After a 13-year pro career, which included two call-ups to the majors, Luke Montz knew he wanted to coach baseball.

But he also has other priorities. So when the Red Sox called about a coaching job, Montz did not accept right away.

“People think, ‘The Boston Red Sox offer you a job, you take it for sure.’ ” Montz said. “But (my wife and I) stayed up numerous nights talking about it.

“I almost didn’t take the job because (I’d be) leaving my family. I didn’t want to put them through that.”

With assurances from his wife, Kerry, Montz took the job as a coach with the Portland Sea Dogs. On Sunday, with Kerry and their two daughters back home in Lafayette, Louisiana, Montz will spend Father’s Day with the Sea Dogs for a game in Bowie, Maryland – and then a nine-hour bus ride back to Portland.

“It’s tough,” Montz said, and he was not talking about the long road trip.

“Three weeks without seeing someone can wear on you. This is the first time I’ve ever done this.”

Montz, 34, is in a profession that is not family friendly. Time away from the wife and children is expected.

Montz is fighting the trend. As much as baseball is in his blood, it is secondary in his life. His family has always been with him. He married Kerry in 2010, and their first daughter, Camdyn, was born before the 2015 season.

“I’ve never been separated from her,” Montz said of Camdyn, now 4. “She was with us in Pawtucket.”

Montz, a catcher, finished his career in the Red Sox organization in Triple-A. He came up through the Expos/Nationals organization, reaching Washington for 10 games in 2010. He bounced around the minors and surfaced with Oakland for 13 games in 2013. He injured his shoulder in 2014, rehabbed and signed with the Red Sox in 2015 – when he had his wife and daughter with him in Pawtucket – but was released by the end of June.

Both the A’s and Red Sox were interested in Montz as a coach. He wanted time to separate the careers. “I didn’t want to be the friend hanging out,” he said. “I wanted to be the coach.”

It also was nice to be home. Montz volunteered as a coach at his alma mater, Acadiana High, and coached a summer college team. He started a lawn service, but even that job proved difficult for him to be away from Kerry, Camdyn and newborn Maysn.

“Every opportunity, if there was a little sprinkle, or anything, he would look for a reason to stay home with the girls,” Kerry said last week from their home in Louisiana.

Montz and Kerry knew each other in high school but did not date. Five years later, when she was in college and he was playing pro baseball, they met again. Kerry understood the life of a pro ball player – her neighbor was major league pitcher Gil Meche – and its challenges.

“I told him I knew what the baseball life was all about. We could be friends but we could never be more than that,” Kerry said, laughing. Her resolve did not last.

After his playing career, while Montz hesitated to become a pro coach, Kerry knew better.

“If my wife was answering the phone call (from the Red Sox),” Montz said, “she would have said ‘Yes, he’s signing right now, today, because this is what he loves to do and what he wants to do.’ She’s always supported me.”

Kerry agreed. “I would have said absolutely,” she said. “I thought this was the perfect time for us. The children are young. He’s passionate about baseball.”

Any fear that baseball would interfere with family?

“Luke is a very strong man, very family oriented,” she said.

So the couple came up with a plan.

Short-term, Kerry would continue work at a nursing home, where she is close to obtaining her license as an administrator. The family would come to Maine as often as possible. Kerry and Luke pulled out the Sea Dogs’ schedule and planned visits three to four weeks apart. Kerry and the kids made their second visit over Memorial Day weekend. They will return the first two weeks of July.

Between trips are numerous calls and FaceTime.

“It’s a priority every day,” Luke Montz said.

The phone rings “and Camdyn gets very excited,” Kerry said. “She looks forward to those calls. Every conversation begins with ‘Hey Dad. How are you? How was your day? How is Slugger?’ ”

The Sea Dogs’ mascot is popular among the Montz girls. And Montz appears popular in the Red Sox organization.

“Luke impressed us with his curiosity, good feel for the game and high energy he brought every day as a player,” said Red Sox director of player development Ben Crockett. “He’s continued that as a coach – great ability to connect with a wide variety of personalities, communicate, and always looking to get better.”

Wherever the Red Sox send Montz next year and beyond, he plans to have his family with him. Kerry’s schooling and training will be done and, once the girls are old enough, they will be home-schooled.

Camdyn will be pleased.

“She makes the comments that we should be together all the time,” Kerry said. “She knows what’s important.”

So does her dad.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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