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Crete-Monee's head coach Jerry Verde vs Lemont at the IHSA class 6A semifinal's and Crete-Monee won 28-27 held at Lemont, Illinois on Saturday, November 17, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media

Jerry Verde, who in November guided Crete-Monee to its first state football championship in school history, will replace Dave Mattio as the coach at Marian Catholic.

Verde, a 1995 Marian graduate, was a linebacker on Mattio’s 1993 Class 4A state champs. Mattio resigned after the 2012 season, his 37th as the Spartans’ head coach.

“I am excited to come back to Marian and begin working on the football program,” Verde said in a statement released by the Chicago Heights school. “Marian Catholic has always been a special place for me. It’s a great honor being named head football coach of the Spartans, after Dave Mattio’s retirement from the program.”

Verde went 56-14 in six seasons at Crete-Monee. The Warriors went 14-0 in 2012, including a 33-26 win over Cary-Grove for the Class 6A title.

“We had many fine candidates interested in the position and are thrilled to welcome Jerry back to Marian Catholic,” Marian Principal Sr. Kathleen Anne Tait said. “He brings enthusiasm, professional expertise and dedication to our student athletes. His willingness to build on the integrity and leadership of our students, along with an understanding of our school’s tradition and previous success as a head coach, made Jerry an easy choice for us.”

Verde succeeds Mattio, a 1966 Marian grad, who went 251-141 as the Spartans’ coach. In three campaigns with Verde as his starting middle linebacker (1992-94), Mattio led the Spartans to a 30-7 mark, three IHSA playoff appearances and two ESCC championships.

“What a great Christmas present Marian Catholic received when Jerry Verde agreed to become the new head football coach,” Mattio said. “Jerry will bring an uncommon background to the Marian Catholic program, having had success at the high school and collegiate levels as a player and the same with the variety of coaching experiences that have allowed him to reach the level of excellence. His commitment to excellence will immediately impact the Marian Catholic community and the Football program.”

Verde was an assistant at Marian in 2003, and had assistant coach stints at Homewood-Flossmoor and the University of St. Francis as well.

“Marian Catholic football has a very strong tradition of excellence,” Verde said. “It is my hope and desire to build upon that tradition, and ignite some new interest into the program. Success in terms of grand accomplishments will likely not happen overnight, but the immediate future is crucial in establishing a strong foundation to build upon.”

A onetime ESCC Defensive Player of the Year, Verde carried his playing talents to the University of St. Francis, where he earned Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference First Team All-Academic honors. He remains the Saints’ single-season record-holder for tackles with 140.

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