CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, has announced the hiring of Jon Poppe to coach the secondary and special teams units.
"We are excited to welcome Jon and his family back to Harvard," said Murphy. "He is a perceptive and relentless recruiter, an outstanding teacher and knows Harvard and the Ivy League from the inside and out."
This will mark Poppe's second stint as an assistant with Crimson. Poppe previously served as the assistant secondary coach at Harvard from 2011-15 where he led one of the most stifling units in the country. In each of his seasons in Cambridge, the Harvard defense ranked in the top 25 in the nation in scoring defense and led the nation in that category in 2014 when the Crimson went 10-0 and won its 16th Ivy League title. Harvard also won the conference championship in 2013. Thirteen Crimson defensive backs earned All-Ivy League accolades under Poppe.
For the last three seasons, Poppe has served as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Columbia. The Lions defense was particularly stringent last season, ranking second in defensive scoring at 17.5 points per game. Columbia also led the league with 13 interceptions. Each of the last two seasons Poppe's secondary unit led the Ivy League in pass defense. Seven Poppe-coached defensive backs earned All-Ivy honors in his three years at Columbia.
Prior to his time at Harvard, Poppe spent one year as the assistant secondary coach at Holy Cross in 2010. He arrived at Holy Cross after serving as a graduate assistant coach at Springfield College during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. At Springfield, he coached both the quarterbacks and the fullbacks, in addition to running the defensive scout team.
Poppe previously spent one season as an intern assistant coach at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., coaching the cornerbacks and special teams.
Poppe is a 2007 graduate of Williams College (Mass.). A three-year starter in the secondary for the Ephs, he earned First Team All-NESAC honors as a senior in addition to being selected All-East Region by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette. He made 24 tackles, defended nine passes and contributed two interceptions as a senior.