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Coombs departure holds conversation on Day 1

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Butch Jones confirmed earlier reports following the first day of spring practice for the Bearcats. Kerry Coombs has left the program.

All reports have Coombs landing at Ohio State, but neither UC nor the Buckeyes officially confirmed that on Thursday.
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Jones said he wasn't really surprised at Coombs' departure. He talked at length with him about the decision and understands why he's decided to move on.

"Obviously, family decisions come in and opportunities that maybe could set him up for a lifetime," Jones said. "We are very, very close. We spent a lot of time discussing it. At the end of the day, he has to make a decision that he feels best for him and his family."

Coombs spent five seasons with the Bearcats after spending the majority of his coaching career as the head coach at Colerain High School. He's a bit of a high school legend inside the I-275 belt and there lies the biggest question surrounding his departure: who will man the fields on UC's home recruiting turf?

Jones will turn to assistant Mark Elder to take over the Greater Cincinnati recruiting mantle and rightly points out the Cincinnati ties aren't lost. Elder attended Sycamore High School and remains a prominent name within the city limits.

"(Recruiting) will not suffer one bit," Jones said. "We have great coaches, great recruiters. It's all about relationships. The high school coaches in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area understand that we are their football team, we are their institution and we are open to them. We have those relationships already etched in stone."

As for taking over Coombs' position on the staff, Jones didn't have to wait long to see a list of candidates lining up to join his team.

"We will do a national search," Jones said. "We'll have the best of the best. My phone has already been blowing up and candidates from the National Football League to all over the country and the big thing is going to be the best fit for us. The greatest teacher, the greatest character individual and greatest recruiter that we can find."

When teams have success, assistant coaches are plucked away. It happens all across the country and Jones views this as a compliment in the same manner Tim Banks move to Illinois was viewed as a compliment.

"Everyone understands what we have," Jones said. "We really are an attractive commodity in the world of college football. People see what we are doing here at the University of Cincinnati. They have great respect of our coaches and like what we are doing."

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