Ohio State hires Coombs to coach corners
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer announced today that Kerry Coombs, an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati the past five years and before that an outstanding Ohio high school head coach at Colerain, has been named an assistant coach for the Buckeyes in charge of the team’s cornerbacks.
Coombs, associate head coach at UC in addition to his responsibilities as the team’s defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator, follows the trend of Ohio State assistants who are not only considered terrific coaches, but are coaches with ties to the state of Ohio.
Coombs [pronounced “combs”] grew up in Colerain, graduated from Colerain High School in 1979 and from the University of Dayton in 1983, and has a master’s degree from Wright State (1996). He was a high school coach in Ohio for 24 seasons, including a highly successful 16-year run as head coach at Colerain, located just outside of Cincinnati.
“Kerry Coombs had an incredible record of achievement as a high school head coach and he is highly regarded as one of the great coaches in Ohio high school football history,” Meyer said. “I have watched him coach in high school and at the University of Cincinnati and I have great respect for the way he works. He is a strong recruiter. He knows defense and special teams. And he is an excellent teacher.”
And he wants to be at Ohio State.
“I am incredibly excited to be on this coaching staff,” Coombs said. “I am overwhelmed by the quality of everything, especially the coaches and the players. When you grow up in Ohio, there are things you don’t allow yourself to dream about. I watched Woody and Archie and Pete Johnson and Cornelius Greene…and now I get to coach here? This is unbelievably humbling and gratifying for me.
“This team is full of Ohio kids wanting to win a national championship for their state school. It’s hard for me to imagine having a better opportunity than this.”
Coombs has 29 years of coaching behind him as he enters the 2012 season with the Buckeyes, including five years with the Bearcats. Hired away from Colerain by Brian Kelly after the 2006 high school season, Coombs was part of Kelly’s three Cincinnati teams that were 33-7 overall and played in BCS bowl games after the 2008 (Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech) and 2009 (Sugar Bowl vs. Florida) seasons.
After Kelly left UC for Notre Dame after the 2009 season, Coombs stayed on new UC coach Butch Jones’ staff. After an initial 4-8 season under Jones, Cincinnati went 10-3 this past season with a Liberty Bowl win over Vanderbilt.
While at UC Coombs mentored three NFL draft picks: second-team All-American and UC career interception leader Mike Mickens (Dallas Cowboys), 2007 NCAA interception leader DeAngelo Smith (Dallas Cowboys) and all-BIG EAST performer Brandon Underwood (Green Bay Packers). He also coached Haruki Nakamura in 2007, his first year at UC and a year the Bearcats led the nation with 26 interceptions.
Coombs, a member of the University of Dayton’s 1980 Division III national championship team while studying secondary education, charged through the high school ranks after his playing days were over. He spent two seasons as an assistant at Greenhills High School and four at Lakota before taking over as head coach at Loveland in 1989. Two years later – 1991 – he took over at Colerain.
In 16 seasons at Colerain Coombs’ teams went to 10 state playoffs, including five state semifinal berths. His 2004 team won the Division I state championship with a 15-0 mark that included a record-setting title game win over Canton McKinley, 50-10. It was – and still is – the most points scored and the largest margin of victory in the Ohio “big school” state title game.
Colerain won seven consecutive Greater Miami Conference championships under Coombs from 2000-06, and Coombs had a 161-34 record as head coach. His overall head coaching record through 18 seasons is 167-48.
Coombs sent five of his Colerain players to Ohio State, including Jefferson Kelley in the mid-1990s and most recently Connor and Spencer Smith and Tyler Moeller. He played on Colerain teams that included the Smith brothers’ father, Joe, an Academic All-Big Ten lineman for the Buckeyes in the early 1980s.
Coombs and his wife, Holly, are the parents of three grown children: son Brayden played collegiately at Miami (Ohio) and is currently on staff with the Cincinnati Bengals; daughter Courtney played soccer at Ball State; and son Dylan is a high school senior.