CINCINATI — University of Cincinnati football head coach Luke Fickell announced on Tuesday the addition of assistant coach Kerry Coombs. He will serve as the Bearcats’ special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach.
Coombs joins the Bearcats after serving most recently as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2020 and 2021. He also was an assistant coach at OSU from 2012 to 2017 where he developed five first-round NFL draft picks.
Coombs previously coached at UC from 2007 to 2011, overseeing defensive backs and special teams during his tenure. Additionally, he coached with the Tennessee Titans (2017-18) and had an exceptional run as the head coach at Colerain High School, his alma mater, in Cincinnati, from 1991 to 2006.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Kerry Coombs and his family back to Cincinnati and to our program,” Fickell said in a statement. “Kerry has had tremendous success everywhere he has been at the high school, college and professional levels because he’s an exceptional motivator and teacher of the game. Coaching with him, I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact Kerry can have on a program. He’s an excellent special teams coach and he will do a great job developing our cornerbacks."
Coombs, a former longtime Colerain High School head coach is in his second stint at UC. He joined UC in 2007 under then-head coach Brian Kelly’s staff. Coombs stayed through the 2011 season – working under Kelly and then Butch Jones.
Coombs spent his first five seasons with the Buckeyes as Ohio State’s cornerbacks coach before being promoted in 2017 to assistant defensive coordinator. He was also the special team’s coordinator for five seasons, from 2013 through 2017.
Ohio State had five first-round NFL draft choices that Coombs developed between 2014 and 2018, including Bengals cornerback Eli Apple (2016, New York Giants).
Coombs was also the Tennessee Titans cornerbacks coach for two seasons (2018-19) before returning to Ohio State.
He was known for his significant college recruiting efforts during his time at Ohio State and UC. Coombs, a Reading Sorrentos Hamilton County Sports Hall of Famer, 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).
The Cincy local was a member of the University of Dayton’s 1980 Division III national championship team.
He started his high school coaching career as an assistant at Greenhills High School for two seasons. He was a Lakota High School assistant for four seasons 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 season.
That 2004 Colerain team will be inducted into the Buddy LaRosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame in June.