Rumors broke yesterday that Associate Head Football Coach/Defensive Backs Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Passing Game Coordinator Kerry Coombs was interviewing for a vacant position at Ohio State University:
Ohio State: Sources tell us that Cincinnati associate head coach / defensive backs / special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs interviewed yesterday in Columbus with Urban and the staff. Coombs is an Ohio guy through and through. He had an .826 winning percentage at Colerain High School. Don’t be surprised if he gets the job.
Initially the timing seemed strange considering the Bearcats start spring practice today and Coombs just received a new title along with a pay raise. In addition, his son Dylan just signed his Letter of Intent as a preferred walk-on with Cincinnati and Kerry has been in the Queen City for much of his life.
Now it seems like this is more or less a done deal:
Kerry Coombs appears to be the choice by Urban Meyer to fill the vacancy on his Ohio State football coaching staff, though that was not confirmed by officials last night.
So the big question is why?
While I obviously can only speculate on the reason, I think a number of factors are at play here. First of all, from a networking standpoint this is a great move for him. It’s no secret that he has been looking to get a college head coaching gig at the D-1 level since leaving Colerain so many years ago. Working under Urban Meyer who is one of the most respected coaches in the business will surely open some doors for him. It also doesn’t hurt that he will be coaching in one of the premier college football programs in the nation. Also I think Kerry might have felt pigeon-holed at UC. Although he’s first and foremost a Cincinnati guy and would have loved to coach the Bearcats, the administration constantly went over him to hire head coaches from the outside. I also think he may have had hopes of getting at least a Co-Defensive Coordinator position this season when Tim Banks left moving himself that much closer to a head coaching job. When neither of those things occurred, Coombs looked elsewhere.
This now presents an intriguing problem for the Bearcats as the timing of this news is just horrible. Not only did Coombs fulfill a number of positions but spring football practice started today. It’s unclear to me just who will take over coaching the secondary for UC and Jones may even opt to hire someone from the outside. Although, it might be too late to do even that and we could see former UC cornerback Mike Mickens get a more hands-on role with the Cincinnati DBs. It’s unclear who will take on the special teams duties.
From a recruiting standpoint I doubt this changes much of anything. Coombs was instrumental in locking up recruits around Indianapolis but Butch Jones should a household name in the high schools around that city. Plus, Warren Central is a feeder school for UC now. It might hurt in Cincinnati but to be honest the Bearcats never had much success within the 513 loop even with Coombs leading the way. And if you think this will might spurn future recruits who might consider UC to switch to Ohio State well guess again. That was happening anyway. The Buckeyes will by-and-large get the best recruits in the state of Ohio regardless of who is on the staff.
3.1.2012 Update: Running backs coach Mark Elder will take over recruiting the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area, per Butch Jones.
The Bearcats are set up now better than ever to recruit the best players from around the country. T.J. Weist (new recruiting coordinator), John Jancek, and to a lesser extent Mark Elder have opened up doors to recruits in the Memphis, Georgia, and Florida recruiting grounds. With them still on the staff UC should continue to cultivate those fields for solid talent. So while Coombs leaving might be an immediate setback Cincinnati recruiting keep right on chugging.