Coombs had coached for the Raiders since 2001 and was the defensive coordinator under head coach Ernie Howren.
Luckily for the Blue and Gold, there was a qualified replacement waiting on the sidelines for his chance at one of the top coaching positions.
Jack Buice has been coaching with Reed for five years and was promoted from the offensive and defensive lines coach last year.
“Coach Buice played for us. His senior year was 2002,” Howren said. “We may have changed the look of our offense and defense, when it comes down to it, the scheme is the same. The type of plays we’re running, are the same type of plays we were running when Jack played for us.”
There were some questions surrounding the Raiders’ defense this year with only four starters returning, but some were answered Saturday when Reed held Manogue to only 10 points.
“Every first game of the season you’re nervous, but I knew we had a great group of guys who were going to fly around and give everything they could,” Buice said after Reed’s 26-10 win and his first game as defensive coordinator. “This was their game. They were the ones out on the field making plays.”
Like many successful programs, Reed relies on its grads to come back and help the program continue its tradition of excellence. Buice is one of 12 former Reed players now on the coaching staff.
“The biggest thing is school pride. They have a huge connection as soon as they walk in the door,” Howren said. “Obviously coaching, you build bonds with the kids and the school just because the amount of time you spend here and the passion you have for the game. Now you add to it you’re coaching that you played for, that’s something special. I think that’s why we have so many of them here.”
Across town, Sparks High is also taking a good portion of its football staff from the pool of former students. Half of Sparks’ coaching staff is comprised of Sparks alums, spanning over three decades of the football program.
“Anytime you can bring an alumnus back, you’d hope they’d coach a little harder for their alma mater. It’s nice to have,” Sparks coach Rob Kittrell said.
Spanish Springs has not had its doors open long enough to build a solid alumni base within its coaching staff, but it has pulled coaching talent from other local schools like Sparks and Wooster.
A positive sign for the future is the Cougars had alumni on the sidelines for the preseason scrimmage last weekend, and coach Scott Hare is excited about building a tradition at the ninth-year school.
“Are schools like Reed and Sparks ahead of us? Absolutely because those schools have been around a lot longer,” Hare said. “We’ll get there eventually. I tell the kids that within the next 10 years, our coaching staff will be 90 percent alumni, and I believe that. I think that’s why a team like McQueen can lose a guy like (Ken) Dalton and still be a successful. Look at their coaching staff. It’s all alumni and people who believe in the school.
“I want to get that here. When our kids get older, go to college and then give back to the community, I expect our alumni to come back to Spanish Springs. I openly want them there.”