By JORDAN KONIOR, Staff Reporter
The transition from dominance at the high school level to the collegiate level is a tough task for any head coach. But Scott Combs is more than ready to change the face of University of Michigan-Dearborn softball.
Like many coaches of today’s generation, the first-year head coach gained his passion for coaching from playing baseball most of his life. He played at the high school, college, semi-pro, and professional levels, as well as becoming a scout coach for the San Francisco Giants. His biggest prizes of being a professional athlete were participating in the Olympics in Australia and winning six national championships.
Combs developed his passion for softball and coaching under the King Boring and the Adray Kings.
“He taught me wisdom, patience, extreme high expectations, and loyalty to your team and coaches,” Combs said.
Following in Boring’s footsteps led to success for Combs at the AAU, high school, and collegiate levels.
At Ladywood High School (Livonia, Mich.), Combs led the softball team to a MHSAA state championship in 2012. Under Combs, the team made it to the semifinals five of the last six years.
Coaching for 10 years, Combs’ passion is strong. He refers to the quickness and fast pace of the games as his “favorite thing about coaching softball.” Over the 10-year period, he has won more than a “half-dozen state championships and runner up in the ASA National Tournament” while coaching travel softball from the ages 10U all the way up to 18U.
Throughout this time period of coaching, he said his greatest reward as having the opportunity to coach his daughter in “both travel and high school.”
Combs finds UM-Dearborn as “a sleeping giant in the softball world.” He refers to the university as a place with both great potential and academics, and says that it can “truly be a national level [softball] program.”
On April 6, 2014, Combs picked up his first WHAC win as the Lady Wolverines defeated the Aquinas Lady Saints 5-3 in a doubleheader. Not only did Combs pick up his first conference victory, but he has also lead the Lady Wolverines to more wins during this year’s spring games than the program had ever seen in school history.
Senior captain Michelle Hollister’s attitude can be described as very grateful to be able to learn from Combs.
“We were very lucky to get the three best coaches around that give us every little bit that they know…I could not be any happier with the changes that have been made, allowing us to become better as both individuals and as team overall,” she said.
With new coaches come a fresh attitude and culture that is adopted by players. Combs has led the Lady Wolverines to a 6-12 record in conference play, including a doubleheader sweep over the Lady Racers of University of Northwestern Ohio.
After finishing the season 18-26, the Lady Wolverines earned the eighth seed in the WHAC conference playoffs.
On day one of the WHAC playoffs, Davenport tossed a perfect game in an 8-0 victory over UM-Dearborn. The Lady Wolverines staved off elimination by defeating Aquinas 10-4.
UM-Dearborn was sent home after falling to Madonna 8-3 on day two of the WHAC Playoffs. In his first season, Combs’ Lady Wolverines finished the year with a 19-28 overall record.
It’s safe to say that Combs’ philosophy that “practice days are for the coaches, while game days are for the players,” has worked out after all. The 19 wins were the program’s highest since 2010.