Former Ohio State assistant Kerry Coombs returning to Buckeyes as defensive coordinator

USATSI

A staple of former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's tenure with the Buckeyes is returning to the program. Former secondary coach and assistant defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is returning to Columbus as the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator, the school announced on Monday. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Coombs will make at least $1.2 million annually.

Coombs first joined the Buckeyes as secondary coach and special teams coordinator part of Meyer's first staff in 2012, and was eventually promoted to assistant coordinator in charge of defense in 2017. His initial stint with the program included three years in which his secondary finished in the top two in the Big Ten in interceptions. The Buckeyes defense notched 25 interceptions in 2015 -- tied for second-most nationally behind three teams with 26.

"Kerry Coombs is the coach I was really hoping we could hire and bring back to Ohio State," coach Ryan Day said in a statement. "He is an excellent coach and he has had two outstanding seasons in the NFL on Mike Vrabel's staff with the Tennessee Titans.

"I've spent a season on staff with Kerry and I really like his coaching and knowledge of the game, but I also like that he knows Ohio State and he knows how to recruit to Ohio State. He's recruited some of the players currently on the team and he coached a handful of Buckeye defensive backs who went on to become first round NFL draft picks." 

He most recently served as the secondary coach for the Tennessee Titans from 2018-19. The Titans got knocked out of the NFL playoffs after losing the AFC Championship Game to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. His Titans secondary finished tied for eighth in the regular season with 14 interceptions. His first defense in Tennessee finished sixth in the NFL in passing defense at 216.9 yards per game), eighth in opponent passer rating of 88.4 and finished ninth after giving up an opponent completion percentage of 63.2 percent.

Coombs will replace Jeff Hafley, who served as the Buckeyes' secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator in 2019 and left the program to take the head coaching job at Boston College after the season. Greg Mattison is still on staff as the remaining co-defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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