By Tommy Keeler Jr.
There's been a Combs coaching boys basketball at Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy since 1977, and that won't change next season. Phil Combs has been hired to take his father, Ron's, place as boys basketball coach.
Ron Combs stepped down recently to take over at Legacy Christian Academy, a new school in Stephens City.
"I'm looking forward to it," Phil Combs said. "It's going to be a challenge, but I think I'm up for the challenge."
Phil Combs coached at SVCA both in boys basketball and soccer before. He stepped away from coaching to spend more time with his family. He said that now that his children are a little older, he decided he would have time to coach again.
Phil Combs said he talked to his father several months ago about coaching with him at SVCA this season. Once his father resigned, Phil Combs was asked to coach and it was a perfect opportunity for him.
Phil Combs said he knows it will be tough to replace his father.
"He's the one I learned from," Phil Combs said. "Obviously, he's done a great job there all those years. I have some big shoes to fill. I know he's very supportive of me.
"My goals are just like his goals. The goal is not win basketball games. The goal is to build champions for Christ."
Ron Combs coached the boys basketball team to nine National Association of Christian Athletics titles. During his 37 years at the school, in which he was the athletic director, the Patriots won a total of 18 combined NACA titles in boys basketball, boys and girls soccer and volleyball.
Phil Combs graduated from SVCA in 1996 and played basketball and soccer for the Patriots. He was a part of three basketball NACA titles in 1993, '95 and '96. In 1996 he was the NACA Player of the Year.
He said that he wants to keep the strong tradition going.
"Expectations are always pretty high here," Phil Combs said. "I want to keep that tradition going, but still be realistic based on the personnel that we have. It's going to be a challenge."
Phil Combs began coaching at SVCA in 2005 and coached the boys soccer team from 2005-2008, winning two NACA titles.
Phil Combs said that the Patriots won't play any certain style of game, he likes to adjust the playing style based on his personnel as well as the style of the opponent.
"That's something that may dad always did as well," Phil Combs said. "As a point guard I could slow the game down, or change the pace of the game and try to force turnovers."
Phil Combs said defense will definitely come first, and he believes that if you play good defense, good things will happen.
He said one of the biggest challenges will be simply getting to know all of his new players and their families after having been out of coaching for a while.
"It's about a lot more than just X's and O's, it's about building relationships with parents and the student-athletes," Phil Combs said.
Phil Combs said he's excited to be coaching again, but it's even more special that he will be coaching at the school where he played.
"It's awesome. It's an opportunity to give back," Phil Combs said. "I enjoy spending time with the kids, and being a good mentor and leader for them, and being able to instill good principles to them. It means a lot to be able to do that someplace where I grew up."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd