Photos from UC's week in Memphis, Tenn. for the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Kerry Coombs, who directed Colerain High School in suburban Cincinnati to a Division I state championship (2004) and four other semifinal appearances, enters his fifth season at UC.
Following the close of UC's BIG EAST Championship winning season in 2008, he was promoted to Associate Head Coach. He added the additional responsibility of special teams coordinator in 2010 and was named the defensive passing game coordinator following the 2011 season.
In 2008, Coombs mentored three NFL Draft picks, Mike Mickens (Dallas Cowboys), DeAngelo Smith (Dallas Cowboys), and Brandon Underwood (Green Bay Packers). Mickens was a second-team Walter Camp all-America honoree and UC's all-time leader in interceptions and interception return yardage, while Underwood was a first-team all-BIG EAST performer at safety in his only season at UC. Smith was the national leader in interceptions in 2007 with eight, and ranks second in UC history behind Mickens. The defense finished 31st in the nation in total defense (321.9 ypg) in 2008.
Coombs' first campaign as a member of the UC staff yielded instant results. The 2007 defense, led by his ball-hawking secondary, led the NCAA with 26 interceptions and 42 takeaways. That season, Coombs coached all-BIG EAST safety Haruki Nakamura, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft.
One of the most celebrated prep coaches in Ohio, Coombs compiled a 161-34 (.826) record in 16 seasons at Colerain. His 2004 team posted a 15-0 record and won the state's Division I title with a 50-10 win in the championship game. Over his last seven seasons at Colerain, the Cardinals won seven league titles while compiling an 86-8 (.915) record.
Coombs' 2006 team went 13-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the final Ohio Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA Today national rankings.
His success at Colerain emphasized a defense he personally coached. In 2006, the Cardinals posted six shutouts and yielded just over a touchdown per game.
Coombs has mentored Ohio Division I Defensive Player of the Year award winners in 2004 and 2006, including former UC defensive tackle Terrill Byrd, who was also the national high school Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.
Coombs guided Colerain to 10 playoff appearances and seven undefeated regular-season records. The Cardinals won the Greater Miami Conference title and advanced to the regional finals of the state playoffs in each of his final seven seasons.
A member of the University of Dayton's 1980 NCAA Division III National Championship team, Coombs completed his bachelor's degree at Dayton in 1983 and later earned his master's in education at Wright State.