PRINCETON RECRUITING AREAS — California; Delaware; South New Jersey
The longest-tenured member of the Princeton football coaching staff, Steve Verbit will enter his 30th season at Princeton and has been a member of the defensive coaching staff throughout his tenure. He currently serves as associate head coach to Bob Surace '90, and he continues to coach the defensive line while sharing the defensive coordinator role with Jim Salgado.
Verbit is coming off one of the most memorable seasons of his tenure, if not the entire history of Princeton football. Picked fifth in the Ivy League preseason poll, Princeton went on the road and defeated the top three teams to win its 10th Ivy League title.
Princeton was ranked second in the Ivy League in total defense and rushing defense, and it was third in pass defense. The Tigers had multiple All-Ivy League players at each level, including Bushnell Cup finalist and Senior Bowl invitee Caraun Reid. Two of Verbit's top pass rushers had been Player of the Year finalists over the previous two seasons; prior to Reid, Mike Catapano won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2012.
Catapano was later drafted in the seventh round by the Kansas City Chiefs after being named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. He shared All-America honors with Reid, who became Princeton's first back-to-back First-Team All-America honoree in more than two decades.
The 2013 defense was known for its attacking style, which translated to 23 takeaways during the season. Princeton ranked third nationally in sacks (3.7 per game), fourth in first downs allowed and 13th in third-down conversion defense.
Verbit is one of the most well-respected Princeton coaches over the last three decades and shares close ties with alumni across the nation. He has also helped develop some of Princeton's best defensive players, both as a line coach and during his extended period as defensive coordinator. Over a seven-year stretch during the last decade, 12 different players combined to earn 18 first-team All-Ivy League honors, while three earned All-America accolades.
The Catapano-Reid duo helped Princeton improve by four wins from 2011 to 2012, the program's biggest single-season turnaround in more than two decades. Catapano led the Ivy League in sacks and recorded 15.5 tackles for loss, while Reid had 9.5 tackles for loss despite facing double teams for most of the season.
Verbit helped develop a dominant defense during the 2006 championship season, despite significant losses in both the linebacking and secondary positions. Princeton ranked second in the Ivy League in rushing, passing and scoring defense and put four players on the All-Ivy team, including lineman Jake Marshall. It also finished first in the Ivy League in both first downs allowed and third-down conversions. Teams converted less than 28% of their third-down opportunities against the Tigers.
Prior to coming to Princeton, Verbit coached at Delaware for six seasons. He helped guide the Blue Hens to the Division II national championship in 1979. Verbit is a Delaware graduate, having received his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1977 and his master’s degree in exercise physiology in 1980.
A native of Pottstown, Pa., Verbit coached the offensive and defensive backs at Pottstown High School in 1977. In 1978 he taught health education at Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del., while serving as an assistant football coach and head track coach. After joining the Delaware staff, he spent two seasons as defensive coordinator for the freshman football team before taking over the defensive secondary of the varsity. Verbit also is the director of the Tiger Football Camps in the Princeton area.
He and his wife Vicki are parents of a son Matt and a daughter Kristin. Matt graduated in 2005 as the No. 2 passer all-time at Princeton while Kristin graduated from Villanova and played on its women’s soccer team.