick you up," he said.
Most will tell you she has a heart of gold. In fact, her efforts reach far beyond the turf. Just ask Diane Powell with the Alzheimer's Association Oklahoma Chapter.
"Her first meeting that she came to she wasn't even unpacked yet. One of our other board members brought her to an advisory committee meeting and she got engaged from the very first day she was in Tulsa," she said.
You see, for Ashli, Alzheimer's is personal. Her grandmother lived with the disease and now Ashli says, "Phillip's Grandmother and now his mother are suffering. And now they will die from the disease. Not just living with it, but that will be the cause of their death and that is really, really hard to face every day."
So every day she works to make a difference raising awareness and funds for research and hopefully one day a cure.
Ashli works with many organizations in Tulsa. She's a proud mother of two and a wife of more than 21 years to TU head football coach Monty Montgomery.
Ashli says as far as the players are concerned, "I've always got their back and I'm in their corner and if they need something there is always someone to call even if mom is an hour or five hours or half a country away."
To the young men who wear the gold and blue, she is simply "Mama Monty." But to us, she is a Hometown Hero.
Click here to learn more about the Golden Hurricane. Click here to learn more about The Alzheimer's Association Oklahoma Chapter and how you can get involved. Click here for a link to MeAndCoach.com to learn more about Ashli and her family.