Less than one month after coaching Crete-Monee to an undefeated season and a Class 6A state football championship, Jerry Verde is leaving to become the head football coach at Marian Catholic High School.
As first reported on nwi.com, Verde, a 1995 Marian graduate, succeeds Dave Mattio, who retired from coaching after 37 years.
"I don't look at it as leaving Crete-Monee, but coming back to Marian Catholic," Verde said. "I am excited to be there and to have the opportunity to restore the program back to its winning ways."
As a junior, Verde helped lead the Spartans to the 1993 Class 4A state title. In six seasons at Crete, Verde was 55-14 and 24-1 over the last two seasons. Verde is Crete-Monee's winningest football coach. He said Crete running backs coach Greg Murray, a 1981 Marian grad, would follow him to Marian.
Mattio, who is the school's athletic director, is happy to see Verde lead the program, which finished 1-8 this fall.
"I told people around here it is like Christmas a few days early," Mattio said. "Jerry has done a great job as a coach. He was here (as an assistant), at Homewood-Flossmoor and was at (the University of) St. Francis.
"I think he is the perfect fit."
Verde told his players Thursday morning at a meeting at Crete-Monee High School. He said he will remain at Crete until the end of the school year. At Marian, he will teach physical education and work in the school's marketing department.
He inherits a program which was 1-26 on all three levels this past fall, but said he is willing to get things back on track
"It is a challenge, but one I am up to," Verde said. "This is where I went to school and later coached. I learned a lot from Dave (Mattio) and I think Marian Catholic can be successful again on the football field."
He was Marian's defensive coordinator in 2003, then left for Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he was the defensive coordinator until he took the Crete position prior to the 2007 season.
"Back then, when I left, it forced me to learn to do things on my own and not so much depend on Dave," Verde said. "It was a good thing. Now I am back and I think because of my being a head coach, having coached here and at H-F, I have become a better coach."