Danny Verpaele, who was the defensive coordinator at Division II power Valdosta State before joining Kennesaw State's staff as safeties coach in 2019, was promoted to serve as the Owls' defensive coordinator.

Only a year into his tenure at Kennesaw State, Danny Verpaele was promoted to serve as the Owls' defensive coordinator Tuesday.

Verpaele replaces Blake Harrell, who spent one season with Kennesaw State before becoming the defensive coordinator at East Carolina. In 2019, Verpaele coached Kennesaw State's safeties. 

"Danny did a tremendous job in his first year with our program, and I'm excited to see him move into this new role as the defensive coordinator," Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said in a release. "He has extensive experience as a coordinator, and I look forward to him taking our defense to another level as we strive to achieve our ultimate goal of winning a national championship."

Verpaele's promotion is the second change to the Owls' coaching staff for 2020. Following the departure of quarterbacks coach Cody Worley for a position at Army, former Owls star Chandler Burks was hired to take his place.

In 2019, Kennesaw State's defense ranked No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision in total defense, while also ranking in the top 25 rushing defense (fifth), fumble recoveries (15th), third-down defense (18th) and passing yards allowed (22nd).

"I am extremely excited about being the defensive coordinator here at Kennesaw State," Verpaele said in the release. "I am blessed to have this opportunity and want to continue to build on the standard that has been set."

Under Verpaele's watch, safety Cincere Mason had 42 tackles and an interception last season, while safety Demetrius Pettway finished with 36 tackles and two interceptions.

Verpaele was also responsible for Kennesaw State's kickoff cover unit, which ranked first in the Big South Conference in 2019.

Verpaele came to Kennesaw State following three seasons as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Valdosta State, which won the 2018 Division II national championship with a 14-0 record.

Verpaele has also made stops as an assistant coach at Army and Jacksonville, while serving as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State in 2013. He began his coaching career at VMI in 2009.

Verpaele was a three-year letterman as a strong safety at South Florida from 2004-08, being named a Sporting News Freshman All-American following his first season. He played in 31 games with the Bulls, totaling 110 tackles, including 14 for loss.

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