Head cross country and track coach Ron Combs has a long history with both the Wilmington College track and cross country programs.
As a graduate of and former athlete at WC, Combs knows the program and people well. He currently is in his 18th season as the head coach of WC men's and women's cross country teams and will enter his 16th season as head coach of the men's and women's track teams.
During his collegiate career he was a four-year letterman in both track and cross country and was named team captain of the school's only cross country team to win a conference title. Combs began his coaching career immediately after graduating from WC in 1993. He went back to his hometown of Tiffin to be an assistant track and cross country coach at Heidelberg College, but when the opportunity presented itself to return to Wilmington as an assistant coach, Combs didn't hesitate.
"As a graduate of Wilmington, I knew the college well and I enjoyed my four years there as a student-athlete," Combs said. "I enjoyed Wilmington so much that I was eager to return." Combs put in a couple of seasons as the assistant cross country and track coach before being promoted.
In 1997, his dedication and coaching talents paid off in the form of the head coaching position of the Quakers' cross country teams. From his start, there were just six men and three women on the Quakers' roster. With such low numbers, the team didn't have any hope of competing with the top teams in the state. Combs, however, made sure those days remained long gone. He has since built the WC roster up, and his teams are not only competing with the best in the state, but have gained national recognition as well.
In addition to the teams' athletic accomplishments, the Quakers also have garnered several All-Academic Team honors from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Combs' success with the cross country teams spilled over onto the track after he was named the Quakers' head track & field coach in 1998. Again, he started with small numbers, but has since built a program that has caught the eye of the nation.
Combs was a two-time recipient of the HCAC's Coach of the Year award and also has been named the Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. In addition to his success at the conference level, Combs' teams have also cracked into the Top 30 nationally. His 2002 Men's Indoor Track and Field team placed sixth at the NCAA Championships and his 2004 women's team placed seventh overall in Division III.
Combs also has coached 170 athletes to national qualifying marks, 60 All-Americans and four national champions.
He resides in Wilmington with his wife Kelley and their sons, Dylan and Cameron.