Brevard’s James Rowe III, Danny Verpaele Join Valdosta State Football Coaching Staff
By Space Coast Daily // May 10, 2016
VALDOSTA, GEORGIA – Valdosta State Athletic Director Herb Reinhard and Head Coach Kerwin Bell recently announced the hiring of Brevard County natives James Rowe III of Cocoa, and Danny Verpaele of Merritt Island, as the newest members of the Blazer coaching staff.
Rowe, who was named the defensive coordinator for the Blazers, is a 2009 graduate of the University of South Florida and three-year letterman for the Bulls baseball team. He has since established himself as a talented football coach at the collegiate level, with a wealth of experience obtained in a relatively short period of time.
“I’m very excited about having Coach Rowe join us as a defensive coordinator,” said Bell. “I had an opportunity to work with him at Jacksonville University, and I think he is a young superstar in this profession.”
Rowe’s time as a graduate assistant cornerbacks coach under Bell at JU began in 2012 and carried on throughout the 2013 season. His accomplishments in that role led to a promotion into an assistant coaching role for the wide receiver position in March of 2013, and he continued up the chain in 2014, with yet another promotion into the role of the team’s defensive coordinator.
Following his time at Jacksonville University, Rowe was picked up as an addition to the secondary coaching unit at the University Florida, where he served time as a graduate assistant coach alongside Geoff Collins and Kirk Callahan.
Under his tutelage, the Gator defense ranked No. 8 in scoring defense, No. 6 in total defense, and No. 11 in pass defense. Rowe also assisted in the development of some of the top defenders at the Division I level, including Thorpe Finalist and All-American Vernon Hargreaves, All-American safety Marcus Maye, and All-American defensive back Jalen Tabor.
Before joining Coach Bell’s staff at Jacksonville University, Rowe began his collegiate coaching career at Bethel University, where he served as a graduate assistant coach for the BU defensive staff in McKenzie, Tenn. during the 2011 season. The Wildcats finished that year ranked No. 14 in the nation and finished the season as the West Division Mid-South Champions.
“[Rowe] is a great communicator,” added Bell. “That’s probably his number one strength, is his ability to communicate with these young men. I also think he is a very cerebral guy that makes a lot of great adjustments during game situations, and I think he is going to be a great asset for our program as we move forward.”
Verpaele, a former Merritt Island football standout, joined the Valdosta State coaching staff as a linebackers coach, coming to Valdosta State after two seasons as an assistant coach at Army West Point.
During his tenure at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., he acquired a significant amount of recruiting experience, particularly in the southeast, with time spent in Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
“Coach Verpaele is a guy who is going to complement Coach Rowe very well,” said Bell. “He is a very knowledgeable guy, but he also brings a lot of juice, or energy, as we say, to our practices and our games.”
Verpaele spent time as a member of Coach Bell’s staff at Jacksonville University prior to his position at Army, working under Coach Bell as an assistant defensive coach with a primary focus on defensive backs. In 2012, his work at JU produced a defensive unit that ranked No. 1 in pass defense and total defense in the Pioneer Football League.
Success at JU led to a graduate assistant coaching position at Mississippi State in 2013, where Verpaele worked at the linebackers position and helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 18 national ranking on defense. In addition, he helped guide sophomore Bernardrick McKinney to All-American honors and he helped develop New England Patriot free agent Deontae Skinner.
Prior to Jacksonville University, Verpaele kicked off his coaching career at Virginia Military Institute as an assistant coach in 2009, and he posted a three-year letterman career as a strong safety at the University of South Florida from 2004-08.
“[Verpaele] is a guy who brings great energy, who gets after it, and who gets his players to play at a very high level,” added Bell. “He’s a great addition to our staff and is going to bring a lot to the table.”
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