Ohio State announced on Thursday that Ohio State cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs has been promoted to the additional title of Assistant Coordinator, Defense by head coach Urban Meyer.
“Kerry Coombs is absolutely deserving of this promotion to assistant coordinator, defense,” Meyer said. “He is an outstanding coach, instructor and mentor to the young men in this program. He is one of the best recruiters in the nation. He is incredibly loyal, and we at Ohio State are very fortunate that he loves this school and loves being a Buckeye.”
Coombs is in his sixth season with Ohio State. He will continue to oversee his cornerbacks. The promotion is the fulfillment of Urban Meyer’s promise from months ago that Coombs would be more involved in coordinating the Ohio State defense.
“I’m going to evaluate what’s the best for our program,” Meyer said in the spring. “I’m going to watch coach Davis, watch coach Coombs, and obviously Larry’s a very integral part. Kerry will have a much more expanded role just because of the nature of Greg is the defensive coordinator and now Luke Fickell’s gone, so he’s going to give a little more attention to the front seven, that means Kerry will have a lot more responsibility in the back end of our defense.”
When asked about his increased role this spring, Coombs responded as an Urban Meyer assistant should.
“I don’t know how you can get more involved,” he laughed. “There’s only 24 hours in a day. We’re all in there together. We all do this together. We work really, really hard. That defensive staff is really a special group of guys.”
With Schiano as the sole defensive coordinator, however, Coombs found himself working more with the secondary as a whole.
“I think there’s more time for us to coach together the corners and the safeties,” he said. “And more time in five-minute blocks in practice when I’ve got the whole back end, because that communication between corner and safety is so important, and we’ve done that every practice so far and I think that works. And half the kids in that room I recruited, so there’s great communication between those kids anyway. We’re trying to win every single game and we’re trying to play the best defense we possibly can on every snap, and I think there’s four guys that are really committed.”
The Kerry Coombs File
Kerry Coombs is the Ohio State Buckeyes’ cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator. He is in his sixth season as coach of the cornerbacks and he is in his fourth season as special teams coordinator, and he’s among the best in the business at his coaching expertise.
His outstanding tenure at Ohio State includes the truly remarkable – he’s had three of his cornerbacks taken in the first round of the past two NFL Drafts; a first! – and the remarkable: every one of his starters at cornerback who have exhausted their eligibility has reached the NFL.
Both of his starting cornerbacks in 2016 – Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley – were selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, setting the record of three cornerbacks chosen over consecutive drafts. Lattimore went No. 11 to the New Orleans Saints and Conley went to Oakland with the 24th pick;
Eli Apple was a first-round NFL Draft pick in 2016, taken with the 10th overall pick by the New York Giants;
Doran Grant was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by Pittsburgh.
Bradley Roby was a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2014; and
Travis Howard signed a free agent contract in 2013 with Houston.
Each of those cornerbacks had outstanding careers as a Buckeye.
Lattimore and Conley helped Ohio State rank fourth nationally in 2016 with 21 interceptions – each player had four – and first nationally with seven interceptions returned for touchdowns. Ohio State was also third nationally in passing efficiency defense. Conley was a team captain. Lattimore was first-team all-Big Ten.
Apple was a freshman All-American as a starter on the 2014 national championship team and earned second-team all-Big Ten honors as a third-year sophomore in 2015.
Grant made it three consecutive years for a cornerback to be named first-team all-Big Ten when he was honored in 2014 after serving as co-captain of Ohio State’s College Football Playoff national championship team.
Howard and Roby was the only pair of cornerbacks from one school in the nation to earn first-team all-conference honors in 2012. Roby, in fact, led the nation with 1.73 passes defended per game, a total that included a school-record-tying 17 pass break-ups, and he was named a first-team ESPN.com All-American. Howard led the Big Ten in interceptions with four and .33 per game. Roby repeated as a first-team all-Big Ten performer in 2013.
Coombs, for his part, said he wanted to win a national championship with Ohio State and he has certainly done that, as well as being a part of the sixth undefeated/untied season in school history in 2012, Big Ten and Sugar Bowl championships in 2014 along with the CFP national championship, a 31-1 record vs. Big Ten competition, a school-record 24-game winning streak plus a second 23-game win streak, and an NCAA FBS-record 50 wins over four seasons.
The 2017 season will be Coombs’ 35th in coaching, a tenure that includes a highly successful 16-year run as head coach at Colerain High School, located just outside of Cincinnati.
Prior to his position with Ohio State, Coombs spent five seasons at the University of Cincinnati, including three years as associate head coach in addition to his responsibilities as the team’s defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator.
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 for two years.
While at UC Coombs mentored four NFL draft picks: second-team All-American and UC career interception leader Mike Mickens (Dallas Cowboys), 2007 NCAA interception leader DeAngelo Smith (Dallas Cowboys), all-BIG EAST performer Brandon Underwood (Green Bay Packers) and Haruki Nakamura (Baltimore Ravens). The Bearcats led the nation with 26 interceptions in 2007
Coombs is a lifelong Ohioan. He 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).
“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 when he hired Coombs. “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.”
Coombs was a member of the University of Dayton’s 1980 Division III national championship team while studying secondary education. He then charged through the high school ranks: spending 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. Colerain won seven consecutive Greater Miami Conference championships 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 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 Cortney played soccer at Ball State; and son Dylan is in the Lindner Honors Plus business program at the University of Cincinnati.
Kerry Coombs Coaching Experience
2013-pres. Cornerbacks/Special Teams Coord Ohio State
2012 Cornerbacks Ohio State
2009-11 Assoc. Head Coach/DBs/Special Teams Cincinnati
2007-08 Defensive Backs Cincinnati
1991-06 Head Coach Colerain H.S. (Cincinnati)
1989-90 Head Coach Loveland (Ohio) H.S.
1985-88 Assistant Coach Lakota (Ohio) H.S.
1983-84 Assistant Coach Greenhills (Ohio) H.S.
Kerry Coombs Quick Facts
Hometown: Colerain, Ohio
High School: Colerain
Alma Mater: Dayton (1983)
Year in Coaching: 34th (Fifth year at Ohio State)
Family: Wife, Holly
Children: Sons, Brayden (wife is Alex) and Dylan (wife is Ciara); daughter, Cortney (husband is Rob); he also has two grandchildren: Harper (daughter of Brayden and Alex) and Avery (daughter of Cortney and Rob).