Coombs joins OSU staff

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 03/03/2012 4:05 PM

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Coombs to Join Meyer’s Staff at Ohio State
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maybe the third time will be a charm for Urban Meyer as he fills out his first coaching staff at Ohio State.

After losing his first two cornerbacks coaches to promotions elsewhere, Meyer has finally found the guy to complete his staff in Columbus, at least we think.

Sources confirmed to that associate head coach Kerry Coombs is leaving the University of Cincinnati after five years to coach the defensive backs in Columbus.

Ohio State has not officially confirmed the hire of Coombs, who will replace Bill Sheridan on OSU’s defensive staff, but he has already cleared out his desk at Cincinnati, where he was recently named defensive pass game coordinator under UC coach Butch Jones.

“We are very grateful for what he has brought to the University of Cincinnati and our football program,” Jones said.

“We spent a lot of time discussing it and, at the end of the day, he has to make a decision that he feels (is) best for him and his family. We support him. And we wish him well.”

Coombs, 50, is a Cincinnati native who was an extremely successful high school coach in Ohio, leading Colerain High School to a 161-34 (.826) record in 16 seasons. He guided the Cardinals to 10 playoff appearances and seven undefeated regular-season records. His 2004 team posted a perfect 15-0 record and won Ohio’s Division I state title with a 50-10 win over Canton McKinley in the championship game.

Three years later, Coombs moved to the college game as the defensive backs coach for Brian Kelly at the University of Cincinnati. Coombs’ first year with the Bearcats yielded big results. U.C. led the NCAA with 26 interceptions and 42 takeaways.

He was promoted to associate head coach at Cincinnati after UC's Big East Championship winning season in 2008. Coombs was retained by Jones, who took over for Kelly after left for Notre Dame in 2010. Kelly tried to bring Coombs with him to South Bend, but he opted to stay at Cincinnati, where he was given the additional responsibility of special teams coordinator.

He was named the defensive passing game coordinator following the 2011 season, but became interested in Ohio State’s vacancy after Sheridan was lured away from Columbus to become the defensive coordinator for Greg Schiano, now head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sheridan had been hired to replace Taver Johnson, Ohio State’s longtime cornerbacks coach who was initially retained by Meyer during the coaching change. Johnson eventually left Ohio State for the co-defensive coordinator job at Arkansas, where he will work under former colleague Paul Haynes.

Coombs met with Meyer, along with defensive assistants Luke Fickell and Everett Withers, who will be involved with coaching the defensive backs at Ohio State. With the addition of Coombs, Withers is also the only coach on the staff without ties to Ohio.

A graduate of the University of Dayton in 1983, Coombs was a member of the Flyers' 1980 NCAA Division III National Championship team. He also holds a masters degree from Wright State University.

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