Ralph Friedgen, head coach of the Inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl's American Team, has announced that former Air Force Academy head coach Fisher DeBerry and former VMI head coach Cal McCombs will serve as defensive assistant coaches.
Set for 2 pm on Saturday, January 11 at The Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium, the Medal of Honor Bowl is a premier all-star game featuring the nation's top draft-eligible college football players as projected for the NFL draft. The game honors the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and the game's beneficiaries, the Medal of Honor Museum Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.
"Having a Hall of Fame coach like Fisher DeBerry next to you is humbling," said Friedgen. "He's proven himself to be the best of the best in his career.
"I know that these players will benefit from his knowledge, insight, and motivation," Friedgen added. "And to get Cal McCombs, whom I've coached with and who Fisher has coached with for so many years is very special as well."
"I am happy to be a part of this inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl," DeBerry stated. "I really look forward to being on the field with one of my former defensive coordinators and former VMI head coach and Citadel graduate Cal McCombs. It will be fun to coach with these great coaches and friends that have been asked to participate in the game. And this game is for such a great cause."
DeBerry, a native of Cheraw, served as the head football coach at the Air Force Academy from 1984-06, and compiled a record of 169–109–1. He led 17 of his 23 Falcons squads to winning records and 12 captured a bowl game bid. Three times his teams won the Western Athletic Conference title (in 1985, '95, and '98), and retired with the most wins and highest winning percentage (.608) in Air Force football history.
After the 1985 season in which the Falcons finished 12-1 and captured the Bluebonnet Bowl over Texas, DeBerry was voted as NCAA's college football coach of the year. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2011.
DeBerry has also been awarded the State Farm Coach of Distinction Award in 2001, and was enshrined in the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2003, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Wofford, his alma mater, where he played flanker, defensive back and linebacker, and graduated in 1960.
Active in the American Football Coaches Association, where he served as president in 1996, DeBerry has also served as Chairman the AFCA's ethics committee.
DeBerry is retired and currently lives on the Isle of Palms with his wife, LuAnn.
McCombs, a 1967 Citadel graduate and football player, track standout and former assistant coach, worked as an NFL scout for the Denver Broncos after stints at The Citadel, the US Air Force Academy and VMI. A native South Carolinian, McCombs lives on the Isle of Palms with his wife Lynn.
"This should be very competitive football as each of these young men will be interviewing for a job with the NFL," McCombs said. "Coaching with Ralph Friedgen and Fisher DeBerry for a week is something I would never pass up."
Friedgen indicated that his staff was nearly completed and the names will soon be released.
Previously, the Medal of Honor Bowl Game announced that Chan Gailey, former head coach at the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Georgia Tech, would guide the National Team.