Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs hired by Cincinnati

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs walks onto the field prior to the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

Former Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is headed home to coach at the University of Cincinnati.

UC coach Luke Fickell confirmed Coombs' hiring to The Dispatch as cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator. The hiring was first reported by ESPN's Pete Thamel.

Coombs had both of those responsibilities at Ohio State before leaving for the Tennessee Titans under former Buckeye colleague Mike Vrabel and then returning as OSU's defensive coordinator in 2020.

Coombs replaces UC cornerbacks coach Perry Eliano, who was hired last week as Ohio State's safeties coach.

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Coombs is a Cincinnati native who rose to prominence by building Colerain High School into a powerhouse.

Coombs was among the defensive coaches not retained by Ohio State coach Ryan Day following the unit's struggles in 2021. Day took away play-calling responsibilities from Coombs after the loss to Oregon in the second game of the season, giving them to secondary coach Matt Barnes.

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Barnes was hired as the University of Memphis' defensive coordinator after the season. Linebackers coach Al Washington landed at Notre Dame as defensive line coach. Now Coombs has a new home as well.

Coombs had impressive success as cornerbacks coach at Ohio State. Seven of his players became first-round NFL draft picks.

Bill Rabinowitz covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @brdispatch.

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