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Cecil Combs ready for new opportunity

July 21, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LANCASTER - For almost a year Cecil Combs had been looking for the right opportunity to move into school administration.

Because he found that chance this week, Garrard County is now looking for a new boys basketball coach.

Combs, who had a 95-89 record as Garrard's coach the last seven years, is the new assistant principal and athletics director at Berea Independent School.

"It was an opportunity that recently became available and one that allowed me to go into administration and still live in Garrard County," said Combs, 49.

His two daughters wanted to continue going to high school in Garrard, a move Combs endorsed.

"I know I will miss coaching and may some day jump back into it, but this is also the right time for me to make this move. Berea is a good, small system for me to get my feet wet in," Combs said. "But I love Lancaster and Garrard County. I knew why my girls wanted to stay here.

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"I have good friends not only in Garrard County, but in the whole 12th Region. I have a lot of respect for the coaches I coached against. Garrard County opened a lot of doors for me and I'm glad I will still be around."

Garrard principal Kevin Stull understood why Combs could not say no to this opportunity even though he now only has about two weeks to find a new coach.

"Obviously, it's a promotion for him and we're excited about this move for him," Stull said. "He had expressed an interest in going into administrative work last summer. I feel good that he got this opportunity and wish him the best."

Combs had four straight winning seasons after going 4-22 his first year. His best seasons were 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 when both teams finished 19-8. Last year his team had a 12-15 record and won the 46th District title.

"I've been involved in all levels of coaching for 16 years," Combs said. "It's really been rewarding and I know I am going to miss the kids. I really got attached to several of them and I really hope that I can still see some games next year."

Stull has started a search for a replacement. He says no plans are being made yet for an interim coach. However, the new coach would have to fill Combs' vacant spot in the alternative school.

"We want to be selective and get the best person we can for our program," Stull said. "We have about two weeks to do a search and see if we can find anyone. If not, then we'll have to weigh what options we have and go from there."

Combs did offer one bit of historical encouragement.

"I got the job about this time of year. There will be people out there looking for a chance to be a head coach and Garrard is a great opportunity for the right person," Combs said.

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