MINOOKA – He must enjoy coaching high school football.
Otherwise, why would he be at this business for 48 consecutive years?
Minooka has hired a successor to Paul Forsythe, who left the position as head football coach after last season, and it is a Hall of Famer.
Shorewood resident Terry McCombs, 69, has not been a head coach since he completed a sterling 15-year run as Bloomington’s head coach in 1992. But he has been in demand as an assistant.
He was approved unanimously by the Minooka Community High School District 111 Board of Education at Thursday night’s meeting.
“We’re very happy with Terry’s hiring,” Minooka athletic director Bob Tyrell said. “We look to move forward with him. He has had great success over the years and brings a wealth of experience.”
McCombs’ teams at Bloomington posted a 111-43 overall record. His last six teams made the playoffs, highlighted by a state runner-up finish in 1991.
From Bloomington, McCombs moved to Downers Grove South, where he was AD and defensive coordinator for 10 years.
Then he returned to the Bloomington-Normal area and joined the staff of his old friend, Normal Community head coach Hud Venerable. The Ironmen won a state title during McCombs’ four years there.
Meanwhile, his daughter married, settled in Naperville and had kids.
“My wife said, ‘That’s it, we’re moving to the suburbs,’ ” McCombs said. “We got a place in Shorewood.
“I went back to Downers Grove South, then was at Lemont, where I was very happy. But Hud (Venerable])got the job at Lincoln-Way Central, and he said he would not accept it if I didn’t come along as his defensive coordinator. So I did.
“We were together two years, then they went a different way at Lincoln-Way Central, which was fine. The last two years, I’ve been at Reed-Custer, helping out an old friend, Mark Wolf.”
His options for the 2017 season were returning to Downers South as linebackers coach or becoming a head coach again, specifically, at Minooka.
“Where I live in Shorewood, I’m in the Minooka school district,” he said. “Number one with me is always the school district where I live. Two, it’s a good community and good school academically. Three, they have had success in all sports. They have had some success in football, but maybe I can help them have a little more.”
The Indians made the playoffs in 2015 under Forsythe and missed by a game last season, finishing 4-5.
“I’ve met some of the Minooka players,” McCombs said. “They’re impressive.”
McCombs is a defensive guru. Offensively, his Bloomington teams ran an inside veer or outside veer, depending on the talent he had.
“But there was a time we threw the ball a lot,” he said. “That’s when we had Billy Dicken, who went to Purdue [and was a first-team All-Big Ten quarterback]. He’s the offensive coordinator at ISU. I’m still in contact with him and Brock Spack, the head coach at ISU. We don’t have the same athletes in high school that they have at ISU, of course, but I still work with them on concepts.
“I used to run a triple option at Bloomington, but offenses have changed. These days, it’s run-pass options. But we still will be defense-oriented, aggressive football team.”
McCombs is anticipating a busy summer.
“I told Bob [Tyrell] that we will use all 25 summer days that we are allowed,” he said. “We will be game ready when we get to fall practice.”
Not as much contact in practice is allowed these days, but that’s no concern to McCombs.
“I never liked contact in practice, anyway,” he said. “We teach the proper tackling technique. I don’t want my best player standing on the sideline.”
How long will McCombs stay at it?
“I’ll coach as long as God lets me,” he said. “I love coaching, being around the kids.”