When Urban Meyer needed a replacement for then-secondary coach Bill Sheridan, who went to the NFL, he looked right into southwestern Ohio to pluck Cincinnati assistant coach Kerry Coombs.
In 11 months, Coombs has gone from a replacement to one of Meyer's most important assistant coaches, right up there with offensive coordinator Tom Herman and co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell.
Not much was initially thought of the move, although people from the area knew Coombs from his high school coaching days, including coaching the 2004 Cincinnati Colerain High School Cardinals, arguably one of the best teams in recent Ohio high school football, to a state championship.
He already had a reputation in the state of Ohio, then went to Cincinnati and had success under coaches Brian Kelly and Butch Jones before Meyer scooped him up on March 1, 2012.
Since he came to Columbus, the fans have come to appreciate Coombs for his seemingly never-ending supply of energy. Meyer, too, has a high level of respect for Coombs.
That is so much the case that Meyer has Coombs recruiting in the state of Michigan, starting at the end of the 2012 season.
Not only that, but he has given Coombs the keys to the special teams, naming him the special teams coordinator a week ago.
Those two things signify that Meyer has an outstanding amount of trust in a coach he hired less than a year ago, and who was a replacement hire. Meyer needed an energetic recruiter to target the state of his biggest rival, and he values special teams as much as any facet of the game.
We don't quite know yet the value of Coombs as a position coach, but his value as a recruiter is undeniable as he has already helped the Buckeyes land the verbal commitment of Detroit (Mich.) DB Damon Webb for the class of 2014.
Coombs' name is growing in the college football world as one of the most energetic recruiters in the country, and his passion for the game is undeniable.
In other words, he fits the description of a coach that "coaches like their hair's on fire," as Meyer referred to back in his introductory press conference.
He's fit that description perfectly in just 11 months on the job. The fans recognize it, and certainly Meyer has as well. That's why Kerry Coombs is one of the most important coaches on his staff.
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