The Toledo Blade wrote an interesting article on how the rise through the coaching profession has changed, citing new Ohio State corners coach Kerry Coombs as the perfect example.
Historically in Ohio, many great coaches have rose from the high school level to become college coaches (Woody Hayes, Earl Bruce...etc). At one time, high school used to be the pipeline for college coaches and administrators looking to fill their vacancies.
Ohio State has carried on that tradition, in a sense, with two assistants that were once former Ohio high school head coaches. Coombs is one of them, and tight ends coach Tim Hinton is the other.
Coombs modestly admits that Ohio is full of high school coaches that could handle coaching at the major college level. "I bang that drum all the time, I tell people all the time there's a lot of people coaching at this high school or that high school that can do this job. I'm not a better coach than a lot of guys I coached against. Some of them are probably better coaches than I am."
While he was happy at the high school level, Coombs definitely appreciates the opportunity he has now. "I was going to be a high school football coach until the day I die, now I'm going to coach on a national championship football team someday, can you imagine that? In my state?"
He said he almost quit after the first day because of the image of the approach that he had for college coaches. "I tried to be a college football coach, what I thought a college football coach should be and be cerebral and have my arms folded. I was absolutely miserable and almost quit after the first day. I decided I needed to coach the way I was comfortable, and that's the way I coach. I don't know any other way."
He shares a little bit of advice for high school coaches hoping to make the jump to the big time someday.
"Pray, you like to think that you found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." he said while laughing. "I would tell every high school coach to do the best you can at the job you have, don't worry about what's coming. I didn't look for any of these jobs. Something is just out there for you. If you're good at what you do and you try hard and you try to be a good person, something good is coming your way. It has for me."