Updated August 19, 2012
Gordy Combs returns for his fourth season as a member of head coach Jim Margraff's coaching staff and will once again coach the Blue Jay strong safeties (OLBs) in JHU's 4-4-3 alignment.
In Combs' three seasons on the staff the Blue Jays have known nothing but success as they have compiled a 28-7 record, claimed three straight Centennial Conference titles, advanced to the NCAA Playoffs twice and won an ECAC Championship.
The second-winningest coach in the history of the Towson University football program with a career record of 92-90, Combs joined the Johns Hopkins staff as a volunteer in 2009 and promptly helped lead the Blue Jays to a 10-3 record, the Centennial Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals. One of his players - Colin Wixted - earned Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and the JHU defense forced at least two turnovers in all 13 games during the 2009 season.
The success of 2009 carried over to 2010 as JHU earned a share of the Centennial title and won the ECAC South Atlantic Championship. Combs' group of strong safeties was dominated by young players who gained valuable experience and fueled a defense that held its final four opponents to a combined 33 points.
While the Blue Jay offense grabbed most of the headlines during a record-breaking 2011 season, the JHU defense more than held its own as Hopkins ranked among the the top 25 nationally in total defense (10th), scoring defense (12th), pass defense (17th), sacks (21st) and rushing defense (25th); Combs' strong safeties excelled against the run and pass and his top four players are due to return in 2012.
A 1972 Towson graduate, Combs joined the Tigers' staff immediately after graduation and served as an assistant coach until being elevated to the head coaching spot in 1992. He guided the Tigers through several conference changes in his 17 years as head coach and transitioned the team from non-scholarship status to full scholarship status as Towson moved from the Patriot League to the Atlantic 10 (now CAA) in 2004. The CAA is arguably the top FCS conference in the nation.
Combs led the Tigers to nine winning seasons and twice (1993, 1994) his teams were nationally ranked at the end of the season. He was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 1999, garnered the National Football Foundation's Special Achievement Award in 1994 and 2000 and received the Baltimore Touchdown Club's George Young Lifetime Achievement Award and the All-American Football Federation's Johnny Vaught Award in 2003.
With the team success came individual accolades for Combs' players at Towson. A pair of Tigers, Tony Vinson (RB 1994) and Jermon Bushrod (OL 2007), were selected in the NFL draft and five players were consensus First Team All-Americans under his guidance.
Combs' tenure at Towson was also marked by a strong record of academic success. Eight of his players were named to the NCAA's FCS All-Academic Team, two were selected as National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes and one garnered First Team Academic All-America accolades. In addition, 108 of his players were named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, while 47 more were named to the Atlantic 10/CAA Academic All-Conference Team.
Combs was inducted into the Towson University Athletic Hall of Fame last fall.