Combs steps down as Alexander coach

Matt Combs has stepped down as the Alexander Cougars football coach after leading that program to 63 wins during his 11 seasons as the head coach.

After carefully surveying his personal situation and the standing of the football program at Alexander High School, Matt Combs has decided to step down as head coach.

Combs said he wants to spend more time with his family as his two children are getting older.

Combs announced via Twitter on Monday afternoon that he was leaving the program after 11 seasons as the coach.

“It is one of those situations where it is the right time,” said Combs, who leaves with the most wins in program history. “I always said that I wanted to leave when the program had a good future. I said I would always know when the time was right. My kids are getting older and I want to spend as much time with them as I can before they leave the house.”

During his 11 seasons as head coach of the Cougars, Combs compiled a 63-56 record with seven state playoff appearances. The Cougars made the postseason every year between 2013-2017.

The 2013 team went 8-5 to reach the quarterfinals, marking the first time in school history the Cougars had advanced that far.

In 2016, he led the team to a 10-2 finish and second round playoff appearance. It was only the second time in program history that Alexander had double-digit wins in a season.

“I love this place and plan on staying in Douglas County,” Combs said. “I’m 100% committed to Douglas County. We have been here 15 years, and we have raised our kids here. I’m thankful for everything the county has given us, and I want to do right by it.”

Alexander Principal Chris Small said replacing Combs will be tough because of what he brought to the school in general.

“It is a loss for us,” Small said. “He has made such a positive impact on us. I’m thankful for his leadership around the school, with his team and in the community. He has built a football program that is recognized throughout the state.”

Small said because Combs helped built a playoff contending program that he anticipates a strong group of candidates.

A new coach is expected to be named in mid-February after going through the application and interview process.

“Coach Combs prepared his athletes for life,” Small said. “We will go through the vetting process and choose the best candidate for the position.”

Combs’ 63 wins ranks third all-time among coaches in the county. He is surpassed only by former Douglas County High coaches Jimmy Johnson (108 wins) and Phil Williams (86 wins).

“I’ve always cared about this school, the kids and the community,” Combs said. “Hopefully everyone involved had a great experience. I throughly enjoyed it.”

Chapel Hill coach Justin DeShon said Combs leaves big shoes to fill at the school and in the county.

DeShon was the offensive coordinator on Combs’ first staff in 2010.

“Matt is a hard worker and extremely smart guy,” DeShon said. “He built that program into the top program in the county. Everyone was chasing them and wanted to emulate their success.”